Peel, Play and Learn USA Map Set Review

Peel, Play, and Learn USA Map Review

 

{disclaimer ~ Educents is a blog sponsor and provided the USA Map Wall Play Set for review}

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We were excited to get the USA Map Wall Play Set by Mona MELisa Designs for review! I was very excited about this and just knew it would be perfect as we review our states this year! Our set came rolled in a sturdy tube, rolled up smoothly.

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I decided to put it on our dry erase board but it can be put right on the wall we just already had the board mounted and this was the perfect spot in the school room!

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I got it set up in preparation for the homeschool year to begin and my 7 year old daughter spotted it and immediately became engaged. Yes, the dog likes it too.

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I told her I was going to add 3-4 more states on the perimeter for her to place each day.  She begged for more right away!

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My ten year old son took notice a few days later and got in on the action, although she was pretty territorial with her map.

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She shooed him away after kindly letting him place a couple of things and got back to work on her own.

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See a video here sharing Ladybug’s first impressions and a bit of my thoughts!  You can also see what a great homeschooler I am as I make an error in state labeling in the video!

 

Mom’s Final Thoughts…

My main concern was durability and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the small pieces to see if I felt they would really resist ripping and wrinkling. I am pleased to say that I am very impressed so far. They really do bend and twist as shown in the video on this page.

Here’s a bit about the material the map is made out of. As a mom I was concerned about these things. Now that I have seen it and felt it, I can say it’s true!

  • A fabric that is endlessly adhesive because it’s cleanable – all it needs is a little rubbing alcohol
  • A fabric that is durable – tearing and ripping is out of the question
  • A fabric that has maximum versatility – walls become a creative canvas
  • A fabric that is safe for every family – No BPA, lead or PVC

My goal in using this map for our homeschooling this year is to consistently review state locations, names, and capitals. We learned all of them last year and this map came at a perfect time for a fun way to provide hands-on review. I am thrilled!

I definitely recommend investing in this map if you are looking for something interactive like this. Initially I thought it was a  bit pricey but now that we have it I see it is totally different than other wall decal sets we have used in the past.

You can buy the USA Map Wall Play Set here on Educents.

See more Mona MELisa Designs play sets here!

 



Friends and Heroes Family Devotion Pack Review

Friends and Heroes Family Devotion Pack Review

{disclaimer ~ Friends and Heroes is a blog sponsor, affiliate links are used}

We have enjoyed Friends and Heroes for many years now. We were given DVD 1 and a Homeschool Unit Study to review and ended up buying the remaining DVDs on our own and have used them ever since! We recently reviewed their new Homeschool Bible Study here, and are excited to share the all new Family Devotion Pack with you!

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  • Devotions based on video adventures and Bible stories that children love.
  • Easy-to-use parent-led devotions created for families with children ages 5-12.
  • Dynamic, fun devotions designed to get the whole family involved.
  • All materials are printable and reusable (PDF files).
  • Loads of FREE online resources on the Friends and Heroes Children’s Website to supplement your devotional time.

 

 

The new Family Devotional Pack is based on Friends & Heroes Series 1 video episodes which we already owned personally. We got the Family Devotion Pack DVD which contains the materials in PDF form for this review and so far it is my favorite Friends and Heroes addition!

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I loaded the devotions {in PDF form, I use Dropbox and open in iBooks} onto my iPad to use digitally and printed the worksheets and Bible verse memory cards for Ladybug to use.

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    We haven’t used Friends and Heroes as our main Bible curriculum recently, it’s been a few years. I honestly wanted to try out this new set to see if it might be a good addition for her for the coming school year.
    We sat and watched the first episode together, and she was reminded how much she loves it. I chose to print the Extra! Extra! worksheet which led us on a Bible discovery all about fish. One of the featured Bible stories in episode 1 is based on The Miraculous Catch of Fish from Luke 5. The extension activity was really neat as it took us on a journey of looking things up in the Bible.

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    Below you can see her almost complete sheet. We answered questions together like…

How many fish were used to feed the 5000?

On what day did God create fish?

Which Old Testament character was swallowed by a big fish?

    and more! This was a really neat activity and prompted some great discussion.

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I am planning to continue to use the Family Devotion Pack with Ladybug. I know it is intended for families but my boys just don’t have the time to add something like this into their school schedule and my oldest is a bit too old.

I want her to go back through the video series, they are just SO good and teach so much church history as well as specific Bible stories. I like this Family Devotion Pack because of the discussion, simple extension printables and verse cards. It is just the simple plan I need with her to take her through Friends and Heroes again. She was really little when we used it as our main Bible curriculum.

