Posts Tagged “animals”

Explore the Wild With Jungle Hide & Seek Game & Jungle Theme Stories

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We’ve partnered with SmartGamesUSA for a series of games and puzzle reviews. We are very excited to be working with them to provide our readers with an honest review of Jungle Hide & Seek. Affiliate links may be contained in this post. All thoughts and opinions expressed herein are strictly my own.

Jungle Profile Pic

If there’s one theme that gets kids really going… it’s the wild of the Jungle. We’ve done many variations with the jungle theme because there are tons of craft ideas and great reading selections… not to mention all the animal science and habitat discovery. Here the Jungle Hide & Seek puzzle game by SmartGamesUSA pairs nicely with a couple favorite Barefoot Books: The Animal Boogie and Walking Through The Jungle (both with catchy songs and CD’s). Go wild with this theme… or just enjoy a fun puzzle with some family quiet time. Either way, you can’t go wrong with Jungle Hide & Seek and these Barefoot Books.

Jungle Hide & Seek 3

Jungle Hide & Seek is a puzzle game from SmartGamesUSA, challenging players as a single person game. Similar to well-known, Rush Hour, Jungle Hide & Seek has multiple puzzle challenges which provides lot of game play and ensures players remain on their toes. Jungle Hide & Seek is particularly meaningful because it showcases a dual-sided game board, which incidentally works as storage for the puzzle pieces. On one side you have traditional jungle animals like elephants, tigers and a baboon. On the flip side, children are introduced to nocturnal animals including the lemur, fox, and panther. Aside from being a terrific brain activity, I really like that Jungle Hide & Seek can be partnered with Halloween themes around creatures of the night. It could be used as a party game using teams. We typically leave the spooks to other families and focus on nocturnal animals for our Halloween festivities and activities. It’s all about adding in a layer of learning while having a great time.

Jungle Hide & Seek Profile Pic

As I mentioned above, Jungle Hide & Seek partners perfectly with several of our personal library books on jungle animals. If you are going to the zoo as a family or class trip, this is a perfect game to follow that experience because it speaks to the animals of the wild. Likewise, if you read a lot of stories about animals, Jungle Hide & Seek will help to bring the two activities together. This game will surely become part of our Jungle curriculum, as well as, our Animal Adventures series, both coming soon.

Walk Thru The Jungle & Animal Boogie BFB

Jungle Hide & Seek offers 80 challenges building in complexity. It is perfect for ages 7 to adult… and yes, I’ve challenged myself a couple times and have gotten as far as puzzle card #23. There are four puzzle pieces (with a green and blue side each). Using the corresponding side, players use all four puzzle pieces for each challenge and trust me, it’s a lot more challenging than I’m describing. And a little bit addicting. #JustSaying

Jungle Hide & Seek Jungle Hide & Seek 4Walking Thru The Jungle BFB

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Soak Up Last Days of Summer with Nature Explorer’s Handbook

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Although this post contains affiliate links, the opinions expressed herein are honest and my own.

Nature Explorers Handbook Profile Pic

In the Nature Explorer’s Handbook, youngsters will be enticed to explore the outdoor world of their backyard with the colorful and easy to read pages, checklists and varying activities. Encouraged to get dirty, get close to the ground and up close to nature… Science has never looked so accessible and fun!

Nature Explorers Handbook 2This handbook is tabbed with five sections:

Awesome Bugs

Garden Critters

Birds and Bats

Woodland Adventure

Plants

Splashes of tips and trivia make this resource engaging and cool. The spiral bound handbook is easy to carry and keeps the page open while your child is busy exploring on their own.

Nature Exporers Handbook 3

Other features include Safety Tips and “Do It” suggestions, 60+ stickers and a fold out calendar for seasonal exploration. I love that Nature Explorer’s Handbook has thought of clever ways to draw children into scientific discovery using checklists, activities, journalist techniques and showcasing year-round exploratory advantage.  Part journal, part workbook, this Nature Explorer’s Handbook is designed for taking notes, doodles, and on the go discovery… and it couldn’t be done better! Be sure to have a pencil in hand with this book.

Checklist allows children to track their progress and really zero-in on the details of their findings.

Superb resource!

Nature Explorers Handbook

PS – The blue Para’Kito Mosquito Repellent band on her ankle was previously provided as a review product… and we truly love it. You can read our review of this outdoor necessity item HERE.

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Tarantulas: A Family Museum Exhibit

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Tarantula myths debunked; a new appreciation for these giant, fuzzy arachnids.

We are happy to partner with Academy of Natural Sciences to provide this exhibit review as part of a sponsored arrangement. The opinions expressed herein are strictly my own.

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My daughter has had a fascination with spiders for several years… so imagine her excitement when she learned that her favorite science museum is showcasing a special exhibit on tarantulas. Yeah, it was kinda a big deal.

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The Academy of Natural Sciences opened its “Tarantulas: Alive and Up Close” exhibit this past Saturday, January 30. It will show until May 30th, 2016 with a small admission price. Get all the details here.

