I remember as a kid how much I enjoyed getting letters in the mail. A package (usually from the grandparents) was an even bigger day. I think we adults tend to forget just how much our kids love the anticipation and checking the mailbox daily — probably because it’s typically filled with bills and junk mail for us. But for kids? The mailbox still has some magic to it.
I’ve written previously of two services that I’ve subscribed to for my oldest son, age 5. The first is the Magic School Bus Young Scientist Club Kit that arrives each month — this is one that my son enjoys sharing with the neighborhood kids. I typically make a big deal about it, setting up a table in my garage (or my neighbors’) with chairs for four or five kids. I now have kids asking me if the Magic School Bus Science Kit has arrived yet…. They know it’s coming!
The other is the Kiwi Crate — this is pure one-on-one time between me and my son. It’s a box that arrives with carefully selected components to make a number of crafts. He recognizes it immediately because everything comes in this green wood-grain box. It’s a couple hours of time together at the dining table, cutting, gluing, coloring, sticking, and a dozen or activities.
Well, I’ve found another monthly activity that I want to tell you about. I’ll go ahead and tell you now that it hasn’t quite grabbed my son’s attention like the others … and I’ll explain why in a moment. This new subscription activity kit is called Little Passports, and it’s perfect for kids who want to know more about the world and all its many cultures.
First, the basics — after you subscribe, your child will receive a package in the mail that contains an extremely colorful and eye-catching suitcase. Its surface is blank except for a sticker on the front, but that will change. It’s got a handle to carry and a nice latch on top to keep the lid closed. Inside you’ll find the really cool stuff.
This First Month Explorer Kit contains an introduction letter from Sam and Sofia. Sam and Sofia have found a magical scooter that lets them travel to different countries. The letter explains how each month they’ll jump to a new location and share some surprises with your child via a Monthly Adventure package that will be sent out. The Explorer Kit also contains a really cute Passport book where your child can enter their name and other info — but the Passport will really come in handy with future Monthly Adventure packages that will contain passport stamps to stick inside the passport. A luggage tag is provided, as well as a postcard of Sam and Sofia on their scooter and some additional stickers. An Adventure Activity sheet has a number of puzzles and information about the country where Sam and Sofia are currently located. Finally, a world map is provided so that your child can track Sam and Sofia’s trips.
Future Monthly Adventure packages will contain a similar makeup, with stickers for both the passport and the suitcase and luggage tags. Postcards and other information about the latest country Sam and Sofia are exploring will be sent, as well as other surprises. The U.K. kit, for example, comes with a great little double-decker bus toy. And the Japanese kit has a variety of special origami paper for your child to use.
Signing up is fairly straightforward — you’ll need to choose from one of four different subscription models available. You can choose to be billed monthly (cancel anytime) or select a three-, six-, or 12-month pre-paid plan. Each plan comes with the First Month Explorer Kit (suitcase and contents). You can click here to view the various countries that will be visited depending on the plan you select – scroll to the bottom.
All subscribers get access to the Boarding Zone, an online feature that offers additional activities for your child — perfect if your child is always looking forward to the next kit and those four weeks between deliveries just seem to creep creep creep along.
I’m very impressed with the Explorer Kit … but I mentioned earlier that I’m not yet ready to sign Decker up. This is definitely age-related. He’s shown no interest in the puzzle/activity sheet. He loves the stickers and the suitcase, but he doesn’t quite understand the passport and what it represents. The same goes for the world map — he understands that we’re on Earth and there are continents and oceans … but that’s about as far as his attention level goes right now. Rather than take a risk of turning him off from learning about other countries, I think I’m going to hold off on this one for maybe a year or more. At some point, I’m certain that he’ll be ready to sit down, look over the country information, and spend some time examining the map and asking a question or two. You may have a 5-year-old who is showing interest in other cultures, but right now mine only seems to be interested in Lego building and Spider-Man cartoons. The recommended age is 5 to 10, so he’s got some time.
That said, if you’ve got a child who is showing interest in other countries and cultures (and you’re like most families and cannot afford to give your child(ren) a real world tour) … you really can’t go wrong with this inexpensive subscription service. If your child likes to receive things in the mail, then Little Passports is sure to be a hit. (My mailman leaves it on the doorstep — it won’t fit in my mailbox!)