While I am writing this review in the midst of a NorEaseasr, I can't help but start getting the spring fever itch, and am counting down the weeks/days until I can finally shed the winter layers and pull out the family's spring clothing. While spring brings with it cleaning up around the house and outdoors, it also means warmer weather and more time to spend outside with the kids. We love going on hikes, visiting the local state parks, or simply playing out in the backyard and exploring nature up close. How about you? Does your family love being outdoors, enjoying nature?
With two toddlers, we are always watching fun educational shows on television, including Dinosaur Train on PBS Kids. And, a couple of years ago we saw a commercial after one of the Dinosaur Train episodes about the Dinosaur Train Nature Tracker’s Club. This is a FREE online community which lets young children, families and educators take full advantage of the outdoors and exploring nature, through activities that are not only fun, but also good for the environment.
You can be a Nature Tracker all year long!
Nature Trackers enjoy exploring and having adventures, respecting their environment, collecting things, tracking and observing plants and animals, and challenging themselves to get outside and make discoveries every day. Download your Dinosaur Train’s Nature Trackers Club Guide Book, available here and when you have completed all four activities, simply mail in the form provided in the book along with a self-addressed stamped envelope and receive an official Nature Trackers member token!
Step two: Get kids to make a New Year’s resolution to get outside and get into nature and inspire them with our new Dinosaur Train “Nature Trackers 2014 Calendar!” It’s full of activities you can do each month. Download the calendar here and get outside, get into nature and make your own discoveries!
For even MORE Nature Trackers’ Fun, check out Buddy and The Nature Trackers from Readers Digest Children’s Books.
"More than 45 flaps to lift and a learning activity on each spread combine to make this book both entertaining and educational! The Nature Trackers are always on the lookout for interesting things to discover all around them. Kids will enjoy the adventures of Buddy, Tiny, Shiny and Don as they check out a cave filled with colorful gems, watch baby dinosaurs hatch from eggs, and more. The activities throughout reinforce early learning concepts like colors, action words, counting, matching, and opposites." SRP $9.99, ages 2 and up. Available wherever books are sold.
-- Get Ready for All-New Season of Dinosaur Train on PBS Kids --
Begins January 20th at 9AM ET
"Get ready for a T-rex sized adventure on DINOSAUR TRAIN. Kids will follow Buddy, Shiny, Tiny and Don in four brand-new, exciting stories as they travel to different ecosystems and learn about erosion, tree lines, rainforests and canyons. The special premieres /PT (check local listings). Watch out for repeats on /PT; and /PT!, when PBS KIDS premieres “Nature Trackers Adventure Camp,” an all-new, one-hour special from The Jim Henson Company’s hit series
In the on-air special, Mr. Conductor and his nephew Gilbert lead Buddy, Tiny, Shiny, Don and friends on an action-packed journey during Nature Trackers Adventure Camp! Throughout their adventures at camp, the group finds courage as they race down rivers, have a snowball fight, climb a tall mountain, ride a zip line over the rainforest, and hike down a canyon to dig for fossils! Viewers won’t be able to resist tapping their feet and singing along as the whole gang makes discoveries about the world around them. “Nature Trackers Adventure Camp” kicks off a new season of DINOSAUR TRAIN on PBS KIDS!
DINOSAUR TRAIN “Nature Trackers Adventure Camp” includes the following four stories:
“Nature Trackers Adventure Camp: Rafting”
Buddy, Tiny, Shiny and Don go river rafting for the first time at Nature Tracker Adventure Camp. Their old pal Jess Hesperornis meets up with them, and they all learn about erosion and the importance of rivers before finishing up their adventure by cruising through some rapids!
Educational Objective: Rivers and streams are ribbons of water that start at some high point and flow downhill – often with streams gathering into rivers. Animals and plants living on land depend on rivers and streams for providing fresh water and nutrients.
