PBS Kids Debuts New Dinosaur Train Special: Nature Trackers Adventure Camp

Looking for something to watch today while the kids are home?  PBS Kids is premiering a one hour special today called, Dinosaur Train: Nature Trackers Adventure Camp.  The Pteranodon family are taking the kids and parents on a journey that features four stories that highlight nature and adventures in varying geographic locations. On their adventures, they zipline, raft and mountain climb, among other fun things. 

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As lovers of the outdoors, Nature Trackers Adventure Camp has us excited for our own outdoor excursions when the weather thaws a bit.  I especially love how this episode has an interesting educational angle that engages my adventurers one step further.  Click through to read more about this fun special!



“Nature Trackers Adventure Camp: Rafting”
Buddy, Tiny, Shiny and Don go river rafting for the first time at Nature Tracker Adventure Camp.  Their old pal Jess Hesperornis meets up with them, and they all learn about erosion and the importance of rivers before finishing up their adventure by cruising through some rapids!

Educational Objective: Rivers and streams are ribbons of water that start at a high point and flow downhill – often with streams gathering into rivers. Animals and plants living on land depend on rivers and streams to provide fresh water and nutrients.

“Nature Trackers Adventure Camp: Mountain Climbing”
For their second outing at Nature Trackers Adventure Camp, Buddy, Tiny, Shiny, Don and other friends learn about the tree line as they set out to hike up a mountain. Shiny is determined to get to the top of mountain forest. Buddy wonders if they’ll be able to see anything from the mountaintop, through the tall trees. The kids are amazed that the higher they hike, the shorter the trees and bushes become! Then they reach the tree line – a certain point on the mountain where trees are really small because they don’t have enough air to breathe and the temperature is too cold. In the end, Shiny and all the kids use teamwork to all reach the mountaintop together!


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Educational Objective: The timberline, or tree line, is a certain elevation on a mountain where the temperatures are colder, the air is thin and the soil is less moist, making it hard for most plants and trees to grow. Trees may grow as small shrubs. There is less oxygen, so it’s harder for animals to breathe at the tree line and above.

“Nature Trackers Adventure Camp: Ziplining” 
The Nature Trackers Adventure Campers are back for another adventure – and this time they’ll be travelling to a rainforest! Once they arrive in the dense rainforest, the campers explore different levels of the ecosystem, including the forest floor and the canopy of leaves at the top of the forest. After a hike through the rainforest, the campers’ adventure culminates as each kid takes a ride on a zipline, where they all get a bird’s eye view of the entire rainforest!

Educational Objective: Rainforests are very dense, warm, wet, forests that are home to a vast array of different life forms. Rainforests get a lot of rain, at least 70 inches per year. Rainforests, often called the “lungs of the Earth,” generate much of the oxygen we breathe.

“Nature Trackers Adventure Camp: Canyon Hiking” 
The Nature Trackers Adventure Campers are led by Mr. Conductor and Gilbert on a hike down a canyon, where they can see the different layers of the Mesozoic Era! At first, Lily Lambeosaurus is reluctant to go, thinking that a new adventure sounds hard, but Don convinces her that a new adventure can be worth the effort. At the bottom of the canyon, the kids dig for fossils. Each Nature Tracker goes home with a “new” Ammonite fossil, and Lily is so glad she tried something new!

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Educational Objective: Canyons are deep cuts in the earth’s surface. They are formed by erosion. Erosion is mainly caused by the flow of rivers. It takes millions of years for canyons to become the grandiose natural landmarks they are today. The bottom rocks in canyons can date back billions of years, beyond the Mesozoic. Canyons can also be formed by a shift of the earth’s tectonic plates.

Pumpkin Carving with PBS Kids

Halloween time is one of my absolute favorite times of year. Cool, brisk air allowing for sweatshirt and jeans, and of course, harvest time coupled with costumes—what’s not to love?

It’s the art of going to the pumpkin patch, painstakingly choosing the most perfect pumpkin and then, planning and carving our pumpkin to depict something we love, that embodies the kind of family Halloween fun that never gets old.

As crafty and artsy as we are, though, pumpkin carving is almost like a science. Unlike when we were kids, there are now specialized, kid-friendly tools and premade stencils to make this craft much easier.

Even better, many of our favorite kid websites provide these free stencils and other Halloween ideas. Last year, we created a Jack Skellington pumpkin via Disney’s website.

