Sunday, November 4, 2012

Speak Up Saturday–TOS Review–Activity Bags

Speak Up Saturday
Today I want to share with you all about Activity Bags! There are lots of these types of ideas floating around, but this product that I had the chance to review pulls it all together for you.
What is an activity bag??
Quite simply, they are self-guided activities that a preschooler can do by himself with little to no help. He can see immediately if the activity was done correctly, and each activity is contained in a one-gallon zipper bag.
These books feature activities that can be independently done and put away by preschoolers. Get children ready for kindergarten with skills on 123s, ABCs, color, motor skills, patterning and more skills they'll learn through having fun! At only around $1.00 per activity bag, activities are frugal and easy to create with household objects and the included reporducibles. Activity instructions are clearly written, with a description of the activity, the skills it develops, supplies needed, assembly instructions, bag contents, label example, and buying tips. Instructions to individual mothers, as well as those running an "activity swap" are included.
There are two main features of these books. The first is the activity bags as described above. The second, and equally helpful, is how to plan an Activity Bag swap. It’s much easier to create 20 of the same bag and swap than it is to create 20 separate bags, so the creators of Activity Bags have laid out the directions for hosting such a swap. They explain in detail what they have found works and how to do each step along the way.  While I did not have the time to host a swap before this review, I am definitely planning on hosting one soon! (Probably in the new year, if anyone is interested in joining in!)
The activities themselves are laid out in an easy to follow and consistent format throughout both preschool books (I’ll talk about the travel book in a bit). At the beginning of each book, besides the swap instructions, there is also a page that includes basic information for each activity including the name, the supplies needed, and the basic skills learned. This was helpful to me doing it on my own because I could just print out this page and gather supplies that I already owned in order to decide which activities I was going to start with. After I did that step, I then selected several activity bags to try out with Nate, who is almost 3 1/2. I assembled a few bags from each book to give him a variety of activities to try out.
2012-10-25 Tot School Zoo Animals (2)
Here he is sharing one of his bags with a friend before tot school started last week.
I was pleasantly surprised how well he did with the activities. I showed him how to do it the first time, and then left them in a place he could get them whenever he wanted to. He has played with the few that I made up several times and enjoyed them. He likes that he can do them independently with success every time! I like that too :-) He’s the kind of kid who wants my help all. the. time. but there’s something different about being able to just go grab his activity bag and do it whenever he wants. 2012-10-28 Activity Bags (1)
I was not as impressed with the Travel Activities in a Binder. I’m not sure what I was hoping for, but that wasn’t it. First of all, the idea of hosting a swap just for a travel binder is rather silly. Why would I spend the effort to do that? I would rather just have people pay me for the whole binder and I could assemble them all, it would be much less work! Also, the activities included were either too old for my kids (they required reading or drawing skills that my kids don’t have) or the activity was a game that needed two people, which wouldn’t work well with my two. The idea of a travel binder to have activities on hand in the car all the time is a great one, but the implementation of this e-book was not all that good.
Overall, I’m excited to use these e-books more in the future and coordinate an activity bag swap so that we can have more activities for Nate to do. I think the idea is sound, and they fulfill their purpose in giving him something to do independently, which is something I really need right now while I try to do first grade with Kahlen. The activities included are simple, cost effective, yet hold his interest long enough. As a side note about the difference in books 1 and 2, I would start with book 2 if I were just going to have one of the books. It’s better laid out as far as printing things out goes, and the activities are equivalent in both books.
Each e-book retails for $15 or you can get both the Preschool Activity Bag books for $27. They also have several other activity bag books including Science Experiments, Math, Reading Games, and Daily Activity Journals.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this product through The Old Schoolhouse Homeschool Crew in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

1 comment:

Sherri MacLean said...


Thank you so much for the wonderful review of the Activities in a Bag products. Would it be okay if I used some of your pictures on our website?? I would give credit to your blog of course, but wanted to ask first.

Thanks again,

Sherri MacLean

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