The “lost continent” of Laramidia

Perhaps you are new to Dinosaur Train, or perhaps you are a long time fan. Either way, you should note that the Jim Henson Company released Dinosaur Big City last year.  Dinosaur Big City is a one-hour Dinosaur Train movie, which kicked off Dinosaur Train’s second season.

The first season taught children about paleontology, natural history, and science.  The second season will focus on natural phenomena and exploring the outdoors.  “Big Dinosaur Week” will be featured, and so will the “Dinosaurs A to Z” song.

The movie itself is based on scientific research.  Scientific advisors were sought to help present the research and make the history of dinosaurs more appealing and exciting to young children.  The movie takes place in “Laramidia,” a part of the North American continent, during the Late Cretaceous period.  The “lost continent” of Laramidia was formed when a shallow sea covered the middle part of North America, separating the eastern and western portions of the continent.  The climate was swampy and subtropical and situated in what is now thought to be modern day Utah.

Despite its small size, enormous amounts of dinosaur fossils were found in Laramidia, representing a great diversity of dinosaurs.  Dr. Scott Sampson, a dinosaur paleontologist, evolutionary biologist and author of Dinosaur Odyssey: Fossil Threads in the Web of Life, explains that many species of specifically large dinosaurs existed in this part of North America; a mystery that many paleontologists are still trying to unravel.

The movie itself was incredibly fun and educational. I will give a synopsis in one of our later blogs. In the meantime, feel free to check out our online toy store for some cool stuff. And of course, be sure to pick up a copy of the DVD itself.

 

The Kratt Bros. endorse the scientific method

Kratt BrothersWild Kratts is a show that was developed to help interest kids in science.  Kids in America have generally shown a lack of interest and engagement with science as compared to children on an international level.  The show targets 6-8 year olds and helps to build on their natural interest in animals.

The show intentionally has a diverse cast of characters to reach a magnitude of audiences to further help a greater variety of children engage in the show. The Kratt Brothers love to research and explore the world around them.  They present their research in a fun and exciting way. Whether it’s revealing clips from whales that dwell in the deep sea or discovering why earthworms come out of the ground when it rains, count on these gents to stir your interest in the wild and unknown!

The National Science Education Standards (NSES) lays out the curriculum standards for science content. It is especially important for this age group to discover the scientific method, which includes asking questions, forming a hypothesis, making observations, and presenting results.  This inquiry-based approach is a central part of the story and the Kratt Brothers model it in each and every episode.  The Kratt Brothers also use this model to succeed, while the unsuccessful villains do not.  This inherently shows children how valuable it is to use critical thinking skills and the inquiry-based method not only in science, but also in life.

 

Dolls help to stimulate social and emotional development

Caillou is one of those characters from which your children will never stop learning.  There is a new and important lesson in every episode.  The episodes are geared specifically towards preschoolers in their developmental stages as they grow up.

This brings me to spotlight a few of our Caillou products that actually help to stimulate social and emotional development in young children.  We have our Laugh and Learn books that teach children many important things about growing up. A few of the book topics include potty training, a day at the farm, and going to the doctor’s office. These books help to explain many important events in a child’s life, and can help ease the transition into growing up.

We also have a plush 13” Caillou doll that you can dress. This is a must-have for any avid Caillou fan! It comes with removable clothing and two tools.  Your child will be able to recreate any scene from a Caillou episode, and feel like Caillou is right there on the journey with them.  They will also remember the important lesson that is associated with it.

My favorite is the adorable 14” Caillou farmer doll. This doll comes with a blue rake and shovel accessories.  The head, feet, and hands are made out of vinyl, which is super easy to clean. This doll is made with extreme attention to detail. There is even a Caillou Ecology Club logo on the overalls for all of you biologists-in-training!

All of these products will help stimulate your child’s learning process. Why not purchase one today? If you have a question about any of the products, feel free to leave a comment below or contact us directly.

The New Super Why Alpha Boost

2012 is the year for iPhone and iPod touch apps.  These apps are becoming increasingly popular, as the devices fit easily into children’s hands, and can keep them entertained at crucial moments.  Not only are they convenient, but they actually have some educational value, which I will discuss below.

PBS Kids has released a new app called Super Why Alpha Boost, which helps children enhance their literary skills.  This is the third app that has been released in the Super Why series. The first was Super Why Paint, followed by Super Why.  Super Why is the number two best selling app in the kids games and educational category.  This new app focuses on phonetics (how to pronounce words) and teaching children how to recognize letters and words.

According to Lesli Rotenberg, Senior Vice President of Children’s Media, research involving the original Super Why app showed that it helped children to complete sentences and learn how to rhyme.  In the Alpha Boost app, children can choose their character: Princess Pesto, Alpha Pig, Wonder Red, or Super Why.  The app comes with over 100 party themed words.  Children can look for “super letters” in the sky to help them along their journey, and the letters help to complete the party themed words.  The user progresses further as more letters are collected. The fun part involves tilting the phone to the left or right to catch the flying letters!

I definitely recommend this app for your children.  It spur their interest in letters and words in a fun and engaging way.  The app itself is a mere $2.99 from the iTunes store. Of course we always have a great selection of Super Why toys too, so be sure to check them out!

New Caillou Products

Attention hockey fans!  We have introduced a new product into the Caillou product line: The Youth Hockey Jersey! Caillou loves winter sports.  You can show your support of this adorable 4 year old by sporting his shirt and joining him on the ice with his friends Clementine and Leo.  Caillou’s Youth Hockey Jersey features a large “C” on the front and is based on the Canadian TV Series.

We also have introduced the Caillou Bath Time Sail Boat. Included are figures Caillou and Rexy which actually float! The sailboat actually makes waves because it comes with a string that you can wind up to propel the sailboat forward.  This toy is wonderful because it helps to stimulate creativity, the imagination, and refine motor skills. A helpful hint for when you buy this toy is: keep all of the parts together in a plastic bin after bath time. Because there are multiple parts, they can get easily lost in the bath!  (That way, when your child goes to take a bath, there will be no tantrum over missing parts.)

Furthermore, with spring coming, a good project to work on with your children is planting a garden.  While still indoors, you can help cultivate an interest in gardening with the Caillou Green House Playset. This playset includes more than 20 pieces, including the gardener Caillou and Gilbert!  Your children can be just like Caillou, planting things and watching them grow.

Caillou shows are airing on PBS Kids.  If you are looking for more fun winter indoor activities in addition to episodes of Caillou, try the PBS Kids website.  There is a puzzle game, a memory game, and a magic keyboard, all of which are quite fun for young children.  Click here for games and activities, all of which are educational.