And of course, leave it to our friends at PBS Kids to share a plethora of fun character stencils to make this year’s pumpkins that much cooler. Whether you’re a fan of Peg + Cat, Daniel Tiger, the Wild Kratts or our good buddy Curious George, PBS Kids likely has a stencil fit for your pumpkin. Head to PBS Kids to grab a stencil for your family’s pumpkin!

Today, along with a few of our blogging friends, Jack was invited to join GMA Live for a fun segment just on this topic: pumpkin carving and Halloween fun inspired by PBS Kids. It’s always a treat when Jack gets to make an appearance on tv, so it’s quite fitting that it’s PBS Kids, one of our most beloved kid properties.

And speaking of Halloween fun: “CURIOUS GEORGE: A Halloween Boo Fest” airs Monday, October 28. It is the first ever CURIOUS GEORGE Halloween special.
Throughout the week of October 28, PBS KIDS will feature Halloween programming from other family favorites as well, including new episodes from THOMAS & FRIENDS and its newest series, PEG + CAT, and encore presentations of many other series (check local listings). PBS KIDS will also repeat CURIOUS GEORGE: A Halloween Boo Fest on Halloween.
Kids can also explore a pumpkin patch with George with a new Halloween game on PBSKIDS.org/curiousgeorge.
“CURIOUS GEORGE: A Halloween Boo Fest” is also available on DVD.

Peg + Cat Debuts on PBSKids

When I was first introduced to Peg + Cat at the PBS Annual meeting this past Spring, I was immediately smitten.  A spunky little girl + a quirky cat + a math curriculum—what’s not to love?  With its catchy songs, fantastic graphics, Peg + Cat, which debuts today on PBS Kids, will, no doubt, be an instant hit for the PBSKids core audience.

I love the fact that this new show, created by Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson, the minds behind Little Bill, The Wonder Pets and Rent and Postcards from Buster, respectively, has an emphasis on math and problem solving for the preschool/kindergarten set.  The musical elements, including the catchy songs, guitar/ukelele and other accompanying instruments magnify the cuteness of Peg + Cat’s adventures.

 Through their adventures, Peg + Cat not only help each other to solve problems, but learn from mistakes, which, in turn, teaches young minds the value of learning from mistakes and experimentation, as well as cooperation.


According to the creators of the show, the learning goals for Peg + Cat include: present age-appropriate concepts and math skills; broaden kids’ thinking about math; inspire creative problem solving; help kids see that math can be cool and inspiring.


I have a Kindergartener, and from just watching the first few episodes, it’s so interesting to see how close the stories from Peg + Cat are to my son’s actual lessons. Cylinders, sorting and counting to 100 are just a few of the many parallel lessons that I’ve seen so far.


The beautiful colors and endearing graphics set this new show apart.  Because of its emphasis on math, there are geometric shapes throughout.  The graph paper background is one of the show’s coolest graphic element to me.  As a kid, I was an aspiring artist and creative mind, so I used to draw on graph paper every chance I got.  It’s so cool to see an animated show “come to life” on graph paper. But more than anything, it’s awesome that graph paper still has significance in the digital age of art.

There’s so much to love about Peg + Cat and the conversation that this new property brings to the preschool arena.  Beyond the first glimpse of this show, we’ve also had the chance to preview recipes, a well-planned partnership with Whole Foods and Peg + Cat’s other platforms.  I will absolutely have more to share about Peg + Cat, but for now, check out the initial reading that the star of the show did during auditions.

Peg + Cat, a production of The Fred Rogers Company, airs every day on PBS Kids.  Check your local listings for time and channel.

Full disclosure:  I am a PBS Kids VIP and am often given a sneak peek of new and notable happenings for its properties.  I was not compensated to share this information, but am absolutely enthusiastic about sharing otherwise.  As always, all opinions on NKT are my own.

Dinosaur Train Submarine Adventure Debuts on PBS

Buddy and the Dinosaur Train gang are heading out on yet another educational adventure. This time, the dinosaurs will head out to sea on a new vessel, the Dinosaur Train Submarine, where they’ll learn about sea creatures from the Dinosaur Age. In their travels, the dinosaurs will see things they’ve never seen such as, Otto Ophthalmosaurus to Archelon turtles.

On February 18, PBS Kids will showcase The Jim Henson Company’s Dinosaur Train Submarine Adventure, which is an hour-long feature. To coincide with the hour-long adventure, Dinosaur Train will also feature new content online and on mobile devices. The special will also be available on DVD starting February 19 for $9.99.

