Afternoons on the Amazon

March 30, 2013 at 3:52 am (Education, Reviews) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

Our Magic Tree House Adventures

DSC02997As part of our Magic Tree House regimen, the kiddo and I read through everything and anything we could get our hands on regarding rainforests.  It’s been about a week, and every afternoon we’ve been diving into the magic of the Amazon River and its surrounding rainforests.

Last time we shared our Magic Tree House Adventures, we’d just finished our fourth set: Pirates Past Noon and Pirates! Fifth in line was Ninjas at Night, and I was searching high and low for a Research Guide (“Fact Tracker”) on Ninjas and could not find one.  It looks as though I may have dreamed that one up.  So we read the fictional adventure and moved on to Afternoon on the Amazon and Rainforests, the sixth set.  I couldn’t find Rainforests anywhere either!

So I built my own unit with out the help of Mary Pope Osborne, and found some pretty awesome books in our personal library the process…
DSC02995

Ladybird Explorers Plus: Rainforests

The Ladybird Explorers Plus series are flip/tab books with tons of information.  They are great book to have if you have lots of different ages in the house.  Even though I can’t say that from the experience of having lots of various aged children, I can say it from the experience of being just as fascinated by this book as my toddler.  The pictures are lovely, the facts surprising (I didn’t know there were dolphins in the Amazon River, they must have skipped over that in my childhood rainforest studies), and the tabs and flaps were fun.  One of our favorite tabs makes an Asian elephant move a heavy log.  Another causes the monkeys to swing through the trees.  It includes detailed but simple charts with flaps that show the water cycle in a rain forest, and clear glossy photos that overlap pages like you would find for an overhead projector.  The chapter “Beauty in the Forest” lives up to its name and is indeed full of very beautiful illustrations of the trees, birds, and flowers.

Rainforests

Learn About Rainforests by Jen Green

The Learn About series is fantastic for the pictures now, but even more important for all the projects later.  This really spells out detailed activities to do with an older child when we tackle the rainforest more formally.   It shows you step by step how to plant your own canopy, how to make molds of animal tracks in the forest, and the basics of field studies.   It is only 63 short pages in length, but the pages are full of facts, gorgeous photography, and 24 projects geared toward 8-12 year olds. It is advertised as “a fascinating fact file and learn-it-yourself project book” which to me is the very definition of what you should have in a homeschooler’s library.  I’m not sure why they are priced so high on Amazon, but I got mine for a couple bucks at Half Price Books.

Usborne Living WorldThe Usborne Living World Encyclopedia

First, I love Usborne.  Second, the Living Encyclopedia will be making its way into many lessons, as it covers all living things all over the world.  Being that it covers so much, naturally there is a huge section on rain forests that made for some nice supplementary pictures to gaze at while reading our fiction.  The kiddo was really taken with the unrelated lady bug on the front cover, but also liked seeing the extra pictures of the dolphins and jaguars while we were reading Dora and Diego’s Adventures, where they travel through the rainforest, use a dolphin to pull them through the Amazon river, and save Baby Jaguar.

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