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When is a Frog Toy Not Just a Toy?

When is a frog toy, not just a frog toy for kids? When it’s Polly the Travel Frog! True, she’s a stuffed toy, and yes, she’s a frog, but she also happens to be much, much more. Let me start back at the beginning, because as we all know, it’s a very good place to start.

As an elementary reading specialist, I was concerned about children lagging behind in their basic reading and writing skills, and of course their knowledge of geographic literacy. Some of third and fourth grade students I knew were unable to answer basic questions about the world, and their writing skills were alarming. I wanted to find a way that would not only enhance these deficit skills but also motivate their desire to learn.

Out of this need, my friend and I created Polly the Travel Frog, an educational, plush frog and website designed to get kids (and adults) excited about learning. Our goal was to build a global community of participants who would communicate and share their travel experiences, classroom activities, or fun family adventures for others to read and comment about.

Enter Polly-a friendly little frog that wants to travel the world. Her personal goal is to meet new people and learn new things. Her friendly smile is contagious, and everyone that meets her wants to get involved.

Teachers:
Get your students involved in the writing process by having them write and post stories about Polly. They can also read stories written by others and leave comments for them. This activity can easily be set up as a literacy center if you have computers in your classroom, or done in the computer lab setting. If you want your students to become better writers, they need to practice on a daily basis. Kids really love Polly and will ask daily to participate.

Parents:
Use Polly the Travel Frog as a fun way to document family outings and vacations. Take pictures of Polly and write about your family adventures through the eyes of this curious little frog. Your children will beg for you to help them write, and as the old saying goes, “practice makes perfect!”

Grandparents:
Do you want to encourage your grandchildren to learn about the world? You can take Polly with you on your next vacation, and when you come home, post your pictures and stories on Polly’s website. Your grandchildren will be able to view your adventures online and can leave comments for you. It’s fun!

The best part of Polly the Travel Frog is that kids love her! She’s a cute stuffed frog toy, that does so much more than sit on a shelf!

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