KidArtLit is a subscription box that sends a hardback, boutique quality picture book and supplies to complete an open-ended art project with your family. This is geared towards 3-8-year-olds and includes enough supplies to make the projects twice.
This box is a packed full of fun! Everything is neatly wrapped in a bright, appealing yellow tissue paper that catches your eye immediately.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)
The Subscription Box: KidArtLit
The Cost: $39.95 a month + shipping
The Products: One hardback picture book, all the needed to complete an open-ended art project two times, and a mini magazine with easy-to-follow instructions & ideas for exploring the box’s theme. Plus, each box includes an extra mini project: a Ready-Set-Go Pack.
Ships to: US for $7.95 and Internationally for an additional charge
KidArtLit May 2018 Review
Each box comes with an information pamphlet outlining exactly what is in this months box. It also provides helpful tips and tricks for the month's activity.
The Ready-Set-Go Pack
This month’s first fun activity is creating a super colorful, rainbow hand kite. The kit includes two wooden circle rings and pieces of different colored ribbon - easy enough, right?! The goal of this lesson is to help connect poetry, rhythms, and movement. I LOVE THIS IDEA! My son has been going to KinderMusic classes since he was four-months-old, so this was definitely something we were excited to explore. Before diving into making the hand kites, you’re encouraged to extend the activity by building patterns with the strings or matching each string’s color with a matching object in your house. I would love to say that this went spectacularly, but we got through one color and his attention was shot. After a break to play on the swings, we sat outside and made our kites. He was excited when I told him he could put it in his treehouse as a fun decoration. Once we had it made, we laid on the hammock and watched the colorful ribbons move with the breeze as I made up a little song about kites flying high. Now, days later, he’s saying to me when we go outside “I get my kite!”. Clearly, this was a win.
The book I received this month is called ‘The Wild World’, written by Angela McAllister and illustrated by Hvass&Hannibal. It brings you through thirteen different habitats, highlighting the magical differences in terrain, climate, agriculture, and animals that inhabit them. It seems to me this book is geared more toward older children, as there is an incredible amount of detail in each passage. The author’s description is quite elegant but difficult to follow. While our family is very much into arts of all kind, we did not find this book to be a winner for our toddler or our friend's 11-year-old son. The illustrations were beautiful and vibrant which kept the kids’ attention for a few pages, but both boys lost interest rather quickly. When asking the pre-teen his thoughts, he said he didn’t like that it didn’t rhyme and that many of the words he either didn’t know the definition of or he had to “think too hard” to understand. He is quite intelligent and was eventually intrigued though by the Moorland section, as he had never heard of it. The highlight of this book was watching him afterward, searching the internet for more information. Additionally, I really loved that they italicised different words that you could find on the pages (i.e. ‘tiger’, ‘fish’, ‘the highest mountain’) which prompted me to help our toddler find the associated images on each page. I found this to help me interact more, especially due to the complexity of the writing. We had high hopes for this book, but unfortunately, this was a miss for us.
Tapestry Loom Project
I initially thought creating a loom was very disconnected from the book we had read, but after diving in a little further and going with the flow, I realized how I could integrate the two quite easily. We loved the colors and variety of the fabric, as well as the fact that it came from women in fair trade co-ops. At this point, we’d had taken a break for dinner and got re-energized to take on this project. Full disclosure: I did not read the directions thoroughly enough when I started stringing the loom together, so this did not turn out as it should have. I guess that’s the nice part about art and creativity - we can each visualize our project’s completion differently. I was VERY unfamiliar with how this process was supposed to work (apparently, the cardboard should not be apart of your masterpiece) but I wasn’t going to jeopardize ruining all the hard work he’d put in. Sometimes you’ve gotta roll with the punches! I do wish they would have included a photo of the finished project as guidance, but ultimately this was my mistake. Lesson learned!
Our two-year-old has tiny hands and fingers which, as you can imagine, are an asset when weaving a loom. His small motor skills are pretty on-point, but as you can tell from our previous activities, his attention span leaves something to be desired. Knowing what I was getting into, I lined the warp myself (admittedly, incorrectly) so we could get more time doing the fun part together. For those who are new to this type of craft, like me, here are a few definitions:
- Loom: An apparatus for making fabric by weaving yarn, thread, or other fibers (the cardboard)
- Warp: Threads that are strung vertically on a loom (the white strings)
- Weft: Threads that run horizontally on a loom and get women in front of and behind the warp (the colorful decorations)
Now that we’re on the same page, let’s move onto the creative part of the program. I found that the weft was one continuous string of different types of fabrics, so I decided that cutting them would be the easiest way for the little man to get them through the warp. We worked on the over / under pattern and got through quite a bit more than I anticipated. Once we got a few rows in, we added in a different color that looked like red dirt. Knowing that we had the pipe cleaners still available, we started telling the story that the bottom half was the dirt and we were going to have snakes and worms slithering on top of it. We pulled out the book and showed him photos of the rainforest, desert, and the outback habitats to help connect the two activities. Working with the pipe cleaners was certainly much easier for him and helped us make it ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE PROJECT! We used a green piece of fabric for the grass and ended up using it to hang the completed piece of art. I had him pick out a spot on his wall to hang it up. He thought it would be really funny to put the hippo head on top of it, so this is the newest decorative addition in his room. It kind of looks like the hippo is on his way to a fancy dinner, wearing a bowtie and a collared shirt - I like it! When we decide to work on this project again with the extra materials, we’ll get it right from start to finish.
The Verdict: I have to say that this was a pretty interesting box as compared to last month, but was leaning toward a moderate-to-advanced level of activity. The book itself was beautifully illustrated but difficult to understand. Although I appreciated the italicized prompts, I feel it was too advanced for the intended age range. I was a big fan of the art projects and had a lot of fun making them. Having this box arrive during springtime gave us the perfect opportunity to complete the projects outside and connect more to nature. I’m a hands-on, visual learner, so I would have liked to see more step-by-step photos on how to properly set up the loom and/or an example of the finished project. Weaving loom kits for kids range between $6-$12, so considering this project gives you enough material for two sets, I think the cost of this is justified. I know $39.99 per month is a bit of a stretch, but they do provide a well-rounded set of activities. I would like to see the book geared more toward the suggested age range in the future.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? From KidArtLit:
All orders placed between the 1st-14th are shipped on or around the 15th. All orders placed between the 15th-31st are shipped within 3 business days or as supplies last.
Value Breakdown: This box is $39.95 per month. The book retails at $16.99, leaving the remaining $22.96 to cover the materials and curated projects. Total retail cost for materials is around $16 (weaving loom kits approximately $8 each, ribbon $2, wooden rings $2 per pack), not far off for the remaining total. The fact that this was all put together in a neat package with directions and guidance, for me, makes the cost worthwhile.
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