“Nature Trackers Adventure Camp: Mountain Climbing”
For their second outing at Nature Trackers Adventure Camp, Buddy, Tiny, Shiny, Don and other friends learn about the tree line as they set out to hike up a mountain. Shiny is determined to get to the top of mountain forest. Buddy wonders if they'll be able to see anything from the mountaintop, through the tall trees. The kids are amazed that the higher they hike, the shorter trees and bushes get! Then they reach the tree line – a certain point on the mountain where trees are really small because they don't have enough air to breathe and the temperature is too cold. In the end, Shiny and all the kids use teamwork to all reach the mountaintop together!
Educational Objective: The timberline, or tree line, is a certain elevation on a mountain where the temperatures are colder, the air is thin, and the soil is less moist, making it hard for most plants and trees to grow. Trees may grow as small shrubs. There is less oxygen, so it's harder for animals to breathe at the tree line and above.
"Nature Trackers Adventure Camp: Ziplining”
The Nature Trackers Adventure Campers are back for another adventure -- and this time they'll be travelling to a rainforest! Once they arrive in the dense rainforest, the campers explore different levels of the ecosystem, including the forest floor and the canopy of leaves at the top of the forest. After a hike through the rainforest, the campers' fun adventure culminates as each kid takes a ride on a zip line, where they all get a bird's eye view of the entire rainforest!
Educational Objective: Rainforests are very dense, warm, wet, forests that are home to a vast array of different life forms. Rainforests get a lot of rain, at least 70 inches per year. Rainforests, often called the "lungs of the Earth," generate much of the oxygen we breathe.
“Nature Trackers Adventure Camp: Canyon Hiking”
The Nature Trackers Adventure Campers are led by Mr. Conductor and Gilbert on a hike down a canyon, where they can see the different layers of the Mesozoic Era! At first Lily Lambeosaurus is reluctant to go, thinking that a new adventure sounds hard, but Don convinces her that a new adventure can be worth the effort. At the bottom of the canyon, the kids dig for fossils. Each Nature Tracker goes home with a "new" Ammonite fossil, and Lily is so glad she tried something new!
Educational Objective: Canyons are deep cuts in the earth's surface. They are formed by erosion. Erosion is mainly caused by the flow of rivers. It takes millions of years for canyons to become the grandiose natural landmarks they are today. The bottom rocks in canyons can date back billions of years, beyond the Mesozoic. Canyons can also be formed by a shift of the earth's tectonic plates."
I was recently sent a copy of this lift-the-flap book featuring the characters of the hit animated series, Dinosaur Train, to share with my girls. That same day, I ended up having to go online and order another book, as the girls were fighting over who would get to flip each page and open the different flaps in this wonderful board book. They are still working on learning how to share, so we have been buying two of everything to keep the peace.
Once the girls had a copy for themselves, I sat down and had a blast exploring the different pages about nature. What I especially loved as a parent was that this book was not just a storybook that you expect to read cover to cover. Instead, young readers (and listeners) will enjoy finding action words, colors in the crystal cave, opposites, pairing baby dinosaurs up with their mothers and even counting from 1-10. Savannah loved the color matching and counting pages, while Arabella was more excited about lifting all 45 flaps to see what was underneath. Each and every time she would open the flaps, she would say "Peek a Boo" and then smile.
Fans of the hit animated series on PBS Kids, Dinosaur Train, will love this lift-the-flap book, which will not only entertain, but teach them about the world around them. This is definitely a great book to share with little ones as you try and explain Earth Day 2014 and why so many people celebrate this day by getting out and doing fun family activities, like cleaning up community areas, planting gardens, etc. Do you have plans for Earth Day this year? We usually take part in local activities. Last year the girls learned about recycling and composting.
Since receiving this book, and getting the second copy in the mail, the girls can't go a day without pulling the books off the book shelf and sitting together as they complete each activity and flip open each flap. If your children are fans of Dinosaur Train, this is one book worth picking up, as it is not only fun to read together, but will keep little ones engaged with the 45+ lift flaps.
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One lucky reader will win a copy of "Buddy and the Nature Trackers" board book, thanks to the folks at The Jim Henson Company and PBS Kids. To win, please complete complete the entries on the Rafflecopter form below. Good luck!
Disclosure: I was sent a sample from the vendor in order to write up an honest review. All views shared are mine and mine alone.