We are on our second year of homeschooling with my daughter starting 1st grade and my son in Kindergarten. While I am a former educator (elementary art and special education), I still find myself struggling with the planning aspect of homeschool just a bit (I really miss my planning periods!). Fortunately, I have found that KiwiCo boxes can provide a perfect basis for a lesson, with just a little extra planning on my part. Read on to see how we turned our Kiwi Crate: Moving with Muscles Box into a complete lesson!
What is Kiwi Crate?
If you aren't familiar with Kiwi Crate, you can check out my previous reviews to get a more in-depth look, but just know that it is a box designed for ages 5-8 (although we have had success at younger ages too with a little extra parental support) that includes educational projects or crafts centered on a particular theme. They include just about everything that we need inside of the box, and they provide detailed instructions for how to complete each project so most of the time these boxes are simply an open-and-go experience.
This Month's Lesson: Moving with Muscles
Each box has this Explore! magazine, which provides educational information about the month's topic. This month we were exploring Moving with Muscles, so after giving us an engaging little comic that introduced us to the idea, they dove into some real-life examples of using your muscles along with some extra activities to help us explore the concepts. This whole booklet could easily add an extra day of lessons for us between the Rubber Band Arm activity (that utilized the extra pieces of our box), the Major Muscle Puzzle, and the recipe for making a protein fruit dip. There was even a little quiz at the back, which would be a great way to close out the lesson and check their knowledge!
How Did We Use This for Homeschool?
So how did we turn this box into a lesson? We started out sitting together and reading this magazine on the carpet where we do our read-aloud. Since we had two copies of this box, they were able to read along with me from the other magazine. We talked about the different types of muscles, then got up and actually moved our muscles, and once I felt they understood our concept of smooth muscles versus skeletal muscles, they went back to their desks and we got to work on the projects.
The second booklet that they included provided us with directions that included illustrations, step-by-step instructions, and even some extra information strewn in there.
Our first project was to make two kicking soccer players from the mix of sturdy wooden materials and plastic pieces provided. We also cut off the lid from our box and turned it into a soccer goal. This was great for their fine motor skills, and since there were illustrations for the different steps, it was easy for them both to follow along with the directions with just a bit of guidance from me.
These little soccer players with their kicking legs were a great way to demonstrate and think about skeletal muscles and how they move and what we can use them for.
They even got to have some fun playing an actual soccer game with the included ping pong ball. It's always so much more meaningful when there is some engaging play involved to really help the lesson stick!
There was also a second project which was to make and decorate their own bows and arrows.
These were simple to make, but again, another great way to utilize those fine motor skills, and definitely an activity with an end result they were excited about!
What I loved most about this activity was that it took the idea of using their muscles a step further! This time, instead of their soccer players using their muscles, they were the ones getting their skeletal muscles to move. We talked about the push and pull of their muscles, and how they were using them to shoot their arrows. Plus, it was just plain fun being able to do this for school!
Beyond the Box
While the box itself provided a great lesson, I decided to keep that momentum going, and I planned a second day of lessons around what we learned using materials that we had at home. I wanted to make sure that I reinforced the concepts that we had learned so I used this book for our read-aloud as we talked more in-depth about muscles. Then I used some pages from this book, and they completed a drawing activity where they were able to show different activities that would utilize those muscles. This lesson was not as long as the day when we did our box, but it was a great way for me to check their understanding, and see them apply their knowledge! Plus, they still had their creations from the day before to play with, so that helped to extend it further. As I mentioned before, I could have easily planned a third day of lessons if we completed the few activities in our Explore! magazine!
Can I use other boxes for these lessons?
Of course! You may be familiar with how many different lines KiwiCo has to offer:
- Panda Crate for 0-24-month-olds,
- Koala Crate for 2-4-year-olds,
- Kiwi Crate for 5-8-year-olds,
- Atlas Crate for 6-11-year-olds,
- Doodle Crate and Tinker Crate for 9-16+-year-olds,
- Eureka Crate and Maker Crate for ages 14 and up.
With such a broad range of topics for all ages, I would think that you could find lessons well suited to your child, depending on what you want to learn. We have successfully incorporated Kiwi Crate, Tinker Crate, Atlas Crate, and Doodle Crate boxes into our lessons and since they provide the main topics, it's usually easy to find other materials to supplement and support them. Kiwi and Tinker Crate both teach a lot of STEM concepts, while Atlas Crate is great for geography or world studies, and Doodle Crate is a great box for teaching varying art techniques and even varying mediums.
Depending on the age and attention span of your child, you could easily get several days of lessons out of each KiwiCo box. If you can find extra reading materials to support the topic and different activities or worksheets for them to complete, it's an easy way to reinforce the concept with just a little bit of planning on your part. The bulk of the work is done for you, and the engaging activities ensure that the lesson will be a memorable one! You also have a lot of freedom to make it as in-depth or simple as you'd like, which is great since every homeschool looks different.
Ready to sign up for a KiwiCo crate? Don't forget to take advantage of our special promos.
How do you use KiwiCo boxes in your home?