Here’s the general layout I plan to follow…

  • Watch the episode together
  • Read the devotion together and discuss
  • Do one extension activity {I choose from the options in advance and have it printed}
  • Use the Bible Verse Memory cards

The Family Devotion Pack is designed for families doing devotions together and I definitely recommend it for that purpose. As you can see it is extremely flexible and can be adapted to use however best fits your family.



Maestro Classics CD Review

Maestro Classics Review

{disclaimer ~ Educents is a blog sponsor and provided Maestro Classics for review}

Educents is the trusted resource for every child’s education. Whether you’re looking for curricula and science experiments, or tips and ideas, we hope we can help you discover new ways to make learning fun! logo-highres1262

Click here to find innovative products and ideas created by a community of experts in education!

We were excited to get the entire Maestro Classics 12 CD set to review! Years ago we got 2 of the CDs and have loved them, so getting the other 10 was awesome!

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The 12 CD Package includes the following CDs each with their own 24-Page Activity Book

  • Peter & the Wolf
  • The Nutcracker
  • Merry Pranks of Master Till
  • Carnival of the Animals
  • The Tortoise and the Hare
  • The Story of Swan Lake
  • Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
  • My Name is Handel: The Story of Water Music
  • The Sorcerer’s Apprentice
  • Casey at the Bat
  • The Soldier’s Tale
  • Juanita la langosta Español

We have had them for a few months now and Ladybug has chosen her favorites. So far, she loves The Nutcracker, Carnival of the Animals, The Story of Swan Lake, The Tortoise and the Hare & Peter and the Wolf.

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Each CD opens up like this, and contains a little booklet and the CD.

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The booklets are quite thick and contain information and activities based on the CD. Below she is showing you one of the activities in the Peter and the Wolf booklet.

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Here’s a video sharing a bit more about the CDs and a peek inside!

 

We haven’t listened to our entire new collection yet, we look forward to having these to use next school year! Maestro Classics is a great way to bring classical music into our home!

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Special Discount!

Save an extra 10% off off Maestro Classics with promo code: 1P10

You can buy the full 12 CD set here on Educents

See individual CDs for purchase here!

Discount code expires 6/27/16

Educents Maestro Classics



Gotta Go! Gotta Go! ~ A Monarch Butterfly Unit Study with Ivy Kids Kits

 Gotta Go Gotta Go Ivy Kids Kit Review - A Fun Way to Explore the Monarch Butterfly

{disclaimer ~ Ivy Kids is a blog sponsor and sent us a kit for this review}

We continue to be in love with Ivy Kids Kits. These are by far the best monthly subscription kits I have seen.

Not familiar with Ivy Kids Kits?

Ivy Kits are a monthly educational subscription for children ages 3-8 developed by early childhood teachers with children of their own. You can tell these kits were developed by people who truly know young kids.  The activities are awesome. Not only can you subscribe to a monthly kit, you can also buy past kits.

Each Ivy Kit contains instructions with ways to modify games to best suit each individual child and provide adults with questions to structure a child’s learning. There are enough games and materials in each kit to engage and cognitively stimulate a child throughout the month and can be replayed for years to come.

We were sent  “Gotta Go! Gotta Go! for this review.  Here’s ALL that was included in this kit:

  • The book Gotta Go! Gotta Go! by Sam Swope
  • Read along Bookmark: Use to assist with reading comprehension.
  • My Little Caterpillar: Use the brightly colored pom-poms, clothespins, and pipe cleaners to make cute little caterpillars. 
  • Butterfly Magnets: Transform your caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly. Create colorful butterfly wings by dripping water onto a colored filter. Clip the wings to the caterpillar and add a magnet to make a butterfly magnet.
  • Butterfly Life Cycle Wheel: Create a life cycle wheel with the 4 stages of the butterfly’s life.
  • Clay Model of the Butterfly Life Cycle: Use the clay to make models of each of the 4 stages of the life cycle: egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, and adult.
  • Butterfly Handprint or Footprint: Create a beautiful keepsake and decoration for your home with a butterfly made from your child’s handprints or footprints on a canvas board. 
  • My Monarch Butterfly: Learn interesting facts about monarch butterflies and examine a model to learn more about these beautiful insects. Use the model to help you draw all the parts of a monarch butterfly.
  • Mexi-Go! Board Game: Get your butterfly to Mexico for hibernation and then back home again to lay eggs as fast as you can.
  • Butterfly Symmetry: Use the pom-poms to make butterflies with symmetrical wings.
  • Hanging Butterfly: Use markers, pom-poms, and/or paint to decorate a 3-dimensional butterfly.  
  • My Butterfly Garden: Plant easy-to-grow wildflowers in your decorated planter. When the wildflowers bloom, they will attract beautiful butterflies.  
  • Save the Monarch Butterflies – Plant Milkweed: This month, Ivy Kids has made a donation to the Save Our Monarchs foundation to help preserve this beautiful butterfly. Save Our Monarchs has provided milkweed seeds for planting. Planting milkweed seeds outdoors can help increase the monarch butterfly population.
  • Caterpillar Patterns: Use the colored pom-poms to continue the pattern on the caterpillar’s body. 
  • Rhyming Wings – Matching Game:  Players take turns flipping over two butterfly wing cards. A pair is a match if the words on the two wings rhyme.

