Thursday, January 30, 2014

*New Box* February sunshine box review & interview with the creator and co-owner

Sunshine Box

One of the new boxes launching right now is Sunshine Box, which is an activity box for toddler which includes kids under age three (and all us mom's of 2 yr olds know that is hard to find) 
Before I review the box that Sunshine box kindly sent me for review purposes I would like to share a quick interview with co owner Allison.

1) Tell me about yourself and what inspired you to create a subscription box.

I am currently working full time and have 2 daughters...a 2 year old and a 4 month old.  The 2 year old loves to write and "read" so I thought it would be nice to order a sub box for her.  Once I started looking though, I found that most of the boxes were for ages 3 and up.  She's really smart, but the things in the 3 year old boxes are over her head.  That's what first planted the seed.

2) Tell me more about Sunshine box,and what makes it different from other "craft boxes"

Sunshine Box isn't really a "craft box" per se.  Yes, there are crafty things included, but it's more and "activity box" with learning activities.  Activities aren't just geared toward creativity and fine motor skills but in learning early childhood basics.

3) I personally love the way your "info" card reads more as a "lesson plan" than just a list of items with descriptions.... Was that the intent, do you have an educational background?

Yes, that is definitely the intent, and I'm sooo glad that it came across that way!  I have a Bachelors in Early Childhood Ed and a Master's in Early Childhood Special Ed.  I have worked in the early childhood field for 14 years.  Currently I am Program Coordinator at a preschool for children with disabilities.  While I currently work with ages 3-5, my training is in birth to 5. 

4)what is the cost of your Sunshine box and will you offer discounts for multiple month subscription packages?

A single box is $32.95.  You can choose a single box or a recurring monthly subscription that automatically renews.  If you choose a 3-month subscription, it's $87 or $29/box.  A 6-month subscription is $162 or $27 a box.  It's like buying 5 and getting the 6th free!

5) what is your official launch date? Are you accepting orders right now?

We are now accepting orders!!!!!!  We shipped out several February boxes and are putting March boxes together now.  Any orders placed now will be for the March box!

So now that we have heard all about this exciting new box, let me show you what I received in our February Sunshine  Box. As I mentioned in the question above the "info" sheet is a lesson plan so I didn't want to "jump the gun" and start early BUT it is almost time to start using this box ....I can't wait to introduce all this to Tuffy...I have always "wanted" to be THIS organized and have these kinds of activities.

the first look, this is when I realized this was no ordinary box the fact that I was looking at a "lesson plan" was immediately clear.

a quick look at the weekly lesson plan for a 2 1/2 yr old

after careful consideration on how to do this review, I have decided I am actually going to type out the lesson plan under the photos of the items included for that week... this is something I have NEVER done before and is something I doubt that I will ever do again (even with this box in the future) I just feel like it is very important to show that this is in fact a box of early childhood learning materials, unlike other boxes available for kids this young... I just want to show the box to you EXACTLY as I see it here in front of me because the items alone are not that impressive...add the lesson plan and it becomes very impressive!

I will then add my thoughts on that particular weeks activities marked by a **** below the lesson plan for the week.

Week 1 Mail:
this has two activities included for this week

1) mail truck path (fine motor/prewriting)
using the crayon, trace the path from the truck to the mailbox. At this age, it is ok for him/her to hold a crayon with a fist grip.

2) M is for Mail (prewriting/letter recognition)
Using the crayon, trace the letter M. YOUnger toddlers may need your hand over hand assistance to stay on the line. Allow older toddlers to practice "M" on the back of the paper

*** MY thoughts on this weeks activities***
 I am very impressed..I would NEVER have thought to do either of these on my own, but now that the idea is there I can totally see us doing this more often. Since the week is about "M " I am going to take it a step further with a meal of "M" items, scavenger hunt for "M" items in the house, and make a game of naming things that begin with "M"

I should note there was a glue stick included for this week...Tuffy had it for something else when I took this photo

Week 2: hearts
there are three activities included for this week

1) Mosaic Heart- (color & Shape Identification/fine motor skills)
let your child tear the red/ and/or pink construction paper into small pieces and then glue them to the heart shape. younger children may need hand over hand to tear the paper or they may need you to tear it for them. Encourage them to do as much as they can to build fine motor skills.

2) Find The Heart (shape identification/fine motor skills)
have your child find the hearts on the page and circle them. Younger toddlers may just point to the shapes while you circle.

3) valentine cards (fine motor)
Let your child decorate a valentine card using the heart stickers. Tie it to the week before by letting them address and MAIL the card.

***MY thoughts on this weeks activities***
So this time I am just thoroughly jealous that I have never thought of doing any of this on my own (I have never pretended that I was "crafty" at all... so I love all of these activities and will be adding 3 more valentine's cards to our weekly activities for Tuffy's sisters. I also plan to add in a heart shaped day for valentine's with heart shaped eggs, sandwiches,fruit and maybe pancakes. This would also be perfect for working on the colors pink and red if you little one is still learning those colors,actually I may just add that in for the fun of it***

Week 3: Dental Health
there are two activities included in this week.

1) Healthy Food (cognitive: math (sorting)/self care) 
look at all the cards with your child and discuss what each item is. Have your toddler group all the "healthy" foods together and all the "unhealthy" food together.

2) Brushing Teeth (fine motor/self care)
using the toothbrush and white paint, let your toddler "brush" away the cavities and create healthy white teeth.

*** MY thoughts on this weeks activities***
This is my least favorite of the weeks included in this box, but I understand that it is an important "subject" I will be adding more of the "healthy eating habits" to the activities this week.... perhaps letting Tuffy help build a menu for dinner one night with pictures cut out of a magazine of healthy and unhealthy foods. WE already have him brush his teeth twice a day, but my pups are in need of a tooth brushing session I think I will show Tuffy how we even brush the doggy teeth to keep them healthy as well.

Week 4: Bears
There are three activities included this week

1) Puzzle (cognitive/fine motor)
Let your child color the puzzle and then cut into 4 pieces. We recommend Parents doing the cutting for toddlers. Help them arrange pieces to put the puzzle back together.

2) Small, Medium, Large (cognitive)
have your child group sort items by size 

3) Teddy Bear, Teddy, Bear (listening comprehension/memory/gross motor)
Read the poem to your child and have him/her act out the movements. Encourage your child to chant along with you after you've done the exercise a few times.

***MY thoughts on this week's activities***
this is actually my favorite week as far as variety of activities go (the week 2 valentines were fun, but I feel this will  teach him more) I will expand on these activities by reading a new Paddington Bear book (I have been wanting to order one and this just gave me a reason), we will also likely finish the week off by a trip to build a bear (his oldest sister got him a build a bear gift card for christmas so we will make it a fun outing with his sisters and I to get his first build a bear)

Sunshine Box is $32,95 a month for month to month subscriptions, and the price drops considerably with multiple month subscriptions and takes PayPal (I know many of you are always looking for a box that accepts PayPal so ladies, this is a box for you)

I am someone who could NEVER have come up with a "lesson plan" like this for Tuffy, it just isn't who I am ...I may "want" to do those type of things, I just can't really follow through so for us this is a box that would change the way I am teaching Tuffy things (we currently do foreign languages and vocabulary building, counting and ABC's  but I will admit it really isn't creative or fun for him at all) this box changes everything! I think this is  box we will be adding to our mothly line up.

Since the box is laid out as a lesson plan for the month of February we haven't done the activities yet, and obviously that will be my final decision but it all looks like things he can do and will enjoy doing,..that I "should" have thught of myself, but didn't...thankfully I have a sub box addiction and I now have a box that I can use to make our "daily learning time" more structured...which is much needed!

That being said I would not really call this a "subscription box" I would call this a "learning box" I feel "subscription box" would limit the marketability of this one and it is SO much more than your average toddler subscription box.

So ladies, tell me what do YA'LL think of the SUNSHINE BOX?

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