Little Passports is a subscription box that helps kids explore the world through fun and educational activities and is one of the best subscription boxes for kids as voted by MSA readers. They offer a range of subscription options for ages 3-8+, as well as "Individual Activity Kits" that can be ordered along with any subscription at the time of purchase.
This review is of the Little Passports: Science Expeditions (recommended ages 8+) for $27.95. This box includes science experiments, plus a comic book related to the monthly theme.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we review boxes.)
Science Expedition: "Heart & Lungs"
As a self-proclaimed science buff, I have to admit I was probably way more excited about this month's theme than the kids initially were. Working in a lab, anatomy was my jam, and though I have "retired" from that profession and have veered off into the direction of education, I can't help but like to reminisce about the good old days where I would receive wound cultures, pleural fluid, and blood samples on the daily. As soon as the boys caught a glimpse of the materials included, they were totally on board, and couldn't wait to get started. Read below to see what type of projects we received in our "heart and lungs" theme!
Heart & Lungs Comic and Activity Book
Every month, Little Passports sends our monthly activity along with a really fun comic and activity book pertaining to the monthly theme. It was all about heart and lung function including a description of how these muscles work together, some really neat trivia (did you know a blue whale heart weighs about 400 pounds?!) and includes a word search, glossary, and awesome descriptive diagram as to the process they undergo to keep us alive. Very informative and depicted in a way that was easy to understand - perfect for adults and children alike.
This month's comic was really cool and described exactly what we needed to know for the projects. Hank snugged up on the bean bag chair and was able to explain to me how a diaphragm works and that when the diaphragm has spasms, we get hiccups. Cool stuff!
Heart & Lungs Instruction Guide
The themed comic book is a great prelude to the month’s experiments, and the boys couldn’t wait to dive in. Because there were two different projects, we decided each kid got to create one on their own via a good old-fashioned game of rock, paper, scissors to see who was in charge of the heart, and who was in charge of the lungs. Almost all of this month's necessary supplies were included which was a bonus. The only item I really wish they would have sent is the food coloring, but we made do without.
Separating our project materials by experiment, Hank decided to work on the "Beatin' Heart" first. Utilizing a heart and lung board, zip ties, tubing, balloons, and syringe, he was able to create a really neat interactive model of how blood pumps in and out of the heart.
Project 1: "Beatin' Heart"
Hank started this project by carefully reading through the directions, as there were quite a few steps. Using the zip ties, he threaded them through the appropriate holes, carefully latching them into place. Once the blue ties were complete, he followed the diagram and secured the tubing as described, followed by the red portion.
Once the tubing and zip ties were properly attached, he added the balloons via zip tie to the end of the tubing, adding 20 mL of water to each side. Hank enjoyed this step the most and couldn't wait to try pumping the blood. Because we weren't at home when completing this, I couldn't add food coloring but thought it turned out really cool even without. Hank laid this project out beside the labeled diagram and recited what parts of the heart were used, helping him grasp a bit of anatomy all while having fun.
Our next project included almost all of the necessary supplies to create our lung model such as a plastic bottle, balloons, bottle cap, clay, lung sticker, tubing strips, and a straw. We needed to supply a pair of scissors, masking tape, and a ruler, which I felt to be pretty standard.
Project #2: "Pumpin' Lungs"
Charlie was the creator of the lung model, and let me tell you, he just couldn't wait to get started. Give that boy balloons and a sticker and he is happier than a clam! Check out how well his hard work paid off below!
I have to say, I was quite impressed with how well Charlie did with this project. Because this box is geared to kids 8 and up, I was a little worried he would struggle, but his nimble little fingers created this with ease. Taping balloons to the tubing, he then inserted them into the straw, eventually adding more tape for security. Inserting the straw through the hole in the bottle cap, he formed a volcano-style mound around the area where the straw meets to prevent air from escaping. Do I have a future surgeon on my hands?
Clipping the top of the balloon, we added the knotted balloon to the end of the bottle representing the diaphragm, taping it into place. Placing the lung sticker on the outside of the bottle, his lung model was complete. When you gently pull and push the end of the purple balloon, you can see how the balloons inflate and deflate, representing how the diaphragm's contraction creates a vacuum causing your lungs to expand. Way neat!
Heart & Lungs Badge
After we completed our activities, we were awarded the Heart & Lungs Badge, as a tribute to our hard work and play!
After being a bit disappointed with the quality of last month's Catapult kit, I am happy to report that Little Passports rocked it with their Heart and Lung theme. Not only were the two projects perfect to split evenly between my kids, but the models, explanations, and quality of both representations were awesome. Charlie has been hauling both models around in his backpack, showing anyone that will give him the time of day how a diaphragm works, which is pretty cool to see. I still think the $27.95 price point is a bit steep, but feel with these supplies, the educational aspect, and the longevity of these models, feel like it is a bit more on par than some of the other kits. I can't wait to see what theme we receive next month!
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To Wrap Up
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? You'll start with the Forensic Science box in the first month, followed by a different themed box each month thereafter.
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