"Mom, can you get the little house down?" My boys were won over instantly with this dollhouse! Three story building, eight rooms, six people, two pets, and a whole collection of furniture... a world of play awaits with the Slot-Together Victorian Dollhouse from Usborne.
Ever since joining Usborne Books & More, I have been curious about the little slot-together kits - this dollhouse and a theater. I have always love little things, and I've loved constructing my own toys. But would my two boys? Would they destroy it? Would they get bored?
I decided to take the risk and invite my boys (3.5 and 5) to help me put together this house. They were so excited! All the pieces come on foam boards and just need to be popped out, so no extra tools required. The enclosed book gives step-by-step instructions for building first the house, then the people and furniture.
And my boys were enchanted for the whole two hours we spent constructing everything from start to finish! They were eager to help, followed directions as I handed them down, and were careful with the little foam pieces. That's a win in my book! And, once construction was completed, the boys loved moving the pieces around and opening and closing the front wall to see everything inside. ("We have to close it now, the house is sleeping!")
There is so much to love about this kit: it's a great project, the pieces are well-made and so beautifully detailed (though some pieces benefit from Elmer's Glue reinforcement), you can tell your own stories as you play, and you can learn fun tidbits of historical info from the accompanying book.
"Mom, how do you say 'frog' in Spanish?" I'm starting to get these questions on a regular basis from my almost-five year old. He is very curious - and I love that he is aware of different languages! So I have been quite eager to get my hands on Usborne's My First Thousand Words: Spanish.
And this book doesn't disappoint. It is comprised of 50 pages of pictures and words in Spanish! Each double spread focuses on a different theme: the tool shed, school, toy store, the countryside, etc. 15 of the double spreads show an illustration of the theme and are bordered by individual drawings of objects and their name in Spanish. The other 11 double spreads contain more individual pictures, like animals or sports.
What's great about this set-up is that the book has dual purposes: it introduces new words and is also a great look-and-find book! The illustrations are wonderfully detailed, which will make for hours of exploration and discovery.
But the book doesn't stop there: at the back, you'll find a comprehensive index of each word, how to pronounce it, and its English translation. The index is sorted by the words in Spanish, so it doesn't serve as an English/Spanish dictionary - but it is great for double-checking meanings and pronunciation! And if that's not enough, the book is internet linked, which means you can find it on the Usborne Quicklinks page for further pronunciation help and interesting facts about Spain.
It's that book you'll rely on as you introduce your kids to new languages!
Buy My First Thousand Words in Spanish here ($12.99, hardcover)
Check out all the books in the series here
"The best ice skaters can spin around on one foot up to 115 times without stopping" (p. 15). Also, at the annual La Tomatina festival in Spain, people throw around 1 million tomatoes at each other (p. 10). Oh, and one more thing: most Ancient Greek and Roman marble statues were originally painted (p. 25).
When I first opened The Usborne Big Picture Book: General Knowledge, I sat at my desk and pored through it for about half an hour. Every page is packed with interesting facts... I couldn't put it down! And there are so many tidbits of information, I am still learning something each time I pull it off the shelf. (Did you know a guy named Dave Kunst walked around the world in the 70s over the course of four years?)
One thing that makes this book so captivating is the way the information is presented. Each page is its own theme - Back in Time, On the Move, Animals, Natural Wonders, Record Breakers, etc. - and the facts are all presented with creative illustrations, so it's both a visual and written experience. Check out examples in the photos! You come for the pictures and stay for the fascinating info. :)
Incidentally, did you know that submarines extract oxygen from sea water, so the crew inside can breathe? (that's from page 9, "On the Move") Sorry, I can't help myself. Ok, so picture my excitement about all this stuff and translate it to kids! They will love exploring these pages and sharing their new finds with you. And what a great way to find topics they want to delve into deeper! This would make an incredible homeschool book... or really, an incredible book to have at the home of anyone who wants to learn something new.
It's that book that makes you more knowledgeable and more curious at the same time.
Oh, and by the way, Bangkok's name in full is Krungthepmahanakhon Amonrattanakosin Mahintharayutthaya Mahadilokphop Noppharatratchathaniburirom Udomratchaniwetmahasathan Amonphimanawatansathit Sakkathattiyawitsanukamprasit (p. 3).
One thing I love about this book is that it really is adaptable for kids of varying ages. My kiddos are toddlers, but there are already a bunch of activities within these pages I know they'll have fun with this summer. The activities are also well-suited to elementary school kids to do with families - but really, I can see middle school kids getting excited about so many of the ideas in The Outdoor Book. Heck, I would do them myself even if I didn't have kids!
And you're going to learn skills and interesting facts with each activity, which is even better. Talk about meaningful play! Ok, and one more thing: the book naturally will encourage interaction and collaboration, which is so important for kids. And adults. So many layers of goodness! Pick up a copy for you and your family... and get outside. :)
It's that book that will ignite a love for the outdoors wherever you are in life and in the world.
Buy The Usborne Outdoor Book here and get ready to play! (hardcover, $9.99)
Better yet - want a free copy? Schedule a book party with me! I'll send you a copy of The Outdoor Book when your party reaches $200 in sales - on top of all the rewards books you'll earn. :)
Hi there! I'm Christine - Usborne Books & More independent consultant, kids' book fan, English teacher, mom of two boys.