Activities From Our Box…

I showed her the book first and she immediately curled up to read it herself. We barely got the box open and she was snuggled up in the beanbag reading. Below she was reading it aloud to me.

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We began by planting wildflower seeds, which she completely LOVED!

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Our seeds grew quickly!  We don’t have flowers yet but they sprouted already and are growing!

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Mexi-Go was a fun and simple game included in the kit. She learned all about how the Monarch Butterfly migrates to Mexico and this fun game was a reinforcement of that!

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She loved creating the Life Cycle Wheel as we learned more about this through the awesome sheet that comes with the kit. You can see it on the table by her.

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I love her little clay model of the butterfly life cycle!

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She loves ANYthing artistic so drawing and labeling her on Monarch Butterfly was a big hit. She used the guide that came with the kit as well as the realistic butterfly {see it sitting on the table beside her}.

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Her completed butterfly!

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One of the best things about these kits is the organization. The clear instructions allowed me to leave activities for my mom to do with her while she was babysitting one day! 

The Butterfly Foot Print Craft looks like it was loads of fun and I love the finished product but am secretly glad my mom handled the mess of this one!!

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They also did the Butterfly Magnet craft together and it turned out beautifully and hangs on my fridge now!

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Her enthusiasm for these activities is through the roof, she loves her “box time” and begs me to do something from the box all the time! You can see ALL of the activities included in the box here!

We also loved our A House for Hermit Crab kit, and our Penguin & Pinecone Kit!

A House for Hermit Crab Unit Study with Ivy Kids Kit  Penguin-and-Pinecone-Unit-Study-with

 

20% off your first kit for NEW Subscribers to the monthly subscription kits!

Use code: IVY20

A huge thanks to Ivy Kids for sending us these kits to review. If you are looking for a simple way to do unit studies with your young child, I highly recommend Ivy Kids Kits!

When you subscribe to Ivy Kids, each month you will receive a very well organized kit containing a book and ten or more activities based upon the story. Everything you need to learn and play is included in your kit. I mean EVERYthing. These kits are incredible!



Evan-Moor Daily Summer Activities Book Review

Evan-Moor Daily Summer Activities

{disclaimer ~ Educents is a blog sponsor and provided Evan-Moor books for review}

Educents is the trusted resource for every child’s education. Whether you’re looking for curricula and science experiments, or tips and ideas, we hope we can help you discover new ways to make learning fun! logo-highres126

Click here to find innovative products and ideas created by a community of experts in education!

For years we have done a Summer Challenge with our kids as a way to keep them busy and help them have a chance to earn some extra money. As the years have passed, making the Summer Challenge simple has become more and more important. I found a way to simplify extensively this year thanks to our latest review item ~ Evan-Moor Daily Summer Activities Workbooks! We got the 4th into 5th book for our son and the 1st into 2nd book for our daughter.

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Once we got the books, I discussed it with my husband and together we decided how much we wanted to give our younger two children the potential to earn. We then divided that by the number of units in the workbook and taped money inside of the book! It’s extremely motivating to see your money staring at you!

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Our younger kids don’t get an allowance {mostly because we are not attentive enough to remember- we’ve tried}, so this is their main income earning opportunity from us! Here’s a video sharing more about the book and the system we are using!

The kids have already begun since they have each finished a few subjects for their current year. In their free time we allow them to work on these workbooks! So far the skills have been right on target for each of them, reviewing things I definitely want reviewed!

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Final Thoughts…

I definitely recommend the Evan-Moor Daily Summer Activities workbooks if you are looking for a simple way to keep your kids on track this summer with academic skills. Evan-Moor is one of my favorite publishers and these workbooks are visually appealing and cover a wide variety of skills. You can buy the 1st-2nd grade workbook here, or the 4th-5th workbook hereSee all Evan-Moor products on Educents here!