Tuesday, August 6, 2013

TOS Review: BrainFood Learning (The Fascinating World of Mammals)

Anybody else remember the Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom in the ‘70’s?  Before the show aired on PBS, kids like me just had to be content with imagining the cheetah in her natural habitat. Each week the strange and fascinating wonders of the Wild were brought into our little family room in the Ozark Hills. I think actually that program was around way before me, but it was part of my childhood. Yes. I’m admitting I’m a little older than I used to be. 

I don’t think there is not a kid anywhere who isn’t curious about Wild Animals.  Nowadays there is so much available to a young animal enthusiast. It’s often hard to wade through the cheezy or the grisly.
BrainFood Learning has made it their mission produce quality videos that will educate and entertain. They actually started their journey just looking for a series of videos for their kids that would accomplish those very things. The Fascinating World of Series is the result. Josiah and I were fortunate to be able to review The Fascinating World of Mammals

What I Received 

The Fascinating World of Mammals DVD retails for $14.00. It is 52 minutes long and focuses on 10 mammal.

Moose, Giraffes, Elephants, Bears, Chimpanzees, Lions, Dolphins, Bats, Kangaroos and Beavers all make an appearance in this high quality DVD. 

The Main Menu gives you the option to PLAY All or go to a specific chapter. You are also given the option to go right to the review. We started at the PLAY ALL feature because Josiah couldn’t decide which animal he would like to learn about first. Lions and Moose and Bears (Oh my!).

This is not simply a video of some animals moving around their natural habitat (with a breathless narrator telling you that indeed, the lion was about to pounce on the baby antelope). A vocabulary word is introduced at the beginning of each segment. The word is defined and explained. 

Josiah was all about that. He loves vocabulary words. He occasionally throws one at me to see if he can stump me. “Hey Mom! What is a biped? You’ve got 30 seconds…Go!” Cheeky. 

The narrator provides all sorts of interesting information. 

“Hey, Mom! (this from Josiah) Did you know that the female moose is called a cow? She doesn’t look like any kind of cow I’ve seen.” You have to understand that here in Missouri we take our cows fairly seriously. 

“Hey, Mom! (again…Josiah) Did you know that Giraffes do this thing called ‘necking’ (I have to say I had to check this one out myself). 

The Review Section is available at the end to see how much we’ve learned. The beauty of this product is that we can revisit it over and over again. And over and over if your child is anything like mine. 

The Review Section is made up of the following:

Animal Flash Cards- These are made up of a picture of each animal and says their name twice. No getting the Kangaroos mixed up with Giraffes!

Review the Mammals- This is a multiple choice activity.

Features of Mammals- This section talks about the characteristics of mammals (they have hair, lungs, produce milk, warm blooded, etc. Review of what makes mammals special or different from other animals (Hair, Lungs, Vertebrates, Milk producing, and Warm blooded)

Review of Mammal facts- A multiple choice activity. 

Review the big words- Another multiple choice activity that reviews the vocabulary words throughout the DVD. 

A Few Thoughts

Josiah really enjoyed this DVD. It is intended for use with any age. Brain Food doesn’t dumb their material down. They believe that by exposing even younger children to the material we are “preparing children for academic challenges ahead.” Yes and Yes. 

The video is very well done. I always groan a little inside whenever we are given something that looks like Josiah could have made it on Power Point. The Fascinating World of Mammals was a lovely viewing experience.

You won’t have to cover your toddler’s eyes. No baby dolphins were eaten during the course of the video. Which was always a little disturbing to me as a youngster (during my nature program watching days).

I love that there is an option to view each animal separately.This is a great feature for those with younger children or kiddos whose attention spans are a bit shorter.

I enjoyed reading through the blog on the BrainFood Website. I particularly enjoyed this post on exercising the brain. 

There are FREE lesson plans available for each of The Fascinating World of series.” They make a nice supplement to the video. Here is the lesson plan for The Fascinating World of Mammals. 

I love having this video as part of my resource collection. I can imagine using it with an in-depth study or part of larger studies. Oh the possibilities!  The first time around we used watched it simply to enjoy. And the second. And the third.

Here is a 3 minute preview of The Fascinating World of Mammals.

I don’t think you will be disappointed with this DVD. BrainFood Learning has also produced The Fascinating World of Insects and The Fascinating World of Birds as well (any plans on fish? I could use one on fish). My blogging buddies of the TOS Crew reviewed these products as well.

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