Monday, July 25, 2011

Geocaching and a Dinosaur Train Book Giveaway

More doing, less blogging. The busy summer days have kept me plenty occupied, and I apologize for the brief break in my blogging. I hope you've been enjoying summer, too, and haven't missed my posts too much!

One of our goals this summer is to spend as much time outside as possible enjoying nature. Did you know that July is National Recreation and Parks Month? At the end of the school year, my daughter's teacher gave her a parks passport, challenging her to visit the local parks over the summer. It has helped motivate us to get outside and do some exploring. During our visits to the parks, we also discovered that many of the parks have hidden treasures called geocaches!

Be warned, geocaching is a rather addictive family pastime! Geocaching, a high-tech outdoor treasure hunt, involves locating hidden caches in parks and other areas using GPS coordinates. To see if there are any caches hidden in your area and learn more, visit I imagine that, like us, you'll find the number and proximity of the geocaches near you surprising. Some caches are easier to find than others, and the locations and containers vary as well. We found one cache hidden inside a clever structure that looked like a wooden birdhouse.

So far in our searches we've found various trinkets and toys inside the caches, along with the logbooks that you sign upon discovery. My kids like to trade treasures and swap out the items in the cache. We also made a great find this weekend -- a travel bug!
Travel bugs are items stamped with a special trackable code. You can log into the Geocaching tracking website to log the code and view the travel map of the item. The travel bug we discovered started out its journey in Hawaii.

Most of the geocaches are kid friendly, though some are more so than others. The Dinosaur Train Themed Geocaching Challenge is one specifically designed with kids in mind, especially fans of this popular PBS children's show. Each Dinosaur Train geocache features a dinosaur from the online Dinosaur Train Field Guide and includes educational materials about the dinosaur.

Dr. Scott from Dinosaur Train always encourages young viewers to: "Get outside, get into nature and make your own discoveries!" Geocaching is a perfect way to do just that. Check the Dinosaur Train Geocache list to find locations near you. If your family is up for even more of a challenge, create and hide your own Dinosaur Train Geocache. [pdf directions] By the way, fans of the show will be glad to know a new season of Dinosaur Train begins soon. “Dinosaur Big City” premieres August 22 on PBS Kids.

Time to score a special treasure of your own! The Jim Henson Company has kindly offered to give away a copy of the new Dinosaur Train Lift the Flap board book, Let's Go to Volcano Valley! from Reader’s Digest. Lift the flap books are almost like geocaching -- fun to explore and you never know what you'll discover!

For a chance to win, leave a comment relative to this post or answer the following question: If you made your own Dinosaur Train geocache, what actual dinosaur would you feature [need help? - plenty of ideas at the Dinosaur Train Field Guide]?
• For contact purposes, if you are a non-blogger or your email is not accessible in your blog profile, please leave a valid email address within the comment section.
• Contest is open to US only
• Contest ends on Monday, August 1st, 2011 at 11:59 PM CST.
• Winners will be chosen at random and sent email notifications.
Three ways to gain extra entries (Maximum total entries is 4; please leave a separate comment for each entry):
1st extra entry: Blog about this contest then post your link in the comment section.
2nd extra entry: Follow me on twitter (iambrimful) and tweet about the contest.
3rd extra entry: Follow Me! or subscribe by email or RSS reader

I did not receive any products or any other compensation in exchange for writing this blog post. I am an Amazon affiliate and may receive a very small commission for products purchased through my Amazon links. (View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - A Sandbox Tunnel

My son's favorite summer activity: building tunnels in the sandbox for his cars. The best part? Watching the tunnel collapse. Great way to learn some basic engineering skills.

Find more of this week's Wordless Wednesday (or Wordful) posts at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Full to the Brim - Kid's Book Giveaway List (7/8/11)

Please check out my other "Full to the Brim" posts as well. Many contests are still underway. I *try to* publish "Full to the Brim" every Friday. If I missed your book giveaway, feel free to mention it in the comment section or send me an email. Thanks for visiting my blog and come back soon!

