As I studied elementary education in graduate school, finding toys with educational value is important to me. I earned my degree from a top ranked, rigorous program at Vanderbilt University Peabody College of Education. My kids have to live up to high academic expectations. I’m a mom of two kids under age four, and I care a lot that my children are well prepared for kindergarten. Because preschool is expensive, I’m homeschooling my kids for now. Homeschooling a preschooler requires me to keep up with the latest early childhood teaching strategies, to work with my child’s interests, and to learn how to engage my daughter. Props, such as animal figures, are helpful when I tell stories and talk about animals. Recently, I started researching toys to help teach my child about wildlife. I found animal figure company Safari Ltd.
who offered to send me a free figure to review.
Review of the Item
Reading about the figures, I learned that a sculptor hand paints each item. When I was in undergrad, I interned for over half a year as a sculptor’s apprentice, when I helped hand carve miniature replicas of monumental sculptures. Knowing the work that goes into sculpting, I appreciated the beauty of the the African Elephant I received. I was excited to use such an incredibly detailed item to use to teach my three year old daughter about wildlife.
My past homeschooling lessons about wildlife have involved high quality nature videos and books. The elephant figure gives my daughter something to use as a prop during read alouds. Holding a prop during reading can help early childhood learners with their literacy. When I read a book about the zoo, I let my daughter hold the elephant and I asked her to talk about the elephant in the story. Later, we watched a nature video about elephants and compared the elephants in the wild to the elephants in the story we read. Having a manipulative helped the lesson because my daughter could move the figure around and play make believe with it to explain her ideas. Even though my daughter carried the elephant all around the house and outside, the product never had the slightest scratch and was very durable during my daughter’s playtime.
Created with realistic features, the elephant had beautiful wrinkles and folds in its skin that made me remember live elephants I saw when I was a child. When I was a young child, I lived in Sumatra, Indonesia, and I traveled to many Asian countries. I saw live elephants in the wild. I will always remember my memory as a child, living in Asia, when I saw elephants walking the street. Obviously I feel that the elephant figure is an accurate replica. As a thank you to my dedicated readers, join me at Theresa’s Reviews and look out for the announcement of a giveaway on December 3, 2013.
I received a free item from the company to help inform my writing.