Although the start of school is an exciting time for children of all ages, it is extra-special for those that are beginning for the first time.
Whether your little one is thrilled to be heading out the door with their backpack in hand or they are hesitant to come out from behind your legs, it is easier to celebrate Get Ready for Kindergarten Month (August) with back-to-school products and online educational activities from the characters that they know and love: Dinosaur Train.
Transitioning to Kindergarten can be a stressful time for young children as they take on a new role as "student" - in addition to other changes such as new surroundings, routines and expectations, and in some cases being away from parents for the first time.
There are many things, however, that can be done to help prepare children for this big transition and a familiarity with some key skills will be beneficial. The Jim Henson Company and PBS KIDS have included some fun ideas from the award-winning Dinosaur Train website that will help children familiarize themselves with and build upon some specific skills, while at the same time enjoying their favorite characters!
Practice reading and speaking. Help your child practice the letters of the alphabet while learning, speaking and singing about the diversity of dinosaurs that once lived on Earth with the "Dinosaurs A – Z song."
Learn about color. Help your child understand, 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 with fun science activities.
Develop fine motor skills. Coloring, cutting, drawing, buttoning, zippering, building and more can be practiced and accomplished. With Buddy’s help, these skills can even be put to use while making a Stegosaurus Puppet.
Practice gross motor skills such as running, jumping and throwing. Try "Playing Dino Ball Your Way" to improve these skills–and get some exercise too–by inventing the rules for an imaginary game and then playing it!
Explore size and scale. Using illustrations and physical markers, kids can measure out size differences in large dinosaurs to understand their size and scale - such as found in the "Even Bigger than T.rex" activity.
Of course there are many other important skills for children to be familiar with before starting Kindergarten – these are just a few to have fun with, along with your child's friends from Dinosaur Train. To further the excitement, Dinosaur Train has everything from books to toys to clothing that are sure to make learning at home and school fun for everyone.
With so many great Dinosaur Train items, we couldn't wait to take a look at each of these high quality pieces in person.
Dinosaurs A to Z from Golden Books
Written by Andrea Posner-Sanchez and illustrated by Terry Izumi, this Dinosaur Train alphabet book familiarizes readers to 26 dinosaurs - one for each letter of the alphabet. With Buddy, Mr. Conductor, and the other Dinosaur Train characters introducing dinos from Apatosaurus to Zigongosaurus, young paleontologists-in-training will love learning cool facts about 26 amazing dinosaurs.
Both of my kids found this colorful non-fiction book entertaining, while I appreciated the sturdy padded cover. This would make a great gift for any young fan! Designed for ages 3 - 5 (although I don't see why younger children couldn't enjoy it as well, as it is very durable), this fun book has a retail price of $11.99.
Dinosaur Train Coloring Pad & Marker Set from Crayola Mess Free Color Wonder
With Crayola Mess Free Color Wonder, the inks are clear and colors magically appear only when the markers meet the special Color Wonder paper. Kids are free to unleash their imaginations and love the way each marker magically reveals a different color on the special paper... while parents love the fact that Color Wonder inks will not appear on skin, walls or carpet. No clean up involved!
Designed for ages 3+ with a retail price of $7.99, this set is available now at Walmart, Target, Toys "R" Us, Kmart, Kohl's, and Meijer.
MEGA BLOKS All Aboard the Dinosaur Train! from MEGA Brands
Little dino-engineers can get all aboard the Dinosaur Train by joining Buddy and Tiny on their adventures through the Age of Dinosaurs with their tour guide Gilbert. Build and rebuild the authentic Dinosaur Train with two observation cars, opening doors and a replica brown roof as it pulls into Pteranodon Station to pick up a new group of passengers.
Featuring a Buildable Dinosaur Train and Pteranodon Station, a Mr. Conductor sticker and big red wheels that really spin, and Gilbert, Buddy and Tiny figurines, this set can be combined with other MEGA BLOKS toys to build a new adventure every time. For ages 3+, this set has a retail price of $32.99 and is available at Amazon and Toys "R" Us.
MEGA BLOKS Buddy from MEGA Brands
Give your little Dinosaur Train fan the chance to join everyone’s favorite T-Rex Buddy to meet, explore, and have adventures with all kinds of friendly dinosaurs aboard The Dinosaur Train. Sit bobble head Buddy in his Dinosaur Train passenger car and get ready to find out all about his favorite prehistoric friends with the included fun and informative dinosaur fact card.
Features include a buildable Buddy passenger car and scenery block, bobble head Buddy figurine, and a fun dinosaur fact card that teaches all about different types of dinosaurs. This toy can also be combined with other MEGA BLOK items for mix and match fun. For ages 3+, Buddy has a retail price of $6.99 and is available at Amazon, Kmart and Toys "R" Us.
DINOSAUR TRAIN APPAREL from Kids with Character
Dinosaur Train's summer line shirts and pants/shorts sets are great for back to school. With their bright colors, cute characters and high quality, they easily work together as well as being able to mix with the outfits already in your child's closet.
Available in August and September at Kohls and Kmart, prices vary on this fun clothing.
Whether you have a child going to Kindergarten this year or not, these Dinosaur Train activities and products are sure to bring a smile. The hit show from The Jim Henson Company is seen in over 13 million households every month and embraces and celebrates preschoolers' fascination with both dinosaurs and trains. The series encourages scientific thinking and other skills as it teaches viewers about natural science, natural history and paleontology.
For more information, visit PBS Kids on their website, Twitter, and Facebook and connect with The Jim Henson Company on Twitter and Facebook as well.
(Other than the information and Dinosaur Train products that I received, I was not provided with anything or enticed to do this post in any way. This review is solely my opinion of this show and these items.)