As water lovers, we loved learning about the amazing sea creatures from the Dinosaur Age. Being under the sea with the Dinosaur Gang was a fun change of pace and, not surprisingly, educational and eye-opening. Since it’s debuting today on PBS, if you’re home with the kids for President’s Day, make sure you tune in for this fun feature.  Thank you to our friends at PBS Kids for sending along a screener and coloring pages!

Full disclosure:  As a PBS Kids VIP, it’s an honor to share news about the various PBS Kids properties.  I am not compensated as a VIP, and as always, opinions on NKT are my own.

Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood Debuts on PBS Kids

There’s a new kid in town, and Daniel Tiger’s his name.  With his vibrant stories and fresh perspective on things, Daniel Tiger is set to bring new smiles to preschoolers and their parents.  Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood offers young viewers a kid’s-eye view of his life, while exploring social and emotional topics.

A spinoff of everyone’s favorite neighbor, Daniel Tiger is a new dimension of sorts of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.  This new animated series, which debuts on PBS Kids, September 3, is the brainchild of Angela Santomero (who brought us Super Why and Blue’s Clues) and produced by The Fred Rogers Company.

At this year’s PBS Annual conference held in Denver earlier this year, I sat with my fellow PBS Kids VIPs and learned about Daniel Tiger firsthand from the creator.  As the son of the original program’s Daniel Striped Tiger, Daniel Tiger is an homage to Santomero’s childhood hero. I remembered just how significant Mister Rogers was to me, too, as I got the chills listening to Mrs. Rogers speak of her husband’s legacy, and got teary-eyed from a montage of memorable shows that helped shaped childrens’ media as we know it.


Recent research proves what Fred Rogers knew all along: social and emotional competencies are the building blocks of doing well in school and in life.

Daniel Tiger explores topics that are relatable to the preschool set, often emotions that young kids can’t quite understand, such as disappointment. The show uses a musical element in the form of cute songs to reinforce the theme.

With Biggie being a preschooler and having experienced our fair share of emotional ups and downs this year, the introduction of Daniel Tiger couldn’t have come at a better time.  Even before our screener arrived Biggie discovered Daniel Tiger on the PBS Video Player app and has been watching Daniel Tiger nonstop. Life’s little lessons as discussed on each episodes truly influence my preschooler who has been having anxiety issues.  Since he can relate to Daniel Tiger, we’ve used his smart advice as conversation starters and also to reinforce certain lessons during some more trivial times.  When Biggie was asked to try something new and sleep with his bedroom lights off, like a big boy, at first he resisted.  But when I asked him what he thought Daniel Tiger would do when he was asked to try something new, he said Daniel Tiger would probably say, “Calm down and give it a try.”


As someone immersed in children’s products and media every day by choice, there’s nothing I love more than seeing something awesome and educational come into fruition as a parent and as a part of the media.  And the fact that this show is heavily influenced by Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, a show that helped shape my own childhood is purely amazing, and being able to enjoy his legacy through the eyes of my kids is surreal.   I can’t wait to watch more of Daniel Tiger and to report back on the other episodes, apps and site!

In the meantime, be sure to catch the debut of Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood on PBS Kids on September 3 with a special one-hour block of two back-to-back episodes. The series will air daily following its Labor Day premiere. Be sure to check out this cool infographic about the show.

PBS 2012 Annual Meeting: What’s New For PBS Kids

This week I’m so honored to be attending the PBS Annual Meeting in Denver as one of the PBS Kids VIPs (Very Involved Parents.) As a parent ambassador for PBS Kids, alongside a number of influential social media colleagues in the parenting space, I’ve been listening in on several sessions and interacting with some of the brains behind the educational programming at PBS Kids.

Over the years, perhaps you’ve read about how I’ve been to Sesame Street, learned about how SS is ahead of the curve in the educational digital space, hung out with the Electric Company, met Super Why’s creators, shared dessert with Curious George and more. PBS Kids has always embraced bloggers and social media, so I’m beyond thrilled to continue our growing relationship as a VIP.

A fan and advocate for smart, yet cutting edge programming for children, this ambassadorship is, perhaps, one of the most exciting opportunities I’ve participated in to date. It’s beyond inspiring and uplifting to listen to these incredibly creative people behind the shows our kids love.


