Friday, April 12, 2013

Explore the Outdoors with Dinosaur Train - Nature Trackers Book Review & Giveaway!

"Spring is springing and what better way to celebrate World Habitat Awareness Month (April) and Earth Day (April 22) then to set out exploring the nature around you with Dinosaur Train’s Buddy and the Nature Trackers!

PLUS, Inspired by Savannah has an exciting opportunity for one lucky reader to win the wonderful Buddy & The Nature Trackers book from Reader’s Digest Children’s Books.

World Habitat Awareness Month is a worldwide observance for the need to protect the habitat of all Earth’s creatures and to make a conscious effort to preserve nature’s ecosystems, celebrating the spirit of unity between people, animals and the natural environment.   And, Earth Day is an annual day on which events are held worldwide to increase awareness and appreciation of the Earth's natural environment!  The Jim Henson Company, PBS KIDS, Readers Digest Children’s Books and Dinosaur Train are jumping onboard to celebrate Earth Month too!

For some great ideas on how to explore nature, consider joining the DinosaurTrain Nature Tracker’s Club, a FREE to join community of young children, their families and educators committed to learning about nature and doing good things for their environment.   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!

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.


My Thoughts: 

We were sent a copy of this flap board book, and the girls went crazy with it.  I ended up having to order another book, as they were fighting over who would get to flip each page and open the different flaps in this wonderful board book.  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 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 and why so many people celebrate this day by getting out and doing fun family activities, like cleaning up community areas, planting gardens, etc.  

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.  

Want other ideas to get into nature

  • Take the Dinosaur Train Geocaching Challenge!  Geocaching is a modern day, worldwide treasure hunt whereby participants can both hide and seek containers called geocaches.  Geocaching encourages children to explore their surroundings, use observational skills and have an adventure right in their own neighborhood.  Geocaching is a family friendly outdoor adventure that blends technology, gaming and environmental discovery. Each geocache features one of the dinosaurs found on the online Dinosaur Train Field Guide and contains educational information related to that dinosaur.

  • ALSO, Starting April 1, PBS KIDS kicks off Earth Month with three weeks of “Explore the Outdoors” local events designed to encourage kids and families to explore the outdoors and discover nature.   For the second year in a row, in partnership with NRPA members across the country, local PBS member stations will be hosting events with PBS KIDS Explore the Outdoors activities and materials.  From investigations of wind, trees and habitats to nature hikes and recycling activities, families can learn up-close about nature and the environment. For more information on local events, or to pick up materials to explore the outdoors on your own, visit PBS Parents (     

WHEW!  If you need to take a break after all that activity, then its time to sit down, relax and see what else Jim Henson Company and PBS KIDS have in store for you!

The Jim Henson Company and PBS KIDS are offering even more ideas for learning about the nature around you with a brand new online game, BackyardTheropods!

Learn all about today's dinosaurs - birds!  Join Dr. Scott and help place interesting birds in their appropriate habitat. Use a bird caller to attract the bird, listen to the clue and then select where you think it lives. You will learn what different birds sound like, look like, what they are called, where they are likely to live, and about the ancestral connection between birds and dinosaurs. Once you learn a little more about birds you can get out in nature and look for birds in your own backyard! 

ALSO, starting April 1, PBS KIDS kicks off Earth Month with three weeks of “Explore the Outdoors” themed on-air programming, and will air “Dancing with Dinosaurs” the week April 8 – 12. Encore presentations of some of the most musical episodes of Dinosaur Train make for a week of dance-tastic adventures. Buddy, Shiny, Tiny and Don explore ponds, gardens, oceans and more. They sing and dance as they encourage kids to get outside, get into nature and make their own discoveries.  These episodes are:

  • That’s Not a Dinosaur/Tiny’s Garden
  • Remember the Alamosaurus/Sunrise, Sunset
  • Elmer Elasmosaurus/Dinosaur Block Party
  • Junior Conductor Jamboree/Troodon Train Day
  • Buddy Explores the Tyrannosaurs/Rainy Day Fight

Synopses for these episodes are at the end of this post.

