As an educator and a parent, I’m extremely particular when it comes to selecting materials for teaching my children. If you have been following and subscribed to my blog, you’d know that I’m very much into home-teaching my children and making learning as fun as possible. When I was approached to review Toddibox and host a giveaway, I was quite excited as that meant that I could relax and just work on the activities in the box provided.
The Toddibox team comprises of a group of trained educators who believe that the joy of learning should bring on a smile to every child’s face and they have put together a box of multi-disciplinary activities which strive to make learning enjoyable while parent-child bonding take place.
Each activity in the box is packed neatly into separate ziploc bags which is a major plus point as you can easily select a couple of packs to do with your child each night after you get home from work or even bring out 2-3 packs to entertain your child on the go. Working on one of these activities while waiting for food at the restaurant for instance, is definitely more educational than simply passing the iPhone or iPad to your child.
The box is targeted at children ages 3-6 and every box will include a storybook and for the December box, I received a story about Christmas which I felt was very appropriate:
A sweet little story, but I was disappointed that the book wasn’t utilised in any of the activities in the box. I felt that it was a waste as the team could have selected a story which would allow children to explore other disciplines with the story as a springboard since it is a box which takes a multi-disciplinary approach in the design of the activities in the box. I love the literature-based learning method and have used this method in our reading of many children’s classics – I find that it enhances the learning and absorption of information and concepts.
Apart from the storybook, each box includes a Tempo and Beat component which aims to get the children to move their bodies as parent and child sing, clap and dance to the action songs that the Toddibox team has put together:
My daughter didn’t really find it very fun. Perhaps when this activity is conducted with more children around it might be more interesting.
Another component present in each box is Thinking Tots. This segment focuses on literacy and numeracy skills and there are a total of FOUR activities for the December box.
Thinking Tots Activity #1
My girl enjoyed this activity and I found this activity to be the most interesting and most visually appealing of all! We already have our own clothespin wreath advent calendar and we’re almost done with our fun advent activities for kids so we left the circles here blank. I will however be re-using these circles for other counting activities in future.
We arranged the numbers in sequence:
When we were about to peg the numbers which she had placed in order, she messed up the sequence so we re-did the sequencing, this time with a twist – I set up a string of numbers with mussing numbers for her to fill in:
Then she started pegging, which is great for fine motor skills. Again, we did this with a twist by pegging the numbers backwards -
It turned out very pretty indeed with the colourful ‘baubles’ and it added to the festive mood!
However the tinsel provided wasn’t long enough and I had to keep shifting the numbers she had pegged just to make space. In the end, it still wasn’t long enough despite overlapping the circles and I had to peg the circles to each other at one of the ends (and one of the circles was not cut properly as you can see):
Thinking Tots Activity #2
I found this activity to require too much cutting on our part before the activity could be carried out.
For the more advanced kids, they can simple write the number and words on the laminated sheet with the dry erase marker provided.
Otherwise, you can use the numbers and words which you have cut out earlier.
We were quite tired out by the end of the cutting to fully find fun in this activity. In the end, we only worked on the socks and stars before she wanted to move on to another activity.
Thinking Tots Activity #3
We were glad we didn’t need to do any cutting for this activity. We started by matching the words to the numerals:
Then we proceeded to match the number of trees to the correct numerals:
Then we played memory game with the cards:
Overall, we did this activity a couple of times with my focus more on word recognition since she has no problems with number recognition or 1-1 correspondence. My only grouse about this activity is the sharp corners of the cards as they are laminated. When I make learning aids, all sharp corners are trimmed to avoid accidents and we know how children and accidents somehow have an affinity for each other. It’d be good if the corners are trimmed in future.
Thinking Tots Activity #4
Okay, as you can see, more cutting on our part. It’d be better if things in the packages come already cut so parent and child can get to work immediately on the activity instead of the parent opening up the package to realise that (s)he has to prepare the materials. Since it’s targeted at busy parents who still want to bond with children over educational activities, I think that there should be minimal prep work for Toddibox subscribers.
I found the instructions a little confusing – I was supposed to have received sentences for tracing according to the instructions but the sentences didn’t look like they were for tracing. Anyway, that wouldn’t have caught my daughter’s attention so we quickly moved on to cutting and putting things together. She helped to cut the sentences while I cut out the Santa Claus’ accessories.
I liked that the activity came with 5 pairs of velcro dots so that the accessories could be placed on/ removed from Santa Claus to make things more interactive such as when we read a particular sentence, she could put on that item mentioned on Santa. However, the instructions didn’t mention this or the velcro dots and we figured this out ourselves by matching the dots to the number of accessories present.
Then the last piece of instruction states, “Get the child to put the item in the book” which left me absolutely lost. What book is it supposed to be, I thought to myself as I rummaged through the box, thinking perhaps there was supposed to be a notebook of some sort. But I found none so I got her to stick the sentences in her own A4-sized notebook where we place her drawings and creative pieces (we jazzed up the notebook cover when we were reading The Perfect Square).
The Toddibox contains a segment called Ten Fingers where they include activities for art and craft. In this box there are TWO activities.
Ten Fingers Activity #1
The paper plate came ready cut so that was a plus point. Younger children would find it difficult to twirl the tissue paper around the pencil but adults could do that for them and they can still help with the sticking. There was sufficient tissue paper provided to complete the wreath and we still had a little left after the activity.
I felt that another ribbon for hanging up the wreath would have come in handy as wreaths are usually hung up.
Ten Fingers Activity #2
We had to cut out a Christmas tree before we could start on decorating it:
Pompoms and small embellishments were provided in a small ziploc bag together with a pipe cleaner for decorating the tree.
Glue was also provided in the bag but it wasn’t strong enough to hold the pipe cleaner and many of the pompoms fell off in the course of the day after we were done with the activity.
The Christmas tree lying flat on our table for photo taking. This is how it would have looked like if the glue held the pieces together:
The activity comes with a plastic cup which serves as the tree’s trunk but there was no way the tree could have stood up because of the weight of the embellishments on the construction paper so I felt that not enough thought went into designing this activity.
The last component in the Toddibox is Test Tube. They envision that the little ones would be able to carry out their own experiments just like a pro.
For this box, we were given materials to grow a salt crystal:
Little girl was super excited about growing a salt snowflake in the glass with the pipe cleaner:
Hubby added the salt to the boiling water:
And she carefully lowered the pipe cleaner into the glass without touching the sides of the glass or the water:
We covered the glass with a piece of tissue paper as instructed but nothing happened in the end after waiting for 24 hours.
We felt that the instructions could have been clearer about how much water exactly should be used with the amount of salt given and how long the salt crystals would take to grow. Perhaps that would have made a difference to the experiment. Nevertheless, while we didn’t have an end product, at least we had a go at the process of making a salt crystal.
The Toddibox is pretty new and I suppose the team is in the midst of fine tuning the activities and items in the box. Overall, we did have fun with most of the activities though there were definitely shortcomings here and there but I think the main aim of parent-child bonding was achieved.
Toddibox subscription details
Monthly: SGD39.95; 6 months SGD239 + stationery pack; 12 months SGD440 + stationery pack + free month
You can purchase a box for trial as well as gifts. Click on the Gift option in the online order form when you want to send a meaningful and enriching gift.
Now for the good news for my readers!