Book Review: T. Rex


As you may have read in my post about Science being our new subject in homeschool this year, Davy has grown a great interest in reading non-fiction. While my stack of books at the library is mostly Cozy Mysteries, Alternative Fairy Tales, and Activity Books, Davy sticks to aisles with call numbers. It has been quite fun for me to learn about the animals he has such an interest in, so that during playtime I can have some answers about the animals he plays with.

    This dinosaur book was read right alongside other books with names like Ankylosaurus, Baryonyx, Triceratops, and Pachycephalosaurs, so I had no expectation for it other than hand drawn pictures instead of computer generated. I thought it looked cartoonish, and seeing his taste I wasn’t sure he would like it much once we started reading it. He likes seeing the “real” pictures. However, I was pleasantly surprised at this book, and by the time we finished it, I loved T. Rex!

    The book is a conversation between a grandpa and grandson, with each character getting a different size and format to their words. The facts in this book are presented as the grandpa telling his grandson. And where there is missing information in paleontology, places that all his other books have given guesses and theories stated as fact, this book leaves the facts as they are. To which the grandson asks, over and over, “Don’t you know? Why don’t you know?” I love that! It is so disappointing to learn about animals only to find out that much of the information that was stated as fact is not based on fact, but on educated guesses. This book invites the young reader to join in the process of learning and discovery by showing how much we have to learn still.

    Being a Christian it is also important to show my child how there is a lot of theory and guesswork in science, to help him from an early age to recognize why and how changes in science happen. I also want to encourage him to ask questions, to be curious, and to look for his own place in the future. This is a great book for so many reasons that I have kept it beyond Davy wanting to “trade it in” at the library. Go get this book for your little ones. It is so much fun, and opens up a world of curiosity.


The facts about the book.

Title: T. Rex

Author: Vivian French

Illustrator: Alison Bartlett

Place: A Museum

Publisher: Candlewick Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Publication Date: 2004

# Pages: 29

Special Features: Unique – Conversation between a grandpa and grandson, Dinosaurs, Leaves you with many questions, Truth and Facts

Price: Free from the library or from $0.01 on Amazon.

ISBN: 0-7636-2184-6

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Book Review: 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids


I got this book from the library, took it home, and realized I had already pinned almost everything in the book! I already follow the blog FunAtHomeWithKids.com and love the ideas! However, being in transition for so long has given me only enough motivation to pin and not enough to do. With the book in hand I was able to share it with my son, who immediately chose some things he wanted to do. I was also able to explain some of the ideas to my husband with the pictures and explanations and chapters. Wow I love books!

    I have wanted to do sensory bins for some time, and this book had some great ideas. Once I was able to show this book to my husband he latched on to the idea, and the next day we went out and bought the bin ($3 at Walmart), a bag of insects, lizards, and frogs ($1 at the dollar store), a bag of shells at Michaels ($5) and we had everything we needed for several of the ideas in the book. We already have at home many many small figurines in lots of themes: farm, dinosaur, ocean, Noah’s ark (multiples of animals), desert, rainforest, Arctic, etc. I am not crafty and artsy by myself, and I was a little concerned that I would put too much work in and nothing would come of it, but Davy loved it! Louis loved it, and I am looking forward to adding this to our homeschooling this year as a recurring activity.

    

The second thing I was excited to take from Pinterest to Reality was Discovery bottles. It is so easy to see the beautiful pictures on Pinterest and in reality the work outweighs the reward, or the supplies are out of reach. Since we chose an ocean theme first, since we were reading Jonah, we wanted to make a Discovery Bottle with sand and shells and shiny marbles. What we got was a murky mess. This book included the same Discovery Bottle I had pinned, and upon actually reading the instructions, it calls for craft sand or no sand at all. As I said I am not creative on my own, so it was essential that I get these two ideas because I had not thought of it myself. The book also explained that upon filling the bottle with water or gel or oil it might be too heavy for baby to lift. This was very useful because it brought my expectations to reality, and when it was too heavy for Kyrie, Davy and I just dumped it into the ocean sensory bin and played with the items ourselves.

    I hope the two experiences I took out of this book can give an idea of the usefulness of this book. If you are like me and are looking for ideas to play with kids, and would like them to be in your hand instead of in the digital expanse, this is the book for you. I love this book, and I am going to be using it quite a bit this year. Too bad the library only lets me renew books 4 times. Other fun things in this book include Slimes, Doughs, Paint (including all-natural paint that you color using items like carrots, beets, & spinach), other Sensory Activities, and DIY Toys. I am so excited to share with you in the coming years all about how I am using this book (and the corresponding blog).


The facts about the book.

Title: 150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids: The Very Best and Easiest Playtime Activities from FunAtHomeWithKids.com!

Author: Asia Citro, MEd

Publisher: Adams Media, Avon, Massachusetts

Publication Date: 2014

# Pages: 255

Special Features: Easy Doable Activities, Upcycled Supplies, Age Range for Each Activity

Price: Free from the library or Kindle Unlimited, and the ideas are all on the website/blog FunAtHomeWithKids.com. The books even have some DIY kits to give these books as gifts to a parent. $12.66 on Amazon or read for Free on Kindle Unlimited.

ISBN: 978-1-4405-7615-7

Book Review: Science Play!


When I majored in Education in college it was within a cohort that focused on multiage education and play education. This is the idea that through play, children learn. My emphasis was math and science and I taught middle school science for a year. So, with these two passions in my back pocket as I am entering my second year of homeschooling, I was overjoyed to find a book that neatly sums up these two loves. Science Play! Has turned out to be everything I hoped. It is a book overflowing with fun activities for 2 to 6-year-olds which will help them begin understanding science that is all around them.

    The book is written in such a way that you could use an entire chapter, or pull out individual chapters. The chapters are split into categories which are excellent to help both the kids and their “Grown-Up Lab Assistants” see how easy it is to enter into science. The first chapter is laid out in such a way that I could start right away with my son. It is written in a way that a kid could understand, and as they learn to read they can even take charge of their own learning experiences. The backyard and bathtub even become science labs in this book. These experiments are so amazing, you really do need this book. I am going to be keeping this book handy for many years to come.

    The very first chapter of activities is my favorite so far, Home Sweet Home. The title is perfect for the lack of items I need to buy, making my home very sweet indeed. This will be a great introduction for my 3 year old to his new class this year in homeschool: Science. The idea is to go on a “Science Safari”. On this safari (there are multiple examples given of ways to do this safari) different items will be collected by the child that fall into categories of either different senses, or the other categories in the book: water, plants, and bugs. Very few materials are needed since the child will be doing mainly collecting. The next few pages share ways to display and store these “treasures” in a “mini-museum”. Once again, the material requirements are few and you can choose based on what you collected and what you have already at home. Then the activities move to observing and learning from what we collected, which involves more trips outside.

    I know I am making it sound too simple, but it really is that easy! If you have a kid 0-6, get this book! I am not just recommending it, but making it an essential if you want to introduce science to your kids. Also, I am going to be using this book in our homeschool curriculum this year, so stay tuned for more posts about how I am using this book!


The facts about the book.

Title: Science Play!

Author: Jill Frankel Hauser

Publisher: Williamson Books, Nashville, Tennessee

Publication Date: 1998

# Pages: 143

Special Features: 2-6 Year-Olds, Activities and Experiments, Easy to Read, Many Activities Have No Required Items

Price: From $2.68 on Amazon. I got it for free from the library first, but I liked it so much I bought it for $2.67.

ISBN: 978-0-8249-6799-4