Saturday, August 16, 2014

Stimulating Our Brains with BrainFood Learning DVD's {A Back to School Review}

The girls really love getting out into nature, exploring and observing. As all children are, they are curious and have a thirst for knowledge that needs to be filled. That is why I love the name of this next company in my Back to School/5 Year Blogiversary Celebration: "BrainFood." What exactly makes something food for the brain? Well, the answer can be found on the BrainFood Learning website. Brainfood is "stimulating and interesting content that educates as well as entertains." As the children are being entertained, they are being educated and helping to quench their thirst for knowledge. 

The "Fascinating World of . . ." video series came about because the creators were unable to find resources for their children that were educational as well as stimulating  and interesting. Bryce Mooney Ph. D. and Jennifer Mooney M. Ed created captivating videos focusing on Insects, Mammals and Birds. Last year I was fortunate to be able to review The Fascinating World of Insects with the Schoolhouse Review Crew. For this celebration, BrainFood Learning agreed to send me the other 2 DVD's to review. Fascinating World of Mammals and Fascinating World of Birds.

These DVD's are chock full of interesting facts about animals that are explained to us while we view images, pictures, and live-action videos of each animal. From the menu, the viewer has the option to "Play All" or click on the "Mammals" or "Birds" tab (depending on which DVD you are watching) to be directed to the specified menu.

If you click on the "Mammals" (or "Birds") selection, you can choose which animal you want to focus on. We learned, from watching the Insect DVD last year, that if you "Play All" from the menu you will have an introduction of about 3 minutes with an overview before it moves into each segment. We have found it makes the DVD flow better when choosing this option, than it does when choosing to watch each segment individually. So, I allowed the children to watch them all the way through.

Here, let me share which animals are on each DVD.

Fascinating World of Mammals (Approximate Running Time 52 minutes):

  • Giraffe
  • Moose
  • Lion
  • Dolphin
  • Elephant
  • Beaver 
  • Chimpanzee
  • Bat
  • Kangaroo 
  • Bear
Fascinating World of Birds (Approximate Running Time 44 minutes):
  • Ostrich
  • Penguin
  • Canada Goose
  • Eagle 
  • Hummingbird
  • Woodpecker
  • Macaw
  • Pelican
  • American Robin
  • Owl 
Each segment, ranging in length from 2 1/2 to 4 minutes, focuses on one animal and introduces a new vocabulary word. The viewer is able to watch the animals in their natural habitat and in wonderful detail. These segments each start off by naming the animal (both written on the screen and announced by the narrator) along with a picture that stays on the screen for several seconds. Then it alternates between videos and still images of the animal that you get to watch while the narrator discusses some intriguing facts about the selected animal. The viewer will learn such details as physical characteristics (height, weight, and how to distinguish between male and female), social characteristics (solitary or living in community, dominance rituals, etc), life span, habitats, and other fun bits of trivia.

Occasionally, there are images where specifics are labeled and highlighted (for example, the bat segment on the Mammals DVD includes a picture of the bat where the patagium is highlighted while the narrator discusses it).

The section then concludes with a focus on the vocabulary word that was mentioned in context during the segment. The word is shown on the screen while a young narrator explains the word.

When you are finished viewing all of the animals you have the option to choose between different reviews (5 for the Mammal DVD, 4 for the Bird DVD) or you can play them all.

These reviews increase in difficulty as you go through them and range in length from 1 1/2 to 4 minutes. Like the Insect DVD, the Mammals DVD includes a "Flash Card" review, though it is absent in the Bird DVD.

In the Flash Card Review, the child narrator names each mammal while a photograph of the animal is on the screen. This is in preparation for the next review, which is why it was a bit confusing to have it missing from the Bird DVD.

The next review is called "Review Your Mammals" or "Review Your Birds." In the review of the mammals, the viewer is given multiple choice selections, however, in the bird review the narrator asks if we remember the name of the animal without any helps.

Both DVDs then move on to the "Features of the..." review. This is a review of the different features of birds and mammals that were first mentioned in the introduction and gone into more detail in the individual segments. We learn what makes a mammal a mammal and what makes a bird a bird.

The next review is "Review Mammal Facts" or "Review Bird Facts."  The adult narrator reads the questions on the screen and gives the multiple choice answers, visually and verbally. The child is given several seconds to answer the question before the wrong answers are taken away and the narrator announces the answer along with showing a picture of the correct animal. These questions are taken from the information that is mentioned in the segments.

The last review on each DVD is: Review the Big Words -This review section is done in the same format as the previous review, except we are reviewing the vocabulary that was given in context, and highlighted at the end of each segment. I have to tell you, mommy learned some new vocabulary through these DVDs. There were also words I had heard before and not really understood what they were. Here are some of the new words that were added to their vocabularies: ruminant, echolocation, biped, zygodactyl, gizzard, and plumage

These videos captured their attention right away, I mean the first time they watched them they were riveted to the screen. As I was making lunch in the kitchen, I could hear them calling out answers to the review questions. The individual segments are short enough to keep the attention of the youngest viewers, but the details and vocabulary are great for teaching older children. The age range for these DVD's is about 3-11 years old, though younger children and slightly older children will also enjoy and benefit from them.  And most importantly, I know that are well received because of the words that issued forth from my daughter's mouth this morning as we finished rewatching the DVD's so I could write my review. What are those words, you wonder? "Can we watch it again?"

Each DVD in the Fascinating World of . . . series can be purchased for $14.99.

 You can more about these DVD's at their site. And you can find lesson plans for each of the DVD's at their curriculum tab.

You can also find BrainFood Learning on FacebookTwitter, and their blog.

The generous folks over at BrainFood Learning have given me permission to give away both of the DVD's I have reviewed (Mammals and Birds). I also have an extra copy of The Fascinating World of Insects that I am going to include in the Grand Prize Giveaway (worth over $300) that begins August 17th, giving the winner the complete set!

Don't miss out on the Grand Prize Giveaway!
Click here to enter the giveaway.

How would you like some extra entries into this giveaway before it even starts? 
Head on over to their blog and tell me something you learned. Leave the answer here in the comments with your email and when the giveaway is live I will email you the secret code to place in the Rafflecopter for a bonus 10 points. 

Don't miss out on the Grand Prize Giveaway!
Click here to enter the giveaway.


  1. I'll have to check out their website! I love educational movies! ~Carla

  2. What a great DVD for kids who love animals.

  3. Wow...looks really great DVD for educationing the children. Looks detail too...

  4. I am a former Special Education Teacher, so I am definitely all about tools that engage children to help them learn! Great review, thanks for sharing!

    Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly

  5. Looks like some major fun and learning was done ! It's good to see that there are so many ways to get education out there.

  6. My kids would love both DVD's. My daughter especially, who loves to learn interesting facts about animals. As homeschoolers, I always keep my eyes peeled for great educational tools like this.

  7. These look like super DVD for children. Them seem to be colorful and engaging.

    allibrary (at) aol (dot) com

  8. I really could use these items in my homeschool. We study various animals throughout the school year and these play right into that niche for me.

  9. Very appropriate learning for kids. I love the way they divide the animals into groups

  10. I love the images used on the DVD's - they are so clear. I appreciate that the DVD's teach vocabulary and have a built-in review feature. We love watching educational DVD's and my daughter is very interested in animals right now. I would love to win this set!


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