What I love most about what I do, is that I get to share this information with like-minded parents on my social media outlets, but also, I get to use my voice in this parenting space as an advocate for children’s media.

With two kids, media intake and the content being absorbed, is something I take very seriously. I’ve always championed shows that embody educational, social and creative values that I already teach at home. Excellent programming, to me, supplements the lessons I already advocate at home. With fantastic shows like Super Why, Curious George, Cat in the Hat, the Wild Kratts and more, it goes without saying, PBS Kids’ programming happily fills our mornings in between our own preschool-friendly activities.


So, on the docket over the next few days, I will be learning more about the new show, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood, listening in on the general session called, “It’s a New Day in the Neighborhood,” and of course, network with my fellow VIPs, as well as meet some exciting Movers and Shakers behind the properties at PBS Kids.

If you’d like to follow the conversation, feel free to check out the hashtag #PBSam on Twitter. Want fun visuals about #PBSam? catch me on Instagram @jenrab

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Through his quirky rhymes and colorful characters, for generations, Theodor Geisel–best known as Dr. Seuss–has urged us to climb mountains, hop on pop and speak for the trees. And today, the world celebrates what would have been the beloved author and illustrator’s 108th birthday.

Cat in the Hat Birthday

Kids of all ages have been celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday this week with enthusiastic celebrations, including nationwide reading campaigns. Although Seuss may have lent his creativity to other fields before flourishing with children’s books, his legacy continues to live on—so much so, not only have his books been reprinted over and over, but his characters have come to life on the big screen, stories have been turned into board games and his rhymes are the subject of an amusement park!

Above all the hoopla that Dr. Seuss’ stories have generated over the years, his messages still ring true all these years later. And if we were to remember anything he said, perhaps the most important message Dr. Seuss shared was this:

“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.”

For a few minutes or hours today, be sure to pick up a few books and read to the kids!

Just a few of our personal favorite Dr. Seuss titles are: Yertle the Turtle, Horton Hears a Who and Cat in the Hat.  You can’t go wrong with classics like these!


I talk a big game about reading to the kids and making sure you disconnect as much as possible, but the truth is, I’m a big advocate not only for reading and writing, but for learning all together.  I love that our kids have the option of supplementing their lessons with intuitive games online, interactive apps, as well as educational programming.  And since we’re talking about Dr. Seuss, the Cat in the Hat which airs on PBS Kids, is no exception.

I love how the show has an emphasis on science and exploring creativity.  Sally and Nick, no doubt, are fun role models for curiosity and exploration; and that Cat, well, he’s knows a lot about that!  And today, in honor of Dr. Seuss birthday PBS is celebrating wit a Cat in the Hat a thon on PBS Kids.  So, after you read your favorite books, be sure to check it out!

I’m so honored to be chosen as one of this year’s PBS Kids VIPs.  This group is a collection of parent bloggers and social media enthusiasts like me who are just as passionate about learning and quality children’s programming.  So, stay tuned for all the PBS Kids-related goodies.


I’ve got two fun Cat in the Hat prize packs from PBS Kids up for grabs!  It contains a Cat in the Hat Book based on the series, a dvd of episodes from the show and a $25 credit to the PBS Kid’s stores!  Just comment below or send me an email to tell me about YOU and YOUR kids’ favorite Dr. Seuss book.  Extra credit: share on the NKT page about how your kids celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday.


For those that have been wondering where I’ve been…I had a baby last month! I’ll spare you the “I was so sick song and dance,” but poor baby was/is a little sick. (Knock on wood) It’s nothing major for now, but it’s been enough to keep this momma down and out. I’m slowly but surely getting back into the groove of things. So, please bear with me as I swat out the cobwebs and get things up and running again.  It’s awesome to see you here! Thanks for hanging out.

So here’s baby boy #2’s debut on NKT: internets, meet Joshua Ellis! At just a month old, not surprisingly, he’s a fan of Dr. Seuss and books in general :)

Joshy Dr. Seuss

Halloween Episodes on PBS Kids are Spooky but Fun

With the excitement that Halloween brings with it, not surprisingly, kid programming is joining in on the ghoulish fun!  PBS Kids, an NKT fave, always does a great job on incorporating educational episodes while sharing seasonal shows, and Halloween is no different.