Book giveaways:
Presenting Lenore - Book Giveaway Ends 7/19 (Int'l)
Teach Your Buffalo to Play Drums by Audrey Vernick, illustrated by Daniel Jennewein
Jump Into a Book - Book Giveaway Ends 7/31
Set of 19 Elsa Beskow Books (Int'l)
South Shore Mamas - Book Giveaway Ends 7/10
Laughing Giraffe Giveaway: Set of 6 popular chapter books
Faithfully Frugal - Book Giveaway Ends 7/22
Summer Reading Prize Pack from the Children’s Book-of-the-Month Club
Mom Trends - Book Giveaway Ends 7/15
Summer Reading Prize Pack from the Children’s Book-of-the-Month Club
5 Minutes for Books - Book Giveaway Ends 6/20
Jet Blue Summer Reading pack
Muse Reviews - Book Giveaway Ends 7/11
Hooray for Amanda & Her Alligator! by Mo Willems
Muse Reviews - Book Giveaway Ends 7/14
Dude: Fun with Dude and Betty by Lisa Pliscou
My Four Monkeys - Book Giveaway Ends 7/11
Klutz Fabulous Flowers
Playing by the Book - Book Giveaway Ends 7/12 (Int'l)
Everybody’s Activity Book and Derwent Pencils art materials
The Children's Nook - Book Giveaway Ends 7/31
The Butt Book by Artie Bennett
Just Another New Blog - Book Giveaway Ends 7/28
Star of the Sea: A Day in the Life of a Starfish by Janet Halfmann
The Bennet Sisters - Book Giveaway Ends 7/22
Little Miss Austen Pride & Prejudice by Jennifer Adams
Musings of a Restless Mind - Book Giveaway Ends 7/15
Tooter's Stinky Wish by Brian Cretney and Peggy Collins
From the Mixed Up Files - Book Giveaway Ends 7/?
War and Watermelon by Rich Wallace (middle grade)
There's a Book - Book Giveaway Ends 7/9
War and Watermelon by Rich Wallace (middle grade)
HarperCollins I Can Read Books Facebook Summer Sweepstakes - Book Giveaway Ends 7/29
Nook Color and a Level sampler of their choosing (Facebook Contest)
Wanna Jugar With Migo - Book Giveaway Ends 7/9
Un Pato en Nueva York
My Sentiment Exactlee - Book Giveaway Ends 7/26
choice of book from Downtown Bookworks
Mona Hodgson - Book Giveaway Ends 7/10
set of I WONDER BOOKS by Mona Hodgon (Facebook contest)
Mom 2 Posh Lil Divas - Book Giveaway Ends 7/21
BOB Books Sight Words
Book Dads - Book Giveaway Ends 7/10
The Secret Message by Mina Javaherbin
Bookin With Bingo - Book Giveaway Ends 7/15
The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook and Harry Potter: Film Wizardry
Kristi's Book Nook - Book Giveaway Ends 7/12
Tornado Alert! by Wendy Scavuzzo
Adventures in Mommy Land - Book Giveaway Ends 7/11
Tiger Tales Books: The Ice Cream King and A Little Bit of Love
Dad Divas - Book Giveaway Ends 7/8 (11:59 pm Eastern)
The Ultimate Top Secret Guide to Taking Over the World by Kenn Nesbitt
What is Bridget Reading - Book Giveaway Ends 7/9
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater (YA) ARC
The Attached Mama - Book Giveaway Ends 7/15
Lentil by Robert McCloskey

When Life Gives You O.J by Erica S. Perl Prize Pack Giveaways (middle grade/tween)
A Mom's Take Ends 7/22
5 Minutes for Books Ends 7/13
Take it from Me Ends 7/17
Smart and Trendy Moms Ends 7/14
The Thrify Things Ends 7/21
Coupons are Great Ends 7/17
Girl Gone Mom Ends 7/14

