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Ivy Kids Monthly Subscription Box Review by Rebecca Ray

Taseea Lainas
Ivy Kids
152 79th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11209

Do you have preschool and primary age students? Do you want to provide a unit study literature unit that is low pressure and focused on activity and play rather than worksheets and academic skills? If so, then an Ivy Kids monthly subscription box might be the answer to what you’re looking for.

Each month, Ivy Kids’ team of certified early childhood educators selects a quality children’s picture book and designs at least ten literacy, math and science based activities for children from 3 to 8 to correlate with the book. They package the book and materials up, along with detailed instructions for each activity and send it in a nice green box to all of their subscribers. The price for this subscription box is $38 per month, and if you have an additional child needing materials, you can add on a sibling for $5 per month.

I received the Mouse Paint and the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom box to use with my four and five year old children. However, I also had an eight year old and a ten year old who were eager to try a few of the activities in each box. I found that each box is full of materials for fun, and that individual activities are placed in individual bags, along with their instructions, making it easy to sort out which materials belong to which activity. There’s also a key to the activities in the box placed on the inside of the box lid, and my little ones enjoyed that because they were able to pick out the activities they wanted to do from the pictures on the lid.

We started with the Mouse Paint kit. Upon opening it up, I found that there was a paperback copy of the book Mouse Paint, a bookmark with comprehension questions to be able to discuss the book with my children, a set of cardstock storyboard pieces for retelling the story and many other activities. For science, they had an All About Colors booklet along with color paddles to complete the activities in the All About Colors booklet, and an activity where your child would mix colors in Ziploc bags. For math, there were pattern strips and colored chips to use for patterns and a run away from the cat game. For artistic learning and fun, there was a paint mixing and painting mice cards activity, create your own suncatcher, and a model magic mouse making activity. Additional activities include a color paddle matching game, an I Spy board, and a hide the mice game.

Everything that your child needs to complete the activities is included in the kit, including crayons and pencils for activities that need them. This box is open-and-go easy. Each activity also has a page of instructions, including lesson aims, scaffolding questions and adaptations for older and younger students.

While the Mouse Paint kit had a definite focus on color mixing and math patterns, the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom kit was more oriented towards literacy and science concepts. In this box, there is also a book and a bookmark. There’s a magnetic palm tree sheet with magnetic letters that can be used for story retelling. There’s a make your own ABC puzzle, a make your own Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Tree, a handprint name tree activity, an animal ABC matching game, an ABC palm tree Bingo, a trace your name activity, and a tracing letters sheet on the English side of the activities. Math activities in this kit are restricted to a coconut game and a tracing numbers sheet. Science activities include an All About Palm Trees booklet, a coconut shell observation, and an experiment to determine whether or not a coconut shell can be used as a boat.

My preschool aged children attacked these kits with gusto. Unlike much of the other schoolwork I’ve shared with them, this became a fun thing that they asked for each day, and they’ve repeated many of the activities. Some of the games are games that they play daily and ask to play over and over again.

I felt that the ages on the kit might have been a bit off. While my four and five year old children enjoy everything in the kit, my eight year old only finds a few of each month’s items to be appealing to her. I believe firmly that the Junior Ivy questions and activities could be revised a little older than they are and still keep the classic play activity appeal of the kit. Those on the upper end of the age range, however, will probably need a few more academic elements added to make the kits into a full study.

Having said that, I found this to be a successful way to create a unit study. I’ve always wanted to be a fun Mom who created fun activities for her children, but I’ve often given up after an activity or two from sheer exhaustion over the amount of internet research, work and purchasing that goes into creating your own successful unit study. These boxes make my life with two preschool/kindergarten age children so much easier that after reviewing these boxes, I subscribed to the kit club with the sibling option so that I could use these for my younger two children for their primary language arts studies this year. I can use these to be the fun mom because it’s easy and because I know that the children are getting exposure to several different academic disciplines through play each month.

-Review by Rebecca Ray, The Old Schoolhouse® Magizine, LLC, October, 2015