Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Doing & Learning
Smithsonian Everything You Need to Know Grades K-1

Smithsonian Everything You Need to Know Grades K-1

Spring 2015 Doing & Learning
Ages: 5 - 7 yrs.
Author: Ruth Strother
ISBN: 978-62686-310-1
Hardcover Price: $19.95

Flashcards have always been an engaging educational diversion from the standard textbook approach, presenting sleight-of-hand facts while challenging students studying alone or in one-on-one interaction that sometimes enhances the learning experience.

Well, here's a high-quality, heavy-duty package of 275 fact cards-probably the nicest box set of flash cards you've ever seen. Sorted by categories from Earth and outer space, to plants and animals, to history and health, the content comes from experts and curators of the Smithsonian Institution and is based on national curriculum for kindergarten and the first grade.

The concept is straightforward. Pick any category from the box and learn away. Each card bears at least one full-color illustration or photo on one side and a simple, relevant fact or two on the other side. So, why did the ancient Egyptians build pyramids? Why is Pluto now called a dwarf planet? What are the origins of "The Star-Spangled Banner"? What kind of toes do different animals have?

This gift-worthy set is filled with fascinating information delivered in a simple image-and-text format that's so non-competitive that they don't even ask a question like most flash cards do. They just present information in an engaging way. They're truly learning moments, in other words, because that's about how long each takes.

Don Oldenburg   ©2015 Parents' Choice
A former feature writer and consumer columnist at The Washington Post for 22 years, Don Oldenburg is the Director of Publications and Editor of the National Italian American Foundation, in Washington, D.C. He regularly reviews books for USA Today and is the coauthor of "The Washington DC-Baltimore Dog Lovers Companion" (Avalon Travel). The proud father of three sons, he lives with his journalist-author wife, Ann Oldenburg, in McLean, VA.

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