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This is a sponsored post. I received two Ivy Kids Kits as compensation for writing a review about Ivy Kids. I was not required to write a positive view, and all opinions expressed here are my own.
I am a big fan of doing unit studies with my kids. So I was excited to learn recently of a new resource that will be invaluable to me and other parents/caregivers who would like to do comprehensive, literature-based unit studies: Ivy Kids.
Ivy Kids is a monthly educational subscription box for children ages 3-8. The Ivy Kids kits are created and certified by early childhood teachers. One of the things that sets Ivy Kids apart from other subscription services is that each kit includes a book and materials for a number of activities to complete that are based on the themes in the book. So basically, subscribing to Ivy Kids means that you will get all the materials you need for a literature-based unit study at your doorstep each month!
In a previous post, I discussed the benefits of doing literature-based unit studies with kids as well as our experience doing an Ivy Kids unit study based on the book Jump, Frog, Jump! by Robert Kalan. That unit study was a very positive experience for our family, and my kids had been eager to jump in to the next kit. Since we have recently done some activities to learn about color theory, I was excited to see that the August kit was based on the book Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh.
Mouse Paint is a simple book that introduces young children to concepts including primary colors, secondary colors, color mixing, and camouflage.
The Ivy Kids Kit based on this book included so many activities for us to try. Plus, all of the materials needed to carry out these activities is included in the kit, which makes it super easy to use. Below I am detailing the activities that are part of this kit and sharing a few details about our experience with each.
Story Re-Telling with a Puppet Show
Skills practiced: sequencing events in a story, telling a story from memory, vocabulary, creativity and imagination
After we had read the story a few times, the kids used the materials in our Ivy Kids kit to put on a puppet show for me. The kids looked through the book to see the order of events.
They then used the appropriate materials to act out each part of the book behind a makeshift puppet show stage.
I helped out by reading the book as they went through their show. And at the end they were so proud of the show they had put on for me. 🙂
Mouse Sun Catcher
Skills practiced: collage making, creativity, fine motor development, observing the effects of light coming through tissue paper
There were several art projects included in the kit, including this mouse sun catcher. The kids glued tissue paper squares onto the mouse. Once the glue was dry, they hung them from our sliding glass door to catch the sun’s rays.
Color Paddle Matching
Skills practiced: Color matching and identification, color mixing
For this activity the kids matched the six color paddles to six images of the same color. Given my kids’ ages and developmental levels, just matching the colors was extremely simple for them.
So I upped the challenge by having them work only with the pictures focused on the secondary colors (orange, green, and purple). I had my kids combine the primary color paddles (red, yellow, and blue) to create matching secondary colors.
Hide the Mice
Skills practiced: Color matching, fine motor skills, understanding of camouflage
This activity involves having kids match mice to a same colored background. This was too basic for my kids, but it was an opportunity to reinforce a lesson we had done previously about camouflage.
Run Away from the Cat Game
Skills practiced: directionality, counting with one-to-one correspondence, number symbol identification, colors, patterns, turn taking
A simple board game was included in the kit. The kids took turns spinning the spinner.
Then they moved their mouse along the board to “escape” from the cat.
The colors on the board match the paint colors used by the mice in the book. The colors also form a pattern. My kids and I took the opportunity to talk about patterns while playing.
Skills practiced: patterning, colors
We used the colored tokens and pattern suggestion strips in the kit to practice some basic patterning. Patterning is something my kids and I have worked on many times before (see this post, for example), and they still enjoy it.
The kit included basic ABAB patterns, like this one XGirl worked on.
It also included ABC patterns, like this one QBoy worked on.
But what my kids really enjoyed was making up our own patterns! I created some more challenging patterns for them to work on. And they created their own patterns as well.
I Spy Game
Skills practiced: Phonemic awareness, language development, listening
We had a great time with this I Spy game! We initially played by me giving clues and them making guesses. Because my kids are at different levels, for QBoy I would give him clues like “Find an object that starts with the letter M.” For XGirl, I would give her clues like “Find an object that starts with the /m/ sound.”
