Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Little Passports: USA Edition {Review}

 
Over the last few years, MBP has partnered with many companies, but one of absolute favorites, is by far, Little Passports. Every product we have received from this company is pretty phenomenal and the customer service is top notch. I love the friendship we have formed with them and the trust we have built. I think it speaks volumes about companies that not only continue to grow and flourish, but the ones that take the time to know their customers.
 
Little Passports is a Global Adventure in the form of a monthly subscription service. My kids have had the chance to travel along with Little Passports in both the USA and World, using their amazing products and I could not be more thankful.
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".  
 
In the past we have featured a year long partnership with Little Passports, focusing on their "World Edition" Monthly Subscription Services. This was a wonderful introduction to the company and all they have to offer. To learn more, read below:
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-$11.95/month ($143.40 +$30 shipping total), 6 Month-$13.95/month ($83.70 +$18 shipping total), or Monthly-$12.95/month + $3 shipping. Each subscription is auto renewed and can be cancelled at anytime.
 
More recently we have featured the Little Passports "USA Edition" of their Monthly Subscription Services. My kids have fallen in love with learning all about the USA in just the few months we have worked with this edition. To learn more, read below:
ABOUT THE USA EDITION
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. Here are the places we have traveled with Sam and Sofia--December and January. To choose a subscription for the USA Edition, you have 3 options: 12 Month-$11.95/month ($143.40 +$30 shipping total), 6 Month-$13.95/month ($83.70 +$18 shipping total), or Monthly-$12.95/month + $3 shipping. Each subscription is auto renewed and can be cancelled at anytime.

One of the newest products geared for the younger crowd. I am hoping to someday soon sample this edition as well, with my youngest C. To learn more, read below:


ABOUT THE EARLY EXPLORERS
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-$13.95/month ($167.40 + $36 shipping total), 6 Month-$15.95/month ($95.70 +$18 shipping total), and Monthly-$15.95/Month +$3 shipping. Each subscription is auto renewed and can be cancelled at anytime.
 
Like I mentioned above, Little Passports knows their customers. We have worked with Sara from the very beginning and we always comment on how we feel we know each other, even though we have never met. She is a huge asset to Little Passports and a great friend to MBP.
 
My kids love getting their Little Passports package in the mail and this month was no different. It is always absolute begging until it finally gets opened.
 
Our Little Passports package is here!
New York and Texas, here we come!
Usually we wait until big brother B is home, but sometimes it is fun to have some special Little Passport time all on your own.
Carefully opening the envelope
The USA Edition is geared for 7-12 year olds, but my 5 year old isn't scared to jump right in and explore along with her brother or even alone.
 
The first thing we came across where two postcards
 
 Just like if we had gone a real trip to these places, we could send these out.
 
The next thing we discovered was the state journal. This is a two sided booklet (one state per side), 32 pages, with 16 pages dedicated to each state.
Our first side was Texas. S is all about cowboys, cowgirls, and horses, so she could not wait to learn all about Texas. She has never been and obviously only assumes the cowboy lifestyle will be majorly discussed.
 
Inside we first found a colorful map of the state of Texas, along with a legend to help us identify the state capital, cities, and interstates. We also had a letter from Sam and Sofia telling us all about their trip to Texas.
 Sam and Sofia are always very detailed and excited about their adventures and help build interest in specific places and fun facts. This letter they spoke of going to a rodeo, roping cattle, making camp bread, and visiting the Space Center.

There are many activity pages to complete, all with a theme of Texas life. S loved this page filled with cows, not only did she practice her counting skills, she learned that Texas is the 2nd largest state in the USA.
 She also got to do a maze and learned about the University of Texas Longhorns.
I was insanely impressed with this page. There were some very clear but challenging directions on how to draw your own steer, I think she did a pretty fab job!
There was a page with a Bluebonnet Popcorn Craft, a page on Bats, and two pages dedicated to the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center with facts about NASA and a short quiz on Texas cities.
 S was also a big fan of the page that had a cowgirl at the rodeo. She had to search and find hidden items that the cowgirl needed-rope, bandanna, horseshoe, bolo tie, etc.
 She also gave a really good effort on the Fun Texas Places word search.
 There were two pages of Texas history and famous events on a timeline, along with a fill in the blank for us to create our own timeline in relation to Texas history. There was page with a recipe for camp bread, which sounds tasty and easy to make. The next to last page contains an answer key for all of the Texas activities. The final page, which is a shared center page, has additional adventures with Little Passports Online.
The online activities include another Sam and Sofia letter that discussed Dust Storms and Chili Cook-offs. There were also photos of Sam and Sofia's favorite places in Texas, including quesadillas the City of Austin, and Cadillac Ranch. There was also a chili starter recipe that looked pretty tasty.
 
The second side was New York and B was ready to explore this state.
It again starts with a colorful map and letter from Sam and Sofia.
B enjoyed reading about New York and hearing that Sam and Sofia got to try New York pizza. He loves pizza so he was jealous. He also got to hear about New York being called the "Big Apple". He loves reading all about their adventures and it is so neat to see him excited to flip the pages and learn more.
 
The next two pages were a street map in Brooklyn to discover the state insect. It was a ladybug! He also got to see a bit about taxis and the subway.
 
 There were more activities and learning opportunities throughout the rest of the New York section. These included a dot to dot of the state animal, instructions on how to make a paper boat, facts about Niagara Falls, facts about Central Park and space to do leaf rubbings, facts about the Syracuse Library, and a really cool page about static electricity with three experiments.

B really seems to enjoy the timeline and famous events pages. He took quite a bit of time reading up on many important things from the past. He also read about the Brooklyn Bridge and found hidden letters in the 2 photos.
Then we found two pages of photos around New York, the cannoli looked very good, and a page to add our own photos of similar items. The final pages included a recipe for New York style pizza, which is now on our list to make, the answer keys, and the link to more online activities (B liked seeing the photo of Yankee Stadium).

The next part of our Little Passports Adventure is using the US Field Guide and filling it in with fact stickers and information we learned.

Each state has stickers for the state, state flag, state animal, state seal, state bird, and state flower, along with a fun sticker to mark on the front of your Field Guide.
 
 They each got a chance to fill in the guide, S chose Texas, B chose New York.
 
We then discussed facts and information to fill out the guide. B did the writing but they both listened and responded to the questions.

The most popular Little Passports activity at our house is the big map. The girls had already gotten it out and spread on the floor to get looking for New York and Texas. We also had to locate Hawaii, since I had recently come back from vacation there.
 All ready to find our states!
S found Texas right away, she also mentioned how large it was.
 B marked New York with his green map pin too.
 
 
 The last part of our envelope from Little Passports is a build it activity. They are simple, pop out, 3D models.
 
The Texas pop out was The Alamo
 
The New York pop out was a Taxi Cab
 
 They are fairly simple to put together, no cutting involved, with decent instructions to create some pretty cool "live" versions of things they had just read about.

 I would recommend Little Passports over and over again. It makes a great gift that is educational while being extremely fun. My kids look forward to getting the white envelope in the mailbox and know they have a guaranteed way to spend time together learning and exploring new things.


 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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