From carrots to camping, tugboats to timber, high-quality educational videos give kids the opportunity to explore unusual topics with real-life experts.
Carrot farmer Ron Wyss shares his livelihood in “The Carrot Highway” (Whisper Productions, $19.95), taking children around the world in a whimsical story to discover how carrots are planted, grown, harvested, packed, shipped, distributed, sold and eaten.
This engaging video covers more than beta carotene, broadening the topic to include a bit of history, geography, math and science.
With no age limit, the video is targeted to parents, educators, nursing homes or day-care centers. A Teacher’s Packet is available for $9.95, which includes a variety of educational activities for the classroom.
To order, call (800) 631-6236.
Grab a flashlight and join Ranger Ben and the Williams family as they explore the great outdoors in “Let’s Go Camping” (Vermont Story Works, $14.95).
Filmed in Stowe, Vt., this 45-minute video teaches kids, ages 2 to 9, how to choose the right camping gear, purify water from a stream, identify constellations in the nighttime sky, and make hiking safe for the entire family.
And Ranger Ben even demonstrates how to explore the make-believe camping wonders of your own family room.
To order, call (800) 206-8383.
Kids ages 4 to 12 can spend a day with the crew on board Tugboat Miriam in a new video, “How a Tugboat Works” (Think Media, $14.95).
They will discover that tugboats are small but powerful and must be ready to respond to a variety of jobs like pushing and pulling ships and barges out of the harbor, rescuing grounded ships, or putting out fires.
Young viewers get within an arm’s reach of the world’s largest passenger ship as the Miriam pulls the Queen Elizabeth 2 into dock. Historical footage reveals that tugboats today play as important a role in our harbors as they did 100 years ago.
To order, call (800) 655-1998.
“Really cool” is how my 4-year-old describes “Timberrr! From Logs to Lumber” (Bulldog Entertainment, $12.95), filmed on location at a real sawmill.
The 30-minute video explains the complete lumber process from harvesting trees to finished products, combining music, humor and special effects for a fascinating “field trip” for children ages 3 to 8.
Kids will love the mammoth machinery including the huge robotic “processors” that can cut, strip and stack trees into logs in a few quick strokes.
To order, call (800) 409-6225.
Video seal of approval:
The KIDS FIRST! seal of approval on high-quality videos represents a standard of excellence set by the Coalition for Quality Children’s Media. A video endorsed by the coalition contains no gratuitous violence or sexual behavior, no physical or verbal abuse, no racial, gender, cultural or religious bias and no condescension toward children.
For a free list of KIDS FIRST! approved videos, send a self-addressed, stamped envelope to: KIDS FIRST!, 535 Cordova Rd., Suite 456, Santa Fe, NM 87501. , DataTimes MEMO: The Family Track is a weekly column of notes and information for families. Send items to Lynn Gibson, Features Department, P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210-1615, or fax (509) 459-5098.