Friday, January 10, 2014

December Cultured Owl Review

One of the new boxes I received in December was Cultured Owl,who kindly offered me a box for review purposes. Cultured Owl is a newer children's box that offer the entire family a way to experience world culture through hands on activities, toys, booklets,flags and even appropriate recipes to use while learning about the country of the month.

I knew Cultured Owl was a box for teaching kids about the world, beyond that I did not know what to expect at all so when this box arrived in the mail I was excited to dig right in (I love learning about other cultures and I want Tuffy to as well)
When you open the box the contents are listed on a brief contents sheet attached to the lid in front of you, I was excited to see Spain was the country of the month since we have been teaching Tuffy Spanish (and French as well actually) but since we had been working on Spanish already I was ready to see what was inside and how I could add these items to our "lessons"
It showed we would have items to play  with, crafts, recipes,as well as education materials... How perfect!

The first peek didn't give TOO much away, I could see a more detailed info card and some individual bags which let me know that each "activity" was separately packaged, which I like.

Also included was a mission statement and a "feet the founder" card, call me crazy but I really appreciate it when a company "puts it out there" like this because it lets me know where they are coming from, what to expect and that they are willing to be held accountable by their customers so this earned them bonus points from me.

Because this was our first Cultured Owl we received a passport and a blowup globe in addition to the monthly kit items. As I glanced through the passport I realized I was kinda looking forward to seeing what they came up with for some of the countries especially since I now know recipes are involved.
Tuffy enjoys the blow up globe, we briefly talk about countries but he thinks it is a great ball as well  

This photo shows the educational materials, toy,and recipe card that was included, I took individual photos of the craft projects.

Educational materials included:
a welcome to Spain booklet that has instructions to play traditional spanish game, lyrics to songs (the spanish version of Head , shoulders,knees and toes in this case) , popular names for both boys and girls, some basic words and phrases translated so you can learn them together, an entire page dedicated to traditional dancing (Tuffy loves to dance, other than climbing it is his favorite thing to do so we LOVE this one), a few pages on customs, culture,and festivals. it ends with some conversation topics to help you discuss the difference between spain and the United States I will be honest this booklet had WAY more in it that I would have guessed from a subscription box.... very very good booklet (and yes one is included for each country every month)
Spanish flag and flag base. The flag base is pretty hefty so it isn't gonna break anytime soon...I like the flags being included especially since the Olympics are coming up and every country will be represented by their flag...I had planned on recording and  using the opening ceremony for the olympics are part of our learning time and the flag being in this and future boxes will help with what I already had planned.

Collectible trading card: each box will also include a collectible trading card (in a hard plastic cover for protection)  with flag,demographics, and national traits on the black)

this month the toy included was a " La Peonza" or a spinning top Tuffy really like this, he is still learning how to twist it but he likes to try.

recipe card:
Chicken Paella

the recipe card was easy to follow and was delicious, a great addition for learning about other cultures (especially when we get to cultures I know nothing about myself)

each month will include 2 to 3 craft activities as well, this month there were two:

The first craft included was a Mosaic tile coaster

wood coaster base, glue, paint brush, square mosaic tiles, easy to follow how to instruction with photos and it gave suggestions on how to personalize this as well with paints (not in THIS craft bag, but was included in the one below with enough to do this as well so actually everything you need is included)

we actually have not done this craft yet, we are still finishing up the "winter crafts" I had planned already, I will likely wait to do this until after we move and then send it to his granny and papa as a little gift shortly after we leave.

the second craft was make  your own castanets:

hard plastic castanet halves (2), a paint brush, 6 colors of paint and string with easy to follow instructions on how to build your own little finger instruments with photos.

with this type of box I find it impossible to do a monetary value on the items because so much of it is educational Cultured Owl is $29 a month for month to month plans and less expensive for prepaid plans and I definately beleive that this box was more than worth the monthly cost.
Yes, we received a toy and two crafts, but also was a full educational experience that makes learning fun...everything was covered from language, games, songs, and even recipes to make your own "spain night" at home... I believe children learn more through this type of exposure and experiences...this is 100% what I am looking for when I say I want a box that is different, a box that will be more than just some toys and a snack we may or may not like or already have... not only do I think this a GREAT monthly subscription box for children (really of a wide age group, but is targeted for ages 5-10, obviously Tuffy is considerably younger but he still has enjoyed this and can do the crafts with my help) but also this would be PERFECT for homeschoolers (which I am seriously considering for Tuff) 

Click Here to go to their webpage to order, or just find out more information , I can't stress enough how much I like this box and everything that it is trying to do, kids learn by being immersed in something and this is a way to give them that one country at a time, we always think there is time to "teach them that later" well, you know what my adult daughters really DID grow up in a blink of an eye... I will not let those opportunities slip by with Tuffy to teach him things like this that will actually teach him about other cultures in a fun, positive and easy way that the entire family can participate in.

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