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 traveling frog! Sure, it’s a stuffed toy, and yes, it’s a frog, but it turns out it’s also much, much more. Let me go back to the beginning because as we all know that is a very good place to start.
As an elementary reading specialist, I was concerned that children would fall behind in their basic reading and writing skills and, of course, their knowledge of geographic literacy. Some of the third and fourth graders she knew couldn’t answer basic questions about the world, and their writing skills were alarming. I wanted to find a way that would not only improve these lacking skills but also fuel their desire to learn.
Out of this need, my friend and I created Polly the Travel Frog, an educational stuffed frog and website designed to get kids (and adults) excited about learning. Our goal was to create a global community of participants connecting and sharing their travel experiences, classroom activities, or fun family adventures for others to read and comment on.
Enter Polly, a cute little frog who wants to travel the world. Her personal goal is to meet new people and learn new things. Her friendly smile is contagious, and everyone who meets her wants to be involved.
Involve your students in the writing process by having them write and publish 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 it can be done in a computer lab setting. If you want your students to become better writers, they must practice daily. The children really love Polly and will ask to be involved every day.
Use Polly the Travel Frog as a fun way to document family outings and vacations. Take photos of Polly and write about your family adventures through the eyes of this curious little frog. Your kids will be begging you to help them write, and as the old saying goes, “practice makes perfect!”
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 return home, post your photos and stories on Polly’s website. Her grandchildren will be able to watch her adventures online and can leave comments for you. It’s fun!
The best part about Polly the Travel Frog is that kids love it! She’s a cute stuffed frog who does a lot more than sit on a shelf!