Last week, as part of PBS Kids’ Halloween-inspired programming, the animal exploration series, Wild Kratts, (think: Animal Planet for the grade school set) highlighted all kinds of creatures during Predator Week.  The Kratt brothers explored fierce predators such as great white sharks, wolves, cheetahs and raptors.  With Great Whites in the news so much recently, the episodes from Predator Week couldn’t be more timely.  Be sure to keep an eye out for these fun episodes.

On Dinosaur Train, the kids set off for an adventure at the Haunted Roundhouse and explore the spookiness of the “unknown.” Like many families do as part of an Autumn rite of passage, in the Big Pond Pumpkin Patch, the dinosaurs learn all about gourds, pumpkins and everything else that makes the pumpkin patch so fun.

On The Cat in the Hat Knows a lot About That! Nick, Sally and Cat go trick or treating and learn about some fruity non, candy treats.  They also meet a “scary” creature who teaches them a few new things, including how he eats bugs!

Everyone’s favorite inquisitive scientist in training, Sid The Science Kid, encounters his own scary adventures in the “Halloween Spooky Science Special.

We’re a fan of most of the shows on PBS Kids, whether they’re geared to the preschooler or not, so we always find these holiday-themed shows a great way to learn even more about how everyone celebrates these fun holidays, even the animals!  After screening these Halloween-themed episodes, I learned that my guy is totally mesmerized by The Wild Kratts, even though it’s targeted to the older crowd (ages 8 and up).  The episodes were a perfect primer for our recent trip to Disney’s Animal Kingdom; he even took away some of the lessons he learned from the show and applied them to our visit!

Check your local listings for air dates and times!

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On a related note, last week, PBS Kids launched 40 new games which are aimed to help children ages 2-8 build critical math skills. The games comprise PBS Kids’ largest offering of interactive math content for preschoolers to date. The games are centered around various PBS Kids media properties, ranging from Curious George to Sid the Science Kid.

My guy is a huge fan of Curious George’s Monkey Jump.  Jumping, counting and Curious George? Count him in!  These are the kind of games that will be sure to keep us busy when we start hibernating!

Partying for Dr. Seuss’ Birthday

Did someone say party?  Beyond reading the kid’s favorite Seuss books over and over, we partied in Dr. Seuss’ honor with a Cat in the Hat-themed party.

Complete with Cat in the Hat party hats, a stack of our favorite Seuss-penned books, cupcakes and balloons, the kid and a few pals previewed the latest The Cat in the Hat Knows a lot About That episodes.  The new episodes, which can be seen on PBS today as part of the 2-hr long Cat in the Hat Marathon, featured more of Nick, Sally and the Cat’s adventures.

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Dinosaur Train Introduces New Episode and Giveaway

It’s a chugging kind of day; I’ve got lots of cool train-related news today.

To start off, Buddy and crew are welcoming the new year with a new Dinosaur Train episode.  The Jim Henson Company property that follows a Buddy the dinosaur, along with his family and friends on their train adventures, is chugging along with a new episode called “The Good Mom;” “Diamond Anniversary.”

In the new episode, Mrs. Pteranodon meets fellow mom Millie Maiasaura, who hovers a bit over her kids. The moms share some mothering methods in a play date at the Big Pond.  And, Mr. and Mrs. Pteranodon decide to surprise each other with gifts on their anniversary.

The new episode can be viewed on PBSkids.com, so be sure to check it out if you missed it.

As fans of both trains and dinosaurs, Dinosaur Train, which airs on PBS, is one of our all around favorites.  We’ve been tracking Dinosaur Train’s adventures way before the very first episode even aired.  Dinosaur Train has been so well received, like many popular shows, licensed toys and products have followed suit.  I love Learning Curve’s Dinosaur Train toys and can’t wait to see what’s up next toy-wise.

But toys aren’t the only Dinosaur Train products worth checking out:  There’s a new line of pjs that are now available at Kohl’s, ideal for this frigid weather.  The Dinosaur Train Striped Footed Pajamas feature a dinosaur appliques and a striped pattern, and I’ve got one to give away.


Would you like to win a size 3t Dinosaur Train Striped Footed Pajamas?  Just tell me why you and your kid(s) like the show and comment below.

Want additional entries?

Tweet about this giveaway and be sure to @jenrab

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Please comment below for all entries.  This giveaway will end 1/25 at 11:59 p.m. and is available for U.S. residents.  All giveaway winners will be contacted via email, so please be sure to include a valid email address.