Super Diaper Baby 2: The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers
by Dav Pilkey Giveaways
(middle grade/tween)
Mommy Loves Coffee Ends 7/13
Tree Root and Twig Ends 7/11
5 Minutes for Books Ends 7/13
Susan Heim on Parenting Ends 7/15
Mom Most Traveled Ends 7/18
Momma Findings Ends 7/21
Blogfully Ends 7/12
The Dirty Tshirt Ends 7/11
Cake Blast Ends 7/19
Mommas Gone Over the Wall Ends 7/14
Geek Mom Ends 7/10

Dinosaur Train Lift the Flap “Let’s Go to Volcano Valley Giveaways
Susan Heim on Parenting Ends 7/20
Fun Being Frugal Ends 7/18
No Time Mommy Ends 8/8
bassgiraffe's Thoughts Ends 7/15
Mom to Bed by 8 Ends 6/27

Other Giveaways:
Mommy PR - DVD Giveaway Ends 7/22
Scholastic Storybook Treasures: I’m Dirty and I Stink DVDs
The Thrify Things - Kit Giveaway Ends 7/15
Science Activity Kits

Fish for more children's book giveaways at Lori Calabrese's Fish for a Free Book linkup each Friday

I Am A Reader, Not A Writer also has a new book giveaway linky with lots of YA and some other kid's books.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Mother Goose Club DVD - Review

I'm actually a little embarrassed to admit that I haven't spent a lot of time teaching my preschooler son all the familiar nursery rhymes. For some reason I read the rhymes more often to my daughter when she was younger. Of course, given my love of Mother Goose, we've read Mother Goose books but not repeatedly. Sometimes I sing the rhymes for my children, but we haven't really listened to many of the nursery rhyme melodies on CD or on DVD either. In my childhood I learned and memorized many nursery rhyme melodies and there's no doubt in my mind that this early exposure to nursery rhymes helped accelerate my reading and rhyming skills.

Team Mom recently introduced my family to a nursery rhyme inspired, educational live-action children's TV series called Mother Goose Club. The series is aimed at the toddler / preschooler age group and currently airs on various PBS stations (though I don't think we've seen it on our local station). Produced by Sockeye Media, the program has received 14 Midsouth Emmy® award nominations. Just recently the company released a DVD called Nursery Rhyme Singing Time with Mother Goose Club. Here's a clip of the song "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe" from the DVD:

The DVD includes 15 familiar nursery rhyme songs and five Mother Goose Club episodes.

Jack Be Nimble • Itsy Bitsy Spider • Hickory Dickory Dock • One, Two, Buckle My Shoe • Rig a Jig Jig • Where is Thumbkin • Little Bo Peep • Clap Your Hands • Baa Baa Baa Sheep • Mary Mary Quite Contrary • Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear • Humpty Dumpty • Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star • Pat-a-Cake • Little Boy Blue

Baa Baa's Rhyme Time Bonanza • Hickory Dickory Dock Rocks • One, Two, Buckle My Shoe Eep Counts to Ten • Itsy Bitsy Spider Time • Teddy Bear Boogie Woogie

The Mother Goose Club characters are certainly zany! The six characters -- Teddy Bear, Jack B. Nimble, Little Bo Peep, Baa Baa Sheep, Mary Quite Contrary, and Eep Mouse -- are actual adults and kids dressed up in brightly colored costumes. The characters sing and dance, all the while teaching young viewers about rhyming words. The characters remind me a little of those from the Doodlebops series, a PBS show we watched for a short period when my daughter was younger. Perhaps that explains her fascination with the Mother Goose Club characters' showy wigs and costumes.