After we played a while, my kids then took turns giving clues for me to guess. (They just loved being in charge like that!)
Make your Own Mice
Skills practiced: Art, fine motor development, knowledge of mouse anatomy
My kids had a lot of fun sculpting their own mice out of air-drying molding clay.
It was very interesting for me to watch them do this activity. They are used to drawing things in two dimensions, so they initially struggled with creating a three dimensional object. But with some support, they were able to create some very cute little mice.
Skills practiced: painting, color mixing, making predictions, fine motor development
A big theme in Mouse Paint is that you can mix primary colors together to make secondary colors.
The kit included small bottles of red, yellow, and blue paint. I squeezed a bit of each of those colors into a plastic painting tray (also included). Then I told the kids we needed to make some more colors, so we mixed different combinations of the primary colors in order to create the secondary colors. Each time, they were so excited to see the new colors they created!
They then used the three primary colors as well as the secondary colors they made to paint these mouse pictures that reinforce lessons on color mixing.
No-Mess Finger Painting
Skills practiced: Fine motor development, color mixing, making predictions
This activity was a big hit with my kids, and it also gave them more opportunities to learn about color mixing.
We took turns squeezing two colors of paint into a plastic bag, which I then sealed at the top.
The kids then used their hands to mix the colors together in order to make new colors.
The end result of some of their creations was just beautiful! See how blue and red combined to make purple in this bag?
My opinion about Ivy Kids
As you can see from our experience with the Mouse Paint kit, each Ivy Kids kit includes a ton of educational activities covering a wide range of subjects. It took us several days to complete the activities in this kit.
So how would I rate this Ivy Kids kit?
Book choice: I enjoyed the book choice for this kit, as did my kids. I do think the book is more appropriate for kids at the younger end of the Ivy Kids age range than for kids at the older end of the Ivy Kids age range, however.
Educational value: I found the educational value to be high, particularly for the Little Ivy age range. The set of activities included in the kit was quite comprehensive, including literacy, math, science, and art. By the end of this kit my kids had practiced so many different skills! Each activity comes with its own instruction guide that includes tips for tailoring the activity to your “Little Ivy” ages 3-5 or your “Junior Ivy” ages 5-8, questions you can ask to scaffold the learning for your children, and a list of learning goals. I also feel good knowing that the kits are put together by former teachers, many of whom are now raising young kids of their own.
Entertainment value: I can honestly say that my kids enjoyed every single activity we did as part of this kit. Their favorite activities were making the mouse out of clay, mixing paint colors, no-mess finger painting, I Spy, and doing a puppet show. Plus, we read the book several times and they enjoyed each reading as well. My son, who is an emergent reader, even “read” the book to me and his sister!
Age range: Ivy Kids bills itself as appropriate for kids ages 3-8. Personally, I think this particular kit would be better for kids at the younger end of the age range. Many, but not all, kids at the older end of the age range (e.g., 7- and 8-year olds) will find activities like patterning, color matching, and the Run Away from the Cat game to be too simple. But older kids would likely still enjoy the art projects, story retelling activity, and the color mixing. If you have kids of different ages, there will be something in here that will appeal to all of them.
Summary: Ivy Kids makes it extremely easy to do a comprehensive book unit study with your kids. With the exception of water, literally all of the materials you will need to do the activities are included in the kit. There’s no need to spend time or money hunting down materials. Ivy Kids also includes clear instructions for each activity as well as tips for parents and caregivers to tailor the activity to kids of different developmental levels. Ivy Kids makes it very easy to simply open your kit and get started with learning!
More literacy resources
More literature studies from Gift of Curiosity:
- Color Zoo book study
- Jump, Frog, Jump! book study
- Activities inspired by The Lorax
- Activity inspired by The Teddy Bear’s Picnic
- Activity inspired by Sail Away
Products mentioned in this post: