Monday, November 5, 2012

Fun in a Bag and it's Educational?! - A New TOS Review!!

You know those days when you HAVE to get something done, but you magically have children who won't let you out of your sight, are bored and need something to do, or just too young to do their own "school" work, but really want to join in the fun? Well then you NEED to hear all about this next company - they might just be your lifesaver!
"Where fun and education fit into the same bag"
The Product:
Activity Bags has tried to fill this need by creating their one of a kind educational 'bags' that can be created again and again.  They have a variety of different bags from preschool activities to reading or math activities to travel activities to science activities. Each activity bag book has many activities (usually over 15) that can be created at home mostly from common household items.  The great thing about these bags is that you can use them to do a swap.

What is a swap? Well you get a bunch of other moms/dads/families together and you split up the number of activities in the book by the number of participants you have in your swap. So say you have 25 activities you need to find 24 other participants.  Then each participant creates 1 activity 25 times.  Then you all get together and exchange your bags so that in the end everyone goes home with 25 separate activities! This is exactly how Paula and Sherri, two homeschool moms, started.  They never imagined that they would have so many people interested in swaps but over the course of two years and about 3000 activity bags assembled they were ready to begin writing their first book - Preschool Activities In A Bag - Book 1.  You can read more about their story and the birth of Activities In A Bag.
Every book comes with instructions on how to coordinate your own swap including

  • printable labels to go inside the bag
  • list of supplies for the person making the bag
  • list of supplies that families need to have on hand to complete the activities (most you would already)
  • instructions for each activity
  • printable sheets

Each of the Preschool Activities Bags have over 30 fun filled learning activities that are created specifically for the little fingers and minds of preschoolers.

Our Experience:
Seanan, who is now 3.5, has gotten past the 'sit quietly' stage and morphed into the 'I need to do something every waking minute' stage.  The other great thing about these bags is that if you can't find enough people to join in a swap or you don't have time for one at this time you can just create these activities for your self.  I went through the lists and picked out a few for us to create based on the items that I had on hand and the material list that is available in each e-book.

All you have to do is buy  1 gallon zip top Ziploc bags (they work best because little fingers can slide the zipper and they won't have to ask you to close the snap close bags). Putting the activity together really doesn't take much time.  In our house I have a button collector (Audrie) so we have a surplus of buttons - probably more then most homes - so I decided that one of the first activities we could create would be the one called Bag O' Buttons. All you need is 45 buttons of varying sizes, and some cups or containers to use for sorting.  Then you can have the child sort the buttons by size, by color, by shape, etc.  Fun for everyone!
This is just one of MANY activities you will have to chose from. You can do them all, pick ones you have all the supplies for, or just do a few at a time - whatever will help you out the most.  We were given both Book 1 and Book 2 of the Preschool Activities in a Bag as e-book PDF's. ($15.00 each or you can get them together for just $27.00)  You can see a sample of the activity labels as well as sign up to receive your very own sample.

Now, they have activities for all ages, not just your preschoolers.  We also received Science Activities in a Bag Book 1 (Biology, General Science, and Nature) Book 2 (Chemistry, Human Body, and General Science) and Book 3 (Chemistry). Each of these books have 25 simple science experiments that fit a specific category and are designed for K - 8th grade so there's something in there for all your older kids too.  The difference with these kits is that you will want each child doing the experiment to have their own bag so if you have 4 kids you'll need 4 bags (assuming that they are all between K - 8th).  For these kits, the experiment logs are color coded so that you can know what type of science activity you are dealing with just by the color paper included in the bag.

We've only been able to try a few of these due to time and us being in the process of boxing items up for our move.  But one of the girls favorites was the geodesic design - where they can make an architectural structure out of toothpicks and mini marshmallows. They also loved making paper from old newspaper and can't wait to try out the can crusher one which teaches about the air around us. The ones that had to do with nature or anything outside is always a big hit at our house because the girls love to be outside and learning - it's their favorite part of the day.  I know that these will be used again and again. These are also available individually for just $15 or as a bundle for $39

I also am planning to make up a bunch of the preschool activities for a few of our friends who have "littles" for Christmas.  One family in particular has a baby on the way who will be here at the beginning of December.  Her oldest is the same age as my little man and they are over here quite a bit.  I plan on making her a ton and giving it to her (hopefully) before new baby arrives so that she can have some activities to give her little man to do when mommy needs some quiet time with baby. ;)

My Thoughts:
These are a great addition to your household.  You definitely don't have to be just a homeschooler to find a use for these great activities.  You could organize a swap for the ladies at your church who have preschoolers.  You could even set up a swap for any of their other activity bags for school-aged children too.  These would be awesome as birthday gifts

I can't wait to see the next activity bag they are working on  - Craft Activities in a Bag (3 volumes)!  I hope you take the time to see all their other products and read about how our Crew members used them in their own homes - just click the banner below.  You can also contact them by email.


*** I am a member of The Old Schoolhouse 2011-2012 Crew and receive free products and services in exchange for a thorough and honest review. Though I am compensated with free products, I am not compensated in the form of money for any of my reviews. My reviews will always reflect my honest opinions, findings, beliefs and experiences with the products and services that I receive.***

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