Parents and educators can either pick and choose songs and episodes individually from the menu or play everything at once. If you select "play all," the DVD plays the nursery rhyme songs first and then the episodes. My preschooler son prefers the short and to the point songs and likes to sing along, especially with his favorites, "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe" and "Itsy Bitsy Spider." The episodes concentrate primarily on teaching rhyming skills using various nursery rhymes. I did notice that a few of the songs aren't what I expected. "Where is Thumbkin" is abbreviated and only covers thumbkin and pointer, neglecting the other fingers. The "Baa Baa Black Sheep" song rhyme is actually titled "Baa, Baa, Baa Sheep" and the lyrics are changed a little ("One for my teddy, one for Bo Peep, one for the little boy who lives down the street.") While the characters do read the original rhyme later on, I wish that the song was also sung using the familiar verse.

Overall, I do think that Mother Goose Club provides parents, daycare providers and educators with useful tools to introduce nursery rhymes and teach kids about rhyming. My kids were singing along to the fun, upbeat tunes almost immediately.

Additional products including CDs and a coloring book are available for purchase from the store on the Mother Goose Club Website. Don't miss out on the $27.00 SUMMER special for the Mother Goose Club Super Pack that includes the CDs, DVD and coloring book.

Speaking of the website, I found several valuable resources there. Seriously, it is a virtual treasure trove itself! The Mother Goose Club Website contains a huge selection of nursery rhymes that kids can listen to as well as videos, printable pdfs and sheet music. At the bottom of the Parents section are tips on rhyming with preschoolers and a very nice collection of printable uppercase and lowercase alphabet practice sheets. I highly recommend this online resource.

(Coloring page from Mother Goose Club Coloring Book)

Connect with the Mother Goose Club on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Thanks to Team Mom and Mother Goose Club for this review opportunity and for providing the Mother Goose Club products for my family to review. View my full disclosure statement for more information about my reviews.)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Musical Saw

One of my grandfather's cousins played a few songs on his musical saw at our family reunion this past weekend. Here's a video of him playing "My Country, 'Tis of Thee."

Find more of this week's Wordless Wednesday (or Wordful) posts at 5 Minutes for Mom.

Friday, July 1, 2011

4th of July Pasta Fireworks Craft for Kids

You can't celebrate Independence Day without fireworks! We're enjoying a spectacular 4th of July fireworks show a little early thanks to the homemade pasta noodle fireworks hanging from our dining room chandelier. The pasta fireworks sparkle as much as the real deal, and they are a whole lot quieter and safer.

Fireworks Craft Materials:
variety of pasta shapes
Glue (we used Elmer's School Glue)
Waxed Paper
Glitter Glue

Squirt a large circle of glue on a piece of wax paper. Create an exploding fireworks shape by positioning the pasta partially in the glue to make a pattern radiating outward from the center. Use different lengths and types of pasta to add dimension.

Sprinkle glitter on the fireworks and/or use a little glitter glue to add some sparkle.

Allow the pasta fireworks shape to dry fully before peeling off the waxed paper. (Ours took about two days to dry.) If you want to hang the fireworks decoration, tie a piece of string to one of the noodles.

For a little nighttime fun, try photographing the pasta fireworks against the dark evening sky. Capturing the pasta fireworks on camera is a lot easier than trying to photograph actual fireworks!

★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Last year we featured our favorite children's picture book containing fireworks ... Olivia Forms a Band by Ian Falconer. Since then we've discovered several other books that portray a fireworks show. It's amazing how many different ways illustrators depict a fireworks display.

Books with Fourth of July Fireworks:
Apple Pie Fourth of July by Janet S. Wong, illustrated by Margaret Chodos-Irvine
Summer Beat by Betsy Franco, illustrated by Charlotte Middleton
Fourth of July Mice by Bethany Roberts, illustrated by Doug Cushman
Hats Off for the Fourth of July! by Harriet Ziefert, illustrated by Gustaf Miller
Night's Nice by Barbara and Ed Emberley
Jake Johnson : the story of a mule by by Tres Seymour, illustrated by Marcia Gray Carrington

Other picture books that depict fireworks:
The Loud Book! by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Renata Liwska
Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld
Cake Girl by David Lucas
The Fabulous Firework Family by James Flora

Our book list is a work in progress. Do you know of any other books with illustrations of fireworks?