Friday, March 29, 2013

Adventureland: Journeying through the Jungle Cruise

Adventureland at Disneyland is my favorite themed land. Now that Aidyn has ventured through the Temple of the Forbidden Eye and earned his own Indiana Jones hat, I'm pretty sure it might be his favorite, too. Adventureland captures the exotic and lustrous locales of the world. The tramp steamers of the Jungle Cruise take guests along major rivers of the world, including the Nile and the Amazon. While floating down the blue-green waters and listening to the wacky Jungle Cruise skipper, guests can spy animals from the rainforest, like Bengal tigers and gorillas, and animals from the African savanna, like zebras and lions.

This week, we finished up our time in Adventureland, by learning about different animal biomes presented in the Jungle Cruise.


The Rainforest

We read The Umbrella by one of our favorite authors, Jan Brett. The Umbrella follows a young boy who explores the rainforest in search of its beautiful animals, but the animals have a different agenda.

Jan Brett is a talented author and artist and even has a website chock full of activities, coloring pages and more (link will direct you to her rainforest mural activity).

We also read Good Morning, Gorillas (Magic Tree House #26), in which Jack and Annie are transported to an African rainforest where they meet a family of gorillas.


 There are many more wonderful stories about the rainforest:

1. My Brother Needs a Boa by Anne Weston
2. The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry
3. Way Up High in a Tall Green Tree by Jan Peck
4. Looking for Jaguar and Other Rainforest Poems by Susan Katz

If you're in need of more rainforest books, visit

The African Savanna

We read Here Is the African Savanna by Madeline Dunphy. It has a This-is-the-House-that-Jack built style of writing but beautifully presents animal life in the African savanna. The colors were also a great contrast to the rainforest books.

We also flipped through his Childcraft: Friends in the Wild book and learned more about the geography and climate of both the African savanna and the rainforest.


After reading the rainforest picture books, he painted the rainforest on green construction paper (no pictures, sorry!). He also colored rainforest animals from Enchanted Learning. After we read about the savanna, he painted a savanna scene on beige construction paper (he said this was during the dry season) and colored savanna animals from Enchanted Learning.


In addition to his regular math work, he did some Rainforest Math at Enchanted Learning.


From his Childcraft: Friends in the Wild book, we read about the animals of the rainforest that are adapted to live there: the gliders (flying squirrels, flying dragons, paradise tree snakes), the climbers (sloths, jaguars, kinkajous), the swingers (chimpanzees, siamangs, orangatans), and the stickers (chameleons, tree frogs, and geckos).

We watched some videos on YouTube to see exactly how these animals move:

Just for Fun:

During car rides, he watched The Jungle Book and Tarzan and listened to "rainforest music" on Pandora during lessons.

Learning about these different biomes offers so many opportunities that we never do it all, which is probably why we've used this theme thrice since beginning homeschooling when Aidyn was three. I'm sure we'll visit the rainforest and savanna in our studies again!

Now that we've closed the book on Adventureland, we've headed to the primeval world of the dinosaurs!


  1. We have one Jan Brett book and my girls love it so I'll have to try to get a hold of The Umbrella. What age do you think is best to start reading the Magic Treehouse books - I've heard they are wonderful? Does Aidyn enjoy them?

  2. I started reading Magic Treehouse books to Aidyn when he was five, and he understood them well enough, especially if the theme were something he was interested in. What I love about them is how immersive they are-- each book introduces new terms in comprehensible ways. For your girls, I'd pick one that deals with a subject they are already interested in (you can read the MTH books out of order). Let me know how they like them if and when you read them! :)