Monday, November 5, 2012

Activity Bags- Science and Reading -TOS

I recently got the awesome opportunity to review a new product with The Schoolhouse Crew.  The product in question is Activity Bags

Activity Bags has created a rather large line of kits that you create in individual bags for kids to do.  I was fortunate enough to receive the Science Bags(ebook 1, ebook 2, and ebook 3) as well as the Reading Bag.  The science series are geared towards an age range of kindergarten through 8th grade.  Of course, by covering such a large expanse it stands to reason that you would have to adjust for the age of your children.  I found myself doing quite a bit more of the experiments than a mom of older kids would as my oldest is only 7.

Book 1 costs $15 by itself. If you wish to purchase books one and two you can do so for a reduced cost of $27, or you can purchase all three books for a discount of $39.  The reading games in a bag ebook is also only $15. 

Science ebook #1

Science ebook 1 contains experiments pertaining to biology, nature, and general science.  We started out working our way through this one.  I have to admit that we didn't do many of the experiments from the other two books for a couple of reasons.  The main one was the smells.  I know, I know, that probably sounds wierd, but trust me the smells of some of the experiments sent me running to the bathroom.  Here is where I cough and explain that I have some bad morning sickness and nausea and science did not go well with it.

My kids loved the science that we did do though!  Their favorites were the fruit fly experiment and the mold experiment.  Book one contains 25 experiments and a total of 164 pages.  We only printed out the worksheet pages as we needed them, but as the kids get older I think printing the entire book out and placing it in a binder would be wonderful for them to use as their science course!

Fruit Fly Experiment:  With this experiment we were told to place a peeled banana in a jar and leave it on the counter for several days to "rot" and attract fruit flies.   We don't ever seem to have an extra banana laying around so we used a cut up apple.  It definitely attracted the fruit flies!!  After the flies began to congregate on the fruit in the jar we placed a length of pantyhose on top of the jar and sealed with a rubber band.  Leaving the band and net on the jar for four days, we then took the jar outside and let the flies loose.  After coming back into the house we placed the hose back on top of the jar and secured with the rubber band.  We left it that way for another two weeks(understanding a bit of the smell yet?).  During that time we watched as new flies appeared.  My kids loved this!  We had to get on the computer and get detailed pictures of each stage of the fruit fly life and look at the jar through a magnifying glass so they could see the itty bitty little ones.  I would have to say that this was the favorite activity of all the science that we did.

Mold experiment:  I will have to say this one we tweeked a bit.  You were supposed to place one piece of bread(preferably preservative free) in a sandwich bag and one piece of citrus fruit in another.  You then were to place 13 drops of water with each and leave unzipped for one day(24 hours) in a warm place but not in the sunlight.  Then you were to close the bags(seal) and place in a warm spot not in sunlight for up to 2 weeks. 

What we did:  We took one slice of homemade gluten free bread(we eat gluten free in our house) in one bag and had the kids grandma place one slice of her homemade whole wheat bread in one bag at her house.  We left her bread at her house for the first day and did not bring it home until it was sealed.  We then had both sealed bags placed on our kitchen counter out of direct sunlight for two weeks.  The gluten free bread molded quite a bit faster than the whole wheat bread did.  I expected this as it seems that our gluten free products mold rather quickly and we normally keep them in the refrigerator.  The kids were thrilled and we had to discuss the ingredients in each loaf of bread.  They decided that the fact that my bread contains no sugars at all while Mama's bread(grandma) contains honey must have been the reason.  I didn't contradict them or discourage them because I loved how they reasoned out that conclusion and loved how their brains were thinking!

Science ebook #2

Ebook #2 for Science contains the chemistry, humand body, and general sciences.  I'm afraid that we did not do a lot of the experiments from this book.  One that we did do that I have seen done before was color confusion.  I found this one particularly fun with my kiddos.  Half of my kids can read the color names and half cannot.  It was very funny to listen to the two sets argue with each other about what the color was!  Book 2 contains a total of 25 experiments and 153 downloadable pages.  Again, I just printed off the pages as we were using them, but if you have older children having the whole book in a binder would be a great idea!

Color Confusion:  For this experiment you need 5 different colored crayons.  We used yellow, green, red, black, and blue.  You write the color name on a sheet of paper only you use a different color to do so.  For instance, I wrote green in the blue crayon, blue in the yellow crayon, yellow in the black crayon, red in the green crayon, and black in the red crayon.  You then later write the names of animals using the different colors.  It will take you longer to comprehend and say the correct word/color combination than it will to say the correct written word.

Ebook for Science #3

Ebook #3 for Science contains only chemistry.  I feel these were the more advanced of the experiments.  There are 25 experiments and 151 pages in this ebook.  We did the floating egg experiment which teaches about the density of fresh and salt water. 

Floating Egg:  You will need two plastic cups.  Fill both cups with regular tap water.  Into one of the cups place 8 Tb of salt.  Stir the salt into the water and then place one egg in each cup.  Watch what happens to the egg.  Please note our experiment failed the first time.  We used old eggs(farm fresh) and I did not do the float test on them both in fresh water first.  As a result they both floated.  Oops bad science mommy, bad.

Reading Games in a Bag

Reading Games was wonderful!  I see that it says book one on the cover and am hoping that that means more are coming!  This book contains 20 games and 124 pages.  The game that I had my kids do the most was the sight words.  I have been working with them on sight words for a while so that they don't continue to sound out the easy words and can read more fluently. 

Sight Words:  The sight words game includes 126 words for your child to learn to help make reading easier.  You will need to print them off on a cardstock or as I didn't have cardstock but did have some notecards, you can write them out on the notecards.  I ended up making three sets of this game.  One for my each set of two of the older six to share.  At first I had to help the kids to remember what the words were, but now they quiz each other with the notecards!  I love seeing my kids learn and master things!  We have used this one daily from day one until today.  They have mastered this set of words now, but I think I shall make up some new notecards with other words and we'll start doing those. I think this is how we are going to be memorizing our spelling words from now on!

As you can tell, we enjoyed all of our books from Activity Bags.  I think they are definitely worth the price you would pay for them.  These are adjustable for your children and can grow with them.  I see myself using these a lot in the future with ALL of our children.  I give them an A+ for coming up with this idea.  They also have ebooks for math, travel, and preschool that would be wonderful to try out at some point.

Make sure to head over the read the other Crew members thoughts on what products they reviewed(we all were able to do different ones) and find out about the other activity books on the Crew homepage

I must end with a bit of an apology. My camera battery died and I was not able to find the charger until yesterday so we really do not have any pictures of my children using this program.  I hope that my description of them and the fun they had while using these books has brought some cute mental pictures to your mind though!

Disclaimer: As a member of the TOS Crew, I received this product, at no cost to me, in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are mine.

My opinion has not been influenced or altered in anyway by the company and only includes my honest thoughts on the product.

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  1. I would love to get these for my nieces. These would be a great for us to do together.

  2. How great are those. I would love to get them for my Granddaughters.

  3. This sounds wonderful for my three kids I'm gonna have to look into this a little more, Thanks so much