Rainy Day Fun with Microsoft

 

 

There is little that sounds worse to me than spending a rainy Saturday at the mall. Because, seriously, people, everyone in the planet seems to come out, and I believe I may have mentioned how crowded parking lots give me heart palpitations.

 

Nonetheless, we headed out after our ball game to check out the Microsoft Store and, I have to admit, I was pretty excited to see it. I had had the privilege of chatting with Melinda George, a training and development specialist with Microsoft, about a week prior and I already knew what things I wanted to keep an eye out for.

 

What struck me immediately upon entering the store was that, while it was indeed busy in there, it didn’t seem crowded. There were so very many screens and systems set up that I didn’t have to wait to try a single thing. I counted over sixty customers in that space and, truly, I never had anyone invading my personal space or making me feel rushed and cramped. There were also over a dozen associates working there, so someone was always available to answer a question.

 

I visited with my husband and children and we all had ample opportunity to test-drive all the technology. I may have gone a little tablet crazy playing with the Surface there. I mean, it’s a tablet with a click-in keyboard, kickstand, and it’s less than two pounds. Of course, I had to play with it.

 

It was clear to me from the start that Microsoft really embraces families and kids. I was happy to see how easily a young family was able to navigate their stroller through the store; while I’m not in that season right now, I vividly remember the challenges of mall shopping with tinies.

 

There was not a single thing in the store deemed “off-limits” to the little people in my life– the associates encouraged my children to play with all the technology.  And, when my older daughter was stretching to reach the screen to play Fresh Paint? An associate kindly helped move the entire system closer to her so she had easier access.

 

 

Around the room are dozens of screens. Some are informative, providing details on new and innovative products and offers. But many are interactive and are linked up with various Kinect games that customers are encouraged to try out. We had tons of fun moving around the room, playing football, Angry Birds, and more. That is, until my husband and I got distracted by an old school PAC-MAN game… :)

 

Perhaps most intriguing to me, though, was the large theater space in the back of the store. What was that for? Turns out the giant screen was attached to yet another Kinect game and our kids giggled as they watched themselves dance around. That was pretty fun, but I learned that the space had even more opportunities attached to it.

 

 

Toward the end of our visit, a family started setting up a birthday party to be held in the theater. About a dozen nine- or ten-year-old boys arrived and got settled in. Associates assisted a few in getting started on the Kinect giant screen and worked with the rest on a whole series of inter-connect Xbox systems. These were some very happy boys, let me tell you.

 

I wondered how much it might cost to host one of these parties. The answer? Nothing. All that’s required is reserving a date and time with the community development coordinator. A gift table is provided and you’re welcome to bring your own food and drinks (<– just no alcohol.)

 

“Free” is a big word with me and, it turns out, it’s a big word at Microsoft, too. Not only can awesome parties be hosted there, there are also tons of free kids’ programs offered. Starting with Tech Talks for the 2-5 set, there are opportunities for all ages.

 

If you have a Microsoft Store anywhere in your area, I would especially encourage you to check out their YouthSpark summer camps for 8-13 year olds. These camps run from Monday through Friday for two hours and day and cover such topics as: Digital Movie Madness, Game Masters, Digital Art Smarts, and Storyteller Studio. The cost? Again, totally free.

 

Microsoft is reaching out to families in big and convenient ways. From making the shopping experience safe and friendly with wide walk-ways and constantly cleaned keyboards, to offering amazing programs and opportunities at no charge, the Microsoft experience is pleasant, informative, AND fun!

 

To learn more about all the new and innovative products and programs that Microsoft has to offer, be sure to engage with them on social media:

If you have questions or would like to learn even more, please join me for a Twitter party on Tuesday, at 1 pm. Details here:

When: Tuesday, May 14, at 1 p.m. ET (the party will last one hour)

 

Where: We’ll be on Twitter – follow the #GoMicrosoft hashtag to track the conversation. You can see the details and RSVP via this Twtvite:  http://twtvite.com/GoMicrosoft

 

Hashtag: #GoMicrosoft

 

Prizes: We will be giving away six prizes to randomly selected winners. Five winners who answer trivia questions during the party will receive $25 Microsoft retail store gift cards, and one grand prize winner will be chosen for a $500 Microsoft retail store gift card!

 

Hosts: @theMotherhood, @CooperMunroe, @EmilyMcKhann, (and I’m @micropreemies over there)

 

TweetGrid for the party: http://bit.ly/11SJxNf

 

Hope to see you there!

 

 [This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of the Motherhood in partnership with Microsoft. All experiences, opinions, and suggestions are my own.]

 

 

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1 comment to Rainy Day Fun with Microsoft

  • mlearley

    Sounds really cool. Unfortunately for us, the closest one is over 2 hrs away and in Philly so I don’t think we’ll be making that trip anytime soon. From what I heard Microsoft is suffering a little, so I can understand why they are reaching out to families/communities like this.

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