Fun

Little Passports

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We received a six-month subscription to Little Passports (for review) last year, and I’d meant to feature them on my previous blog. Unfortunately I experienced a technical glitch while transferring my phone pictures over to the laptop, and most of my Little Passports photos were corrupted and unusable thereafter.

Some background on Little Passports: It’s a subscription-based product that introduces kids to a new country every month. The two moms behind this were exposed to a variety of cultures as they were growing up, which motivated them to recreate these learning opportunities for other kids.

The reason I’m putting this up now is that we enjoyed the packages, and Z’s been badgering me to resubscribe. All pictures in this post are from the Little Passports web site.

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So here’s what you’ll get in the introductory Explorer kit.

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I remember being  impressed with this letter. First, it features a mixed-gender friendship–Sam and Sofia are the two kids that will ride along on each journey and provide you with a running commentary. Then there’s Aunt Charlie, with an androgynous name and the ability to repair scooters; potentially, she could be a wonderful role model for girls. (She is a recurring character.) And finally we have a boy, praising a girl for having a great idea, and going along with it. You can see that the focus here is on promoting healthy gender attitudes.

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Here’s a close-up view of the activity sheet. You’ll also receive a code to access Little Passport’s online learning activities, but Layla didn’t have time to try those out.

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This is an example of what you’ll find in each country-specific package, which you can expect to receive in the subsequent months. It’s not in-depth coverage–the purpose is to build awareness and spark curiosity about each country, and parents will have to do the rest of the work.

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We received the packages for Brazil, Japan, Australia, France, and Egypt. This excavation kit from our Egypt package was much appreciated–it was exciting for the kids and useful for me, since the digging took over 45 minutes.

v_2017033101.brazil-amethyst.jpgThis amethyst souvenir is from our Brazil package.

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This is from the Australia package.

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Each package includes a postcard; on the bottom right is the Uakari monkey, which I had to check the pronunciation for.

To me, Little Passports offers a light diversion, and it appeals to my space-saving sensibilities because everything fits in the suitcases they provided (in the introductory package). I tested some of the packages on the neighbours’ kids as well as my two; everyone plunged into the activities but no one asked me any questions pertaining to the souvenirs or the accompanying trivia. Perhaps we’re just not curious enough. :) That said, I think it’s the parent’s responsibility to extend the learning in accordance with his/her goals.

I should mention that Little Passports has gotten some negative press for the quality of their products. One of the handles on our suitcases has come off, and my kids are known for treating their belongings with care. There was also a View Master