~I received a copy of the film to review. Opinions and stories are my own.~
Dinosaur Train is a PBS Kids animated series that was created by Craig Bartlett, who also created Hey Arnold! and Rugrats. It features Buddy, an adventurous Tyrannosaurus Rex, and his Pteranodon family. They journey on the Dinosaur Train and meet different dinosaurs, creatures and explore the world around them. It opens up a whole new world of science and history for kids!
Dinosaur Train Nature Trackers features 8 Episodes with Buddy, Tiny, Shiny and Don as they travel the Dinosaur Train.
Stargazing on the Night Train – The Pteranodon family rides a special ‘Night Train” to another part of the Cretaceous Time Period, where they meet a Troodontid “cousin” of the Conductor’s, Sidney Sinovenator, who knows more about the stars than anyone. Sidney takes the family up to his favorite stargazing spot, “Starry Hill.”
Get Into Nature! – When the kids build their own version of a nest on the beach, they get the idea to turn their beach nest into a clubhouse. Shiny thinks that a clubhouse needs a club, and “the Nature Trackers” club is born! The kids decide to make their club about getting outside, getting into nature, and making new discoveries. The only problem is: which kid is in charge of the club?
Shiny and Snakes – Shiny gets over her fear of snakes when Tiny challenges the Nature Trackers to meet the ultimate snake: the Sanajeh, a huge Cretaceous snake from what is now India. Dad takes the kids on the Dinosaur Train to find Sana Sanajeh, who may be huge, but turns out to be quite friendly.
Tiny Loves Flowers – Tiny is horrified when her favorite buttercups all wilt, so Mom takes her and the family to the Big Pond, where she remembers seeing a whole lot of buttercups in bloom. On the way there, the Conductor gives the kids a visual lesson in “Nature’s Life Cycle,” explaining how a flower grows, blossoms, then wilts, and returns its seeds to the ground, to start the cycle all over again.
Buddy Explores the Tyrannosaurs – Buddy, an adopted T. rex, wishes he knew more about his T. rex ancestors. So, Dad takes him and Tiny on the Dinosaur Train back to the early Cretaceous, to visit an ancestor: an earlier version of Tyrannosaurus rex called Raptorex. Rodney Raptorex is a kid who won’t grow up to be as big as Buddy will, but the two boys find that they not only have a lot of differences, they have a lot in common, too.
Rainy Day Fight – The kids are stuck cooped up in the nest for a long, rainy spell which leads to them fighting. Mom tells them that the rain has stopped enough that they can leave the nest – but she gives them an assignment: to go find their own “calm space,” where they can calm down enough to get along with each other again.
That’s Not a Dinosaur – The kids visit the Big Pond to attend the Biome Block Party. While attempting to win the leaf-necklace contest, Keenan Chirostemotes claims the Pteranodon sibs can’t compete for the prize for “dinosaur” with the most leaves because they are not dinosaurs. This launches the kids into a song called “That’s Not a Dinosaur”, as all the non-dinosaurs sing their piece. In the end, the game rules are changed to include all creatures, even non-dinosaurs, in all the contests!
Tiny’s Garden – The Nature Trackers go on a visit to the Big Pond, where Tiny hopes to see her favorite flowers. The Conductor tells her that if the kids gather seeds at the pond, they can bring them home and plant a garden full of those same flowers at the family nest! The kids all get into it, gathering seeds and bringing them home, where they plant a garden, and meet its new inhabitants, including Sammy, a friendly slug, who explains that slugs, spiders, and butterflies all help to make a garden complete.
It also comes with Bonus Special Features!
- Interactive Game
- Coloring Pages
- Information for Parents
- Dr. Scott’s Segments
What I really love about Dinosaur Train is that it helps children develop the skills for analyzing and reasoning situations. Created for children between 3-6, when cognitive skills become a focus, it creates adventures where children learn to think like scientists as well as learn fun activities outdoors.
Dinosaur Train even has a Nature Trackers Club, a community for young children, parents and educators that are interesting in learning more about nature and their environment! You print out the Nature Trackers Guidebook, complete the challenges and receive a Nature Trackers Token! Each month there is a new challenge and this month it is: “Make Your Own Nature Game” Challenge! Make sure to print out the directions and join in the fun with your kids!
This is a really great DVD for kids that encourages interaction, outdoor fun and family.
Purchase: You can purchase Dinosaur Train Nature Trackers for $9.99 in the PBS Shop. Remember that all proceeds for PBS movies, books and more helps support educational programming on PBS!