The blog has been really quiet recently, because I’ve been super busy with all three kids. N is in K2 now, and has homework (!), Show and Tell, and a whole lot of other activities which keep him (and me) super busy. I always have these great ideas on fun things to do with N, but preparing the materials is a real challenge, which is why I appreciate all the fun educational kits that have been popping up in Singapore. (I’m really tempted to do this in Jakarta too, but who am I kidding? I’ll probably faint from all the work that has to be done!) When Peas in a Box approached me, I took a look at their website, and was intrigued by the three kits they had. I’m queen of indecisiveness, so it took me ages to decide which box to get! In the end, I chose Fascinating Fireflies, as the activities seemed more suitable for N, plus we’ve read Ranger Anne’s book on fireflies previously, and he still talks about fireflies sometimes. I asked for both the English and Mandarin books to be included in the kit, because I like incorporating both languages into N’s learning as much as possible.
Kits from Peas in a Box
Eileen of Peas in a Box delivered the Fascinating Fireflies kit to my parents’ place very quickly after I selected the box, and I collected it when we were back in Singapore for my cousin’s wedding. I loved that the list of activities was clearly presented on the inside cover of the box, and that each activity was neatly packed into a ziplock bag, together with the detailed instructions and all necessary materials. Super handy for busy parents who don’t have time to prepare materials!
Our Peas in a Box Fascinating Fireflies Kit
N checking out the view through the firefly’s “eye”
I let N pick the activity that he wanted to begin with, and was a bit surprised that he chose to paint the fireflies first, as I expected him to go straight for the lantern-making. He was so excited about starting on the activities that he didn’t even want me to read the books with him first!
He painted the fireflies on his own, then pasted the eyes on (double-sided tape was very thoughtfully stuck behind the eyes), before asking me to help him tape the feelers. I could have used the glue provided in the lantern-making kit, but figured it was easier to use my own tape on the feelers, but that’s just my personal preference. N really liked the little UV light that came with this activity, and even brought it downstairs with him when we went for a walk, because “I want to look for insects”.
Sticking on the eyes
Testing it out with the little UV light provided
Next, he chose to make his own lantern. He made a paper lantern with me previously during the Mid-Autumn Festival, but I think this was a better idea, since it’s plastic, and can survive being dropped a couple of times by little hands. N wasn’t very good at pasting the little squares of paper onto the plastic jar though, and I kept reminding him to put one at a time. Guess he was just in a hurry to finish it, so that he could play with it.
Applying the glue
He loves the battery-operated candle
N wanted to play with his new lantern and UV light after he finished the two activities, so we didn’t complete all the activities at one go. I think that’s the beauty of a learning kit like this, because many young children can’t sit through lengthy activities or do too many activities at one go, so this is perfect for preschoolers. Parents can easily pick out one or two activities at a time, and the activities don’t have to be done in sequence, so it’s really quite free and easy.
Our next session began with reading the two books included, and I thought it was a great idea to have the sticker book version of “The Very Lonely Firefly”, because the stickers can be a separate activity too. N wasn’t keen on pasting all the stickers that day, and asked to move on to the Chinese book after sticking all of TWO stickers. *rolls eyes*
One of the requirements of N’s reading checklist in school is the ability to retell stories in sequence, so I found the sequencing board and picture cards helpful. N was able to recall the sequence quite well (better than me!), although he got a bit mixed up here and there. I prompted him a little, after sneaking a peek at the book, and he quickly completed the sequencing board after that.
This activity came with a whiteboard marker, so that N could trace the letters on the picture cards after reading them. N isn’t a fan of writing or tracing, but didn’t protest at all when I asked if he would like to trace the words. Not bad! I liked that the font was large enough for him, and he managed to do everything quite neatly.
Working on the sequencing board
In our previous homelearning modules on plants and insects, I prepared three-part cards on the different parts of the plants and insects for N to learn, so the next activity on identifying the firefly’s body parts was something familiar to N. We also read the fact sheet on fireflies, and both learnt some really interesting facts together. (Is it just me, or do you also realise that you learn quite a bit when you’re reading about certain topics with your kids?) I thought it was good that the blanks on the activity sheet were jumbled up, so N had to examine the firefly more carefully, in order to complete this.
Identifying the firefly’s body parts
The kit also contains two Mathematics activities: Fireflies in my Jar, and Firefly Patterns. In the first activity, N had to pick a number card, and “catch” the correct number of fireflies. As there was a maximum of 20 fireflies, I tried making the activity more challenging for N by asking him for a specific number of a certain colour, then asking him to figure out how many of the other colours he would need, which means that he had to do some simple subtraction as well. He wanted me to “fly” the fireflies around for him to catch, so I did that a couple of times too. Good for hand-eye coordination, if you “fly” them really fast!
Fireflies in my Jar
“Make the fireflies fly, Mummy!”
The patterns activity was easy to complete, as N is very familiar with patterns. I tried to challenge him by asking him to make his own patterns, but he wasn’t very keen, and stopped after just one round. Oh well.
Working on patterns
The last activity was the bunting, and N had to paint the pictures. A small tub of yellow paint was provided, together with a paper plate and foam roller, but N didn’t want to use those, and opted to use the paint from the fireflies painting activity. I wanted him to cut the circles out on his own, but because the paint took a while to dry, he got bored, and we set the pictures aside, to be completed another day.
N did the cutting of the circles himself, so they’re not perfectly round, but it’s okay! He strung the pictures up with the string provided, and we chose a place to put it up together. He initially wanted to hang it at his fish tank, but the babies could reach it easily, so we decided to hang the bunting on the shelf instead. We tested out the height by getting Didi to try and reach it, as you can see from the photo below!
Stringing up the pictures
Putting up his bunting
Must be out of the babies’ reach!
So proud of his DIY bunting
I gauge an activity kit’s success on N’s reaction to the activities, and I think this Fascinating Fireflies Kit made the cut for him. He was engaged throughout all the activities, enjoyed both the books included, and even asked to work on the activities without any prompting. I do think some of the activities were a tad too simple for him, but he didn’t seem to mind at all. Perhaps it was a good boost for his confidence? I also liked that all the materials needed were included and packed neatly into individual bags, so I could just pick them out for N to work on, without having to scramble to look for any materials. I would have preferred it if there were activities related to the Chinese book, as it seems such a waste to only read the book, and I suggested to Eileen that she could offer a bilingual option for some of the activities, such as the one about the firefly’s body parts.
Peas in a Box is currently running a super good Christmas promotion, so if you’re looking for an educational and original gift for children, do take advantage of the great prices, and place your orders quickly.
If you’ve missed the Christmas promotion, don’t fret! Peas in a Box has very generously provided a 20% discount for readers of Growing with the Tans! Just key in “TANS20” at checkout to get 20% off. This code is valid for a month only, from 26 December 2017 to 26 January 2018.
Disclaimer: We were given the Fascinating Fireflies box for the purpose of this review. All photos and opinions are, as always, our own, unless otherwise stated.
In the spirit of Christmas, Peas in a Box is giving away one of each themed box: Fascinating Fireflies, Terrific Trains, and Fantastic Flowers. To participate, please complete the Rafflecopter widget below. Terms and conditions apply.
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