Monday, November 29, 2010

Nanuq: A Baby Polar Bear's Story **TOS REVIEW**

We were given the opportunity to review a book from My Animal Family through the TOS Crew.
We received the book NANUQ A Baby Polar Bear's Story.

For $12.99 You receive the Book, An educational DVD about Polar Bears that contains a story about the characters in the book and a code to use online to play a little game relating to the story here.

From the Website..

Nanuq, the baby polar bear, lives far up north in the frozen Arctic. Nanuq's brother, Suka, loves to race and wrestle, even when they should be learning how to find food and water. When danger comes close, Nanuq's courage saves Suka from harm.
The My Animal Family program was created by a team of people who care about children and animals. We want to help kids learn about themselves, about animals and their families and their world. Each My Animal Family package contains the following items:
  1. A beautifully illustrated book. Our beautifully illustrated books are written with care. Each story is about the realistic adventures of a wild baby animal and is an accurate portrait based on current behavioral research. Every story give families opportunities to talk to their children about home, life, family—and animals.
  2. A live-action animal DVD. Every book includes a live action DVD that features award-winning BBC wildlife video footage. Carefully edited for young children, the footage gives them a glimpse into the reality of each baby animal’s life. Kids learn about the cooperation that helps animal families survive and thrive, and about the habitats where they live.
  3. The Activity Website. The My Animal Family creative team includes game and website designers too. We have built a safe, fun place for kids to play ”animal” activities online. On this website, children will find their favorite animal friends in their native habitats. Whether it is in the artic snow, tropical forests, oceans, or deserts, the games and activities help young children get ready for school and keep beginning readers happy and busy.
  4. The Official Club Membership Card. This card carries a “secret passcode” that allows members to register their books online and have access to the activity website.
The creative team at Smart Kids Publishing has worked hard to make the MAF Kids Club experience friendly, fun, interesting and safe for your family.

Our experience: 
We enjoyed the book. The story was entertaining and educational and the illustrations were well done. They have looked at it several times and wanted it to be read to them multiple times. The kids and I enjoyed the book enough that it will be read often.

The kids really loved the DVD. There's a lot to see and learn from it. They all sat and watched it and enjoyed it from Anna (2) all the way up to Peyton (9)

The online game ... It was a little hard to register and figure out what to do, then it was a bit tedious to get enough points to buy anything. Despite those facts my 9yo has still asked to play it several times. I think you need to have a slightly older child for them to enjoy the online experience. This is nice if you have several children. The book is a little younger while the Online experience is older and the DVD works for all ages. 

All in all I think this would be a nice gift for someone to send. It's more than just a book while being inexpensive and easy to ship. Also as a homeschooling Mom I'm always a fan of educational!

You can go here to see my other crew-mates reviews of this book.

I received no compensation for this review other than a free copy of the book.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hands On Geography TOS Review

We were given the opportunity to review Hands On Geography from Bright Ideas Press through The Old Schoolhouse.

Books like these are my absolute favorite resources. The book gives you a lot of fun, easy to implement ideas for Geography. Not only are they great ideas but they are incredibly easy to tweak slightly to fit your needs.

I didn't have a lot of time to get to many projects ( due to my own error not the companies) but I did read through the entire book and by the time I finished reading it I was once again excited about learning Geography with my children.

The idea we chose to use first was the Writing and Geography idea. The goal is to collect a piece of mail from each of the 50 states over a year.
One idea I thought was particularly neat was to write to the Chamber of Commerce of each state and ask them to send you state information. I thought this was a fabulous idea but didn't really feel like my kids were ready for that degree of writing or that much information. ( We WILL do that in a couple years though because it's really a wonderful idea)
We decided to ask family and friends to send us postcards from different states. I also posted on a message board I frequent asking for volunteers. In addition to receiving postcards my children are writing each person back and marking on a map where each card came from.

I can tell you my kids have learned more in 2 weeks of doing this than they did in a year of doing geography puzzles and going over the state locations. They are also learning the skills of writing to people and writing addresses properly.

This book is full of great ideas that you can use as is or make them your own easily. For just $14.95 it is a great deal and well worth the ideas. 

I think this would work for most any elementary age child with little variation from their ideas.

To read what other crew mates thought of their products go here

Our Map with the postcards we've received thus far.

 Amelia working on writing back.
If you're interested in helping us out by sending a postcard ( and we'll send you one back) we still need Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Vermont, and Wisconsin.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Counting Bears... a Kindergarteners best friend!

Can I just say counting bears are the BEST manipulative for the little folks. They can sort them by color. They can sort them by size. They can make patterns with them. They can play with them, AND they can of course count them. I'm sure there's plenty of other things I'm missing. These are definitely our most loved math tool though.

September 2010 004

September 2010 005

September 2010 006

Monday, November 15, 2010

Corps of Rediscovery Cornhusk Doll TOS Review

I was given the opportunity to review a Corn Husk Doll Kit  from the Corps of Re-Discovery.

Amelia was very excited about making this doll because it is just like the doll Laura had in Little House on the Prairie!

This kit was really fun for us to do together. Amelia was able to help do most of it and although we didn't quite understand some of the instructions (particularly for the arms) it was quite easy to improvise and still make a great doll. I would highly recommend this inexpensive kit ( ONLY $4.50 HERE)  for any child interested in Little House on the Prairie or studying pioneers. They even make boys for your own little Farmer Boys ;)  All in all sweet, simple and fun!

The Corps of Rediscovery also sell some other really neat kits that I'm sure I will try with my kids as well!

To see what the other members of the TOS Crew thought of these kits and some of the other kits available go here.

I received no compensation for my review other than a free doll kit.