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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!

Dancing with Dinosaurs Week on PBS KIDS

That’s Not a Dinosaur/Tiny’s Garden
That’s Not a Dinosaur: The kids visit the Big Pond to attend the Biome Block Party. While attempting to win the leaf-necklace contest, Keenan Chirostemotes claims the Pteranodon sibs can’t compete for the prize for “dinosaur” with the most leaves because they are not dinosaurs. This launches the kids into a song called “That’s Not a Dinosaur”, as all the non-dinosaurs sing their piece. In the end, the game rules are changed to include all creatures, even non-dinosaurs, in all the contests!
Tiny’s Garden: The Nature Trackers go on a visit to the Big Pond, where Tiny hopes to see her favorite flowers.. The Conductor tells her that if the kids gather seeds at the pond, they can bring them home and plant a garden full of those same flowers at the family nest! The kids all get into it, gathering seeds and bringing them home, where they plant a garden, and meet its new inhabitants, including Sammy, a friendly slug, who explains that slugs, spiders, and butterflies all help to make a garden complete.

Remember the Alamosaurus/Sunrise Sunset
Remember the Alamosaurus: The Pteranodon kids and Dad get the idea to travel around on the Dinosaur Train and meet some of the biggest dinosaurs.  They sing “The Biggest Dinosaurs, before meeting the friendly and enormous, long-necked, plant eating sauropod.
Sunrise Sunset: Dad takes the Pteranodon kids on an overnight camping trip where they watch both a sunrise and sunset.  The kids learn more about nocturnal (night-active) animals, and Diurnal (day-active animals.

Elmer Elasmosaurus/Dinosaur Block Party
Elmer Elasmosaurus: The Pteranodon family travels on the Dinosaur Train with the Aquacar to an underwater train station to transport Elmer Elasmosaurus back to his home in the ocean. At first Buddy is not enthusiastic about travelling underwater, but quickly becomes a convert when he sees the spectacular sights under the sea.
Dinosaur Block Party: The Pteranodon family hosts a block party to introduce their new neighbors, the Lambeosaurus family, to all the other neighborhood creatures. The different species all join together to fly, dive, fish, race and especially, to rock the block!

Junior Conductor Jamboree/Troodon Train Day
Junior Conductor Jamboree: Our kids ride the Dinosaur Train from one end of the line to the other, through all three Time Periods — from the Cretaceous, through the Jurassic, to the Triassic. All along the way, they pick up friends who join them for a Junior Conductor Jamboree!
Troodon Train Day: The Pteranodon family rides to Troodon Town to celebrate Troodon Train Day, where the main event is a concert by King Cryolophosaurus, giving his first performance in years! When King comes down with some last-minute jitters, Buddy and Tiny help him overcome his stage fright and he sings a medley of his hits, including the Dinosaur Train theme song!
Fun Fact: The kids learn about how a train’s steam engine works.

Buddy Explores the Tyrannosaurs/Rainy Day Fight
Buddy Explores the Tyrannosaurs: Buddy, an adopted T. rex, wishes he knew more about his T. rex ancestors. So, Dad takes him and Tiny on the Dinosaur Train back to the early Cretaceous, to visit an ancestor: an earlier version of Tyrannosaurus rex called Raptorex. Rodney Raptorex is a kid who won’t grow up to be as big as Buddy will, but the two boys find that they not only have a lot of differences, they have a lot in common, too.
Rainy Day Fight: The kids are stuck cooped up in the nest for a long, rainy spell which leads to them fighting. Mom tells them that the rain has stopped enough that they can leave the nest – but she gives them an assignment: to go find their own “calm space,” where they can calm down enough to get along with each other again. It works – each kid finds something in nature that helps him or her to calm down and be friends again.

Disclosure:  I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher in order to write up an honest review.  The views above are mine and mine alone.

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