The concept of time traveling dinosaurs seems a bit strange but the pint size dinos in Dinosaur Train have been a favorite in our family ever since their debut on PBS. This week Tiny, Buddy, Shiny, and Don are in for a new adventure when the Dinosaur Train travels underwater in Dinosaur Train Under the Sea as part of The Jim Henson Company’s Get Ready for Kindergarten month.
Since Little Miss Techie and Captain Computer had seen the previews for the new one-hour television special from The Jim Henson Company (airing on Friday, August 20), they were thrilled to receive a screener copy of Dinosaur Train Under the Sea and shout “time travel” as the train headed underwater to explore the Cretaceous, Jurassic and Triassic oceans to learn about new aquatic creatures.
Like the half hour episodes, the hour long Dinosaur Train Under the Sea, reinforces critical thinking skills in children by encouraging them to ask “why” questions. Teaching critical thinking is just as important as developing basic academic skills to allow for classroom readiness. Working with your child to recognize letters to find their name in the classroom, engaging in arts and crafts projects to develop fine motor skills needed for cutting and writing, and playing games that involve counting to develop a sense of numbers are just a few things that can be done in order to prepare your child for entering kindergarten.
The Dinosaur Train website offers parents and teachers a wealth of activities to encourage basic scientific thinking skills for preschoolers such as:
- Help your child practice the letters of the alphabet while learning about the diversity of dinosaurs that once lived on Earth with the Dinosaurs A – Z song. Basic supplies needed include 26 index cards (4×6 or 5×7), a thick marker, crayons, lyrics to “Dinosaurs A to Z” song and the printable page of all 26 dinosaurs in the song. For instructions go to: http://www.pbs.org/parents/dinosaurtrain/activities/handson/dinosaursatoz.html
- Help your child learn some basic insect anatomy by creating a model of a dragonfly, and learn that some animals seen in the world today also lived at the time of the dinosaurs. Basic supplies needed include construction paper, wooden popsicle sticks, strong tape, pipe cleaners, colored markers, glue and glitter (and photographs of real dragonflies from books or the Internet). For instructions go to: http://www.pbs.org/parents/dinosaurtrain/activities/handson/dragonfly.html
- Help your child understand and apply the term hypothesis, investigate, and make predictions about the science of color, using household basics including food coloring, clean food jars/containers, colored markers and a cookie sheet. For instructions go to: http://www.pbs.org/parents/dinosaurtrain/activities/handson/colorfulhypothesis.html
Besides a robust website that encourages exploration of topics and themes from the show, The Jim Henson Company has just announced the release of products designed to keep Dinosaur Train fans learning with their favorite characters. Look for the following products to be available at major retailers (Target) in your area and through Amazon.com:
- Book: Dinosaur Train I am a T-Rex ($3.99)- Buddy has spent his whole life in a pteranodon nest and even though he knows he’s not a pteranodon, he’s not sure what he is. This book takes Buddy and his family for a ride on the Dinosaur Train where he is able to learn about other T-Rexes. Ages 3 and up.
- Book: Triceratops for Lunch ($3.99) by Golden Books, illustrated by Caleb Meurer- In this Little Golden Book about Dinosaur Train, the Triceratops are coming over for lunch and Buddy and his siblings need to figure out what to serve them for lunch! With Tank and Trudie Triceratops arriving at the train station at any minute, the gang needs to figure out whether to serve them plants or meat while teaching young readers the difference between herbivores and carnivores. Ages 2-5
- Game: Dinosaur Train Take ‘n Play Anywhere Go Fishing Magnetic Activity ($9.99)- Children can practice their hand eye coordination, matching skills, and cooperation while assisting Buddy and his family in catching fish. Take ‘N’ Play Anywhere activities feature big magnetic pieces that are easy for kids to use and hard for kids to lose! Ages 4 and up. Available through amazon.com or patchproducts.com.
- Game: Dinosaur Train All Aboard Game from Pressman Toy Corp ($12)- Join Buddy and his friends on Dinosaur Train by choosing a character – Buddy, Tiny, Shiny, Don, Cory, Tank or Mr. Conductor – and try to move the fastest along the tracks. Speed through the three dinosaur eras: Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous along the beautiful scenery. Special Stopwatch spaces will help you get closer to the nest, while Dinosaur Crossing spaces will send you back. The first player to reach the nest area in the center of the board wins. For 2 to 6 players. Ages 4 and up.
- Characters– Dinosaur Train Dinosaur Collectible 3 packs from Learning Curve ($7.99)- Since kids learn through imaginative play, these 3 packs of Dinosaur Train characters are perfect for hours of imaginative dinosaur play and feature special collector cards. Figures can be enjoyed separately or can fit inside train cars (sold separately) for more role play fun. Ages 3 and up.
Giveaway: Win a copy of Dinosaurs Under the Sea on DVD courtesy of PBS KIDS and Paramount. This new DVD debuts on August 24 and includes eight exciting and whimsical adventures, as well as interactive games, coloring pages, a dinosaur reference guide and information for parents.
To enter, leave a comment about which dinosaur is your favorite and why. Dinosaurs can be from any prehistoric era and don’t have to be characters from Dinosaur Train. Please leave your email or Twitter handle as part of your entry. Winner will be selected in about a week.
Thanks to The Jim Henson Company, Paramount, and PBS KIDS for providing samples for review purposes. No compensation was received for this post as this was written outside my scope of work as a consultant for PBS Teachers.
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Original post by Tech Savvy Mama