Although I have a very small budget for my three youngest children to participate in extracurricular activities and purchase all the latest gadgets and learning materials, I still make a concerted effort to incorporate a wide variety of experiences into their daily lives. We enjoy watching Animal Planet together and learning little-known facts about wildlife and we spend a lot of time watching PBS, reading books, researching topics on the Internet and anything else I can think of.
I always look for cost-effective and interesting ways to keep this going. My son receives Lego and Boy Scout magazines in the mail as well as a National Geographic (I think that’s the one) magazine about animals. My youngest daughter, 4, gets National Geographic’s little kids Discovery books that feature a different animal each month along with hand/eye coordination activities, information/fact cards about other animals and learning games. One of the things I really enjoy with the children is the Little Passports packet that my middle daughter Amareah receives.
When Amareah was about 4 years old (she’s 7 now) she showed interest in other countries and cultures. It started with International Day at head start when they learned about China. It was something about the Chinese culture that stuck with her. About a year later when we went to a Disney on Ice show Mickey and Minnie skated out and perched under a cherry blossom tree with their kimonos on while Minnie twirled a parasol, and Amareah pointed and said to me, “That’s from China.”
That’s why when I learned about Little Passports, I just had to order it for her. It’s a global adventure for kids that includes monthly packages containing stickers, letters, souvenirs, photos and much more. The first package came with a travel suitcase, an introductory letter from Sam and Sofia, a world map, travel passport, stickers, activity sheet and access to online games via the boarding passes (which, by the way, I keep forgetting about).
I’ve put Amareah’s map on the wall in her room and every time she receives a package we take the enclosed sticker push pin and place it on the map. Then we review the other places she’s “visited.” I’d also like to be able to add real push pins for states she’s actually travelled to.
Her most recent package was about Egypt and I think Amareah had the most fun with it. There was a clay pyramid that contained a little pharaoh, which had to be excavated using little tools. Before they began chipping away at it I read the letter to Amareah and her sister explaining different details as I read.
They were excited to begin:
It took the girls at least 20 minutes to see the little metal piece peeking through.
More than an hour later they were finally making progress. They were so tired from chipping away at it that they were laying their heads on their arms. I tried to get them to take a break, but they refused and continued with their mission from their prone positions!
They got this far and couldn’t get the piece out so the excavation leader (i.e., me – super mom!) came to the rescue.
One of the things I liked – and didn’t like – about this project was the amount of dust. I was sitting nearby and I could feel the dust going up my nose and covering my skin. The girls were so dusty that it looked like they had actually been in the dessert. I explained to them that what they did was very similar to what actually happens when archeologists are exploring ruins, etc.
The excavation team:
I am very pleased with Amareah’s monthly packages and the information she is learning about different countries and cultures. It’s also good that her siblings – and myself! – benefit from it as well. Do you have something you do to open up the world to your kids? Or something that explores their interests? Please tell me about it in the comments.
Disclosure: This IS NOT a paid post or a sponsored review. I purchased a Little Passports’ subscription for my daughter and thought you’d like to read about it. You can review my complete disclosure policy.