Taking notesWith an invitation a couple months back, we waited for what felt like “forever” for a five-year old but finally the media preview date arrived. Victoria was afforded the day off from school to attend this event, and again this was because spiders are a big deal to her and I knew she would get a lot out of this day trip. Upon check-in, she was given a tiny notebook and pen, and from there we began our journey.

In usual Academy fashion, the exhibit has a variety of show pieces to include an interactive map, photo cut-out and plenty of easy to digest narrative and picture displays. Personally, I appreciated the “Anatomy of Tarantulas” oversized book display. The Tarantulas exhibit has a colorful backyard back drop area and tarantula costumes perfect for photo ops and imaginary play.

open presentationVictoria, being in Kindergarten, isn’t exactly the best note taker… but that didn’t stop her from paying absolute close attention and attempting to capture the important facts that Invertebrates Specialist, Karen Verderame was sharing in the Opening Presentation.

Victoria asked "What do tarantulas eat for breakfast?"

Victoria asked “What do tarantulas eat for breakfast?”

 

Victoria, never without a question, took an opportunity to ask Ms. Verderame what tarantulas like for breakfast before moving about the live spider exhibits. Thank you to Philly Voice for quoting Victoria and capturing the perfect picture of my little journalist in action, as well as this quick snippet on 6 abc news.

interview questions Taking notes tarantula peek

favorite spider

 

That little notebook came in handy, when Victoria learned about the most impressive species of tarantulas. She was quick to copy the name of her new favorite into the notebook. And if you’re curious, her favorite tarantulas are Martinique Pinktoe sporting a unique ability to change from a bright blue color as spiderlings into pink/purple legged adult tarantulas. And then that little notebook accompanied every question she had for the Academy’s staff.

This tarantulas exhibit is ideal for spider enthusiasts, like my daughter, AND those who fear the creepy-crawlers because there is so much misunderstood about these arachnids. I loved NJ.com coverage of this event to highlight some of those myths and truths.

 

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Getting Gross with Animal Grossology Science Learning Fun

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mom and me and the cow“That’s Disgusting!”

Between shrieks of “Ew, that’s disgusting!” and “Hey, check this out!” the Academy of Natural Science has successfully launched an amazingly engaging and totally gross exhibit for all ages in Animal Grossology.

Tapeworm exhibit really puts this into perspective.

Tapeworm exhibit

It is a tough time of year to keep kids engaged in learning, with warmer weather settling in and summer camp plans brewing… insert Grossology, the perfect opportunity to keep your children engaged in learning. With disgusting facts of hairballs, vomit and poo, mixed with awesome animal animatronics… this is sure to be an exhibit talked about for months and definitely a little something for them to share with friends in the lunch room.

Interactive exhibits

Interactive exhibits

“Oozing with disgusting science, Animal Grossology provides a slightly off-kilter view of the animal kingdom at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University. Get ready to be totally en-GROSS-ed!  Based on the best-selling Grossology children’s book series by Sylvia Branzei, Animal Grossology is packed with hands-on fun that celebrates those yucky topics moms warn their kids not to discuss at the dinner table.  Animal Grossology offers a fresh take on some of the more disgusting things animals do and engages visitors in how blood, vomit, pellets, dookie, and slime can be fun, funky and even fascinating.”

– Press Release, Academy of Natural Sciences

stinkyjellyfish fact game 2worm and via
Many thanks to the Academy of Natural Sciences for the ANIMAL Grossology Trivia below:
* Animals have red, blue, yellow or clear blood. Blood is very nutritious as it contains a lot of protein.

* A cow has one stomach but it is in four parts. A cow’s stomach is equal in size to nine human stomachs.

* Some frogs belch their babies into the world.

* Ticks often relocate by hitching a ride on a migrating bird.

* A Hagfish may be the slimiest creature on earth.

* Tapeworms grow inside the stomach and can grow up to 60 feet-long.

*Animals use smells for recognition, defense and attraction.

* Slime is essential to some animals, providing important functions such as facilitating motion, aiding in digestion and for defense.

* Blood slurpers transmit infectious diseases.

*What is caca, feces, dookie, guano, splay and stool stand for? All are names for “number 2”!

*Sea stars eat by shoving their stomachs out, digests the food and sucking their stomach back in.

* You can identify an animal by its “dookie” sizes, content and shape.

* An animal may feel very different from what you expect, once you have touched them.

* Why do owls purge “pellets”?

* Houseflies taste food using their feet and legs!

AND…

Did you know that copper gives some animals blue blood?
Did you know that flies fly at 4.5 mph?
Did you know that cats use their tongues as natural combs to remove loose hair?
Did you know a cow’s stomach is equal in size to nine human stomachs?
Did you know that shark skin is covered with tiny tooth-like scales called denticles?
Did you know the female mosquito needs a blood meal to lay eggs?

mom and meThe Academy of Natural Sciences is located in Philadelphia with weekday hours Monday–Friday, 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; and weekend hours of Saturday–Sunday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m. For more information on exhibits, changing exhibits, tools for education and direction please visit their website at www.ansp.org.  The Animal Grossology exhibit is showing until August 30th.

Hands-on exhibits with sound effects

Hands-on exhibits with sound effects

Disclosure: This was a sponsored post, whereas we were invited to a media preview of the exhibit. The opinions expressed herein are strictly my own. Trivia and Press Release provided by the Academy of Natural Sciences.

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Adventure Series: Hanging With My Little Monkey Friends

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So, how many time since having kids have you said, “You’re not a monkey, don’t climb on the ___” (use your own example here – table, sofa, curtains)?

Seriously, “monkey” became part of our every day conversations once I had kids. Now aside from acting like monkeys or being carried on our person like monkeys… children are also fascinated with this species. (Okay, okay so not just the kids.) Guess who’s most anticipated when we go to the zoo? Of course we love the lions and bird house and those huge snakes we’d never seek out elsewhere… but the monkeys, gorillas and apes always steal the show.  (And if you think I’m a fanatic, oh you should see my sister’s menagerie of monkeys!!)

Monkeys, chimpanzees, orangutans, apes, tamarin – after a while they all just seem to be the same but in fact there are two groups of primates: Apes and Monkeys. Orangutans, chimpanzees, gibbons and gorillas fall into the Ape category, while the Monkey category includes baboon, tamarin and mandrill.   So in the spirit of Homeroom At Home, we decided to put this curiosity to work. My family held our first on-site (and quite interactive) parent/child “edu-play date”. That’s right, we got down to the fun monkey business of learning all about primates.  It was simple; it was entertaining; it was educational (even for the adults!) With crafts, games and snacks we kept ourselves quite entertained for two hours.  Knowing that our audience was going to be on the younger side, we kept the games and crafts very very simple, although you could easily choose more age-appropriate ones. We decorated bookmarks with monkey and gorilla stickers. We used hula hoops and a round table cloth to play games with a blow-up monkey. Of course our littlest guest thought he should be the monkey-in-the-middle.  Another really cute game was “Where Is Sock Monkey?” complete with a stuffed sock monkey. For snack we ate Banana Graham Cracker Pudding Cake and Monkey Bread. We read a variety of books and used a simple story board to demonstrate the differences between apes and monkeys and then we tested our knowledge with picture books and stuffed animals. Each child took home coloring sheets of either gibbons, gorillas, tamarins, orangutans or monkeys. The highlight of the evening was the puppet story telling of 5 Little Monkeys Sitting In A Tree whereby teasing a certain crocodile. I happened to have a Crocodile Cuddle-Uppet and five stuffed animal monkeys. Everyone participated as one by one the monkeys disappeared. We also read and re-enacted 5 Little Monkeys Jumping On The Bed and below you’ll find a cute picture of that action. Again, these highly engaging stories were the talk of the night.   Check out our Facebook page for more fun photos of our Monkey Edu-Play Date.

As fun as it was playing games and tossing around stuffed animal friends, it doesn’t hold a candle next to watching these primates in action. There are many local places to check out apes and monkeys including the Philadelphia Zoo. The Philadelphia Zoo has named 2012 the Year Of The Orangutan with special exhibits, events and education awareness. The Buffalo Zoo of New York offers wonderful PDF Fact Sheets for most of their animals on exhibit – in fact many zoos offer bios or facts for their animal population but the full sheet fact pages of Buffalo Zoo was impressive and helpful. This was also the case for Brandywine Zoo of Delaware.

We can’t have all this talk about monkeys and apes and NOT mention the Ape House at the National Zoo in DC. This exhibit is home to several gorillas and orangutans. The Ape House is only one of several exhibits the National Zoo offers for primates. When visiting be sure to stop by the Small Mammal House, Think Tank, Lemur Island and more. Be sure to bookmark their website here, as it is full of information to return to – monkeys and otherwise. Another fascinating feature of the National Zoo is the creation of the first ever Orangutan Transport System (OTS) – no kidding! As a solution to a logistical and design issue within the zoo, they created a traveling system allowing the orangutans to freely roam between the Ape House and Think Tank. In addition, the orangutans are offered the freedom to choose their evening dwelling. How cool is that? Check out more on the “O line” by clicking here. Now among several on-going projects, our National Zoo at the Smithsonian has spearheaded the Golden Lion Tamarin Conservation Program whereby saving these critically endangered monkeys over the last three decades and reducing their classification from critically endangered to endangered. Don’t forget to check out the education tools on the website – there’s so much offered.

Play time equals learning fun too, so check out these great toys to continue your primate experience:

China’s famous Yi Yuanji of 1000 years ago, depicted a beautiful scene on silk of two gibbons in a tree. This painting became memorable due to a culture that mostly focused on flowers and birds in artistic expression. You can check it out here.

Let’s continue our discussion… chimpanzees, monkeys, gorillas, etc have been featured in a number of live-action family films. Share with us your favorite and one lucky participant will win a small monkey surprise just for leaving a comment. (Be sure to leave your email, so I can contact the winner directly.) Winner will be chosen on October 25th.

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