Saturday, January 17, 2015

Little Passports-December 2014 {Review}

Over the holiday season, I reintroduced our readers to Little Passports, a great company that is taking kids on global adventures. We have previously worked with them on their "World Edition" of their monthly subscription services. In December, for our Holiday Gift Guide, we featured another of their amazing subscriptions, the "USA Edition". With the help of Little Passports, my kids have visited many countries and now are learning and visiting the US States. To see our Gift Guide review, click here.
Little Passports, based in San Francisco, is a Mom-founded company that has found a way to engage kids in the world around them. Little Passports offers monthly travel adventures that include letters, souvenirs, activities, photos, and online games straight to your mailbox. These packages are filled with specific items to encourage their explorations. Check out some great clips and reviews of Little Passports here.
 Little Passports offers three adventures, "World Edition Explorer Kit",  "USA Edition", and "Early Explorers".  
Geared for ages 5-10, this exploration begins with Kit One, where you will receive an introduction to Sam and Sofia (Sam and Sofia are the two traveling characters within Little Passports), a suitcase filled with a world wall map, a travel passport, stickers, an activity sheet, and access to online games and activities with a boarding pass. Each month, a new country will be featured and you will receive a letter from Sam and Sofia, a souvenir, activity sheets, photos, stickers for your suitcase, passport, and map, and your boarding pass to online games. Here all of the places we traveled with Sam and Sofia--January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October, and November. To choose a subscription for the World Edition Explorer Kit, you have 3 options: 12 Month-$10.95/month ($131.40 +$25 shipping total), 6 Month-$13.95/month ($83.70 +$15 shipping total), or Monthly-$11.95/month + $3 shipping. Each subscription is auto renewed and can be cancelled at anytime.
Geared for ages 7-12, this exploration begins with Kit One, where you will receive an introduction to Sam and Sofia, a USA Field Guide, a USA Scratch Book, a map of the USA, a disposable camera, and a photo scavenger hunt project. Each month, two new states will be featured and you will receive stickers, postcards, pop out models, an activity packed State journal, and access to online activities. We will be reviewing each months as they come, so stay tuned. To choose a subscription for the US Edition, you have 3 options: 12 Month-$10.95/month ($131.40 +$25 shipping total), 6 Month-$13.95/month ($83.70 +$15 shipping total), or Monthly-$11.95/month + $3 shipping. Each subscription is auto renewed and can be cancelled at anytime.
Geared for ages 3-5, this exploration begins with Kit One, where you will receive an orange suitcase, world map, activity booklet, stickers, luggage tag, and wall decal. Each month a new world theme is explored with characters Max, Mia, and dog Toby, and you will receive an activity booklet, souvenirs, flashlight adventures, stickers, and a wall decal. Some themes may include: music, art, animals, food, oceans, landmarks, natural wonders, world coins, space, dinosaurs, and world discoveries. To choose a subscription for the Early Explorers, you have 3 options: 12 Month-$12.95/month ($155.40 + $36 shipping total), 6 Month-$14.95/month ($89.70 +$18 shipping total), and Monthly-$14.95/Month +$3 shipping. Each subscription is auto renewed and can be cancelled at anytime.
 Sara has always been our Little Passports contact, and she continually offers us great service, communication, and products. I feel that Sara really speaks volumes about what the company is all about and we appreciate her greatly. The introduction month to the USA Edition brought much joy to my kiddos and even more anticipation for our first package to arrive in the mail.
Our Little Passports package is here!
Clearly stating that our adventures with Sam and Sofia are starting, hooray!
Our first states will be South Dakota and Ohio.
 B was so excited to see what it would bring, because we travel to Ohio frequently, he wondered if it would be stuff he knows and has done.
Of course S had to get in on the adventure. Even though the age range for the USA Edition suggests 7-12 years, S, at 5, has major interest in anything big brother is a part of.
The first thing in our package was a set of postcards containing coupon codes, company announcements, and also a card featuring another company called Mabel's Labels (sounds fun).
The next thing we discovered was the State Journal. It is double sided and includes 32 total pages, 16 dedicated to one state and 16 dedicated to the other.
South Dakota was on the first side B discovered.
Inside we found a ton of items and activities that we could not wait to turn page after page. The first two pages include a picture of the state with some highlights and a letter from Sam and Sofia. 
Sam and Sophia talked about their adventures and discoveries. B was pretty impressed with all the things they were talking about and all of the things he recognized. B has heard of South Dakota and some of its highlights because his cousins recently took a trip out west and visited many of the places we would be reading about. S was thrilled to hear about Sam and Sofia's visit to the Land of Oz, the girl loves herself some Wizard of Oz.
Two pages dedicated to Mount Rushmore. B could tell me two of the presidents but enjoyed learning about all four of them and the amazing size of the sculpture.
Two pages dedicated to the Badlands. With the first page we found a story that S could help read from the pictures. Both kids thought it was weird that so many fossils could be found there. There was also an experiment to show how erosion works, pretty interesting.  
Next two pages were about The Mammoth Site and a find the hidden picture and also a dot to dot tee pee to represent the Native American tribes. The dot to dot was too much for S because it went from 1-112, lots of patience to create something really detailed.
The next two pages were a timeline of famous events starting in 1874 and going to 1962 and a code activity to learn a fun fact about Belle Fourche. I was impressed with the information about Belle Fourche, and had no clue that is called the Center of the Nation, I guess I can learn something too.
Then we found two pages that were about the "Corn Belt" and making a lantern and also about Custer State Park and the burros who reside there.
Finally S got to her Land of Oz, she sat and listened to the fill in the blank story that B did. She was jealous that Sam and Sofia got to walk on the Yellow Brick Road, I was a little jealous too.
The last two South Dakota pages were a recipe for Kuchen, (we have had something similar before) and an answer key to all the activities that we completed.
The center of the book gives us our information for online adventures too.  We found another Sam and Sofia letter, pictures, and an interesting recipe for something called Chislic.
The Ohio side of the state journal was just as cool
Again a highlight page and letter from Sam and Sofia. B was so excited to read about Cincinnati, because we have been there so many times. He also was impressed that Neil Armstrong was born in Ohio, because Neil Armstrong is a graduate of our favorite college team-Purdue!
The first two pages were Cincinnati historical attractions and a map of them. We will have to check some of them out on our next visit.
The two pages, one with a quick code activity about Cincinnati and the American Sign Museum, plus a page with information about Sugarcreek (known as Little Switzerland) and their huge Cuckoo Clock. Baby C loves cuckoo clocks, visiting here might be a dream come true for her.
Then two pages about Amish Country and learning how to draw a horse drawn buggy.
Another page with a timeline of historical events from 1803-1997 and a word search/fill in the blank activity for the seven presidents that were born in Ohio.
A page with a pumpkin craft to showcase Circleville, Ohio and it's famous pumpkin show and a page with information about the buckeye tree. S could do the counting activity from the buckeye tree.
Another experiment page about whistles because Ohio is the home of the American Whistle Corporation and a page about space exploration with some trivia.
The last two pages were a recipe for a popular breakfast in Cincinnati called Goetta, it uses oats and beef, and pork, sounds interesting. The other page was the answer key for all the activities.
Then we made it to the final pages for Ohio, the online adventure information. We found another letter from Sam and Sofia, touching on all of their favorite Ohio findings, along with pictures, and a recipe for pumpkin donuts-YUM!!
Now it was time to work on the US Field Guide. The US Edition includes this in the first Little Passports shipment and is fill of state highlights for all of our visits. Each state had it's own Field Guide travel sticker, which B had to put on the front of his guide.
Inside, on his first two state highlight pages, he filled in the state sticker, state animal, state seal, state bird, state flower, and state flag stickers in all the appropriate places.
 S sat by and watched him, she loved that Ohio's bird was a cardinal, just like Indiana and that the state flower was also her name.
He then worked on filling in his field notes about each state, including something he learned about the state. From Ohio, he said he would like to visit the Tyler Davidson Fountain and he learned about the Mammoth site in South Dakota. I love that he is learning facts and really getting in to what each state has to offer.
One of our favorite parts of the World Edition was the huge map, luckily it is also a part of the US Edition. The kids love getting the map out on the floor and checking it all out.
B was showing C where the states were, she was thoroughly enjoying just crawling around on brother and sister's stuff.  
There are also stickers to place with a sticker pin. Found them!
Hard at work exploring the states.
The last part of the US Edition was finding postcards and pop out models.
We got both an Ohio postcard, featuring a bridge in Cincinnati and a South Dakota postcard, featuring Mount Rushmore. There were also two pop out models, one for South Dakota (a cool mammoth) and one for Ohio (Union Terminal).
They were fairly easy to put together and B really liked seeing the 3D version of things he had just read about.

I can highly recommend both of the US or World Editions for older kids, and can only imagine their Early Explorer would be a hit too. I have much love and respect for  Little Passports, both as a company and what they offer my kids. My kids love getting their packages in the mail and really work together as they explore. I can't wait to see where we go next!
Want It? Buy It!
 Looking for something unique and educational? Little Passports offers three different experiences for all age levels. They are a high quality subscription service that really does things the right way. Visit Little Passports at all of their social media outlets--Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and their Blog.
Thanks to Sara and Little Passports for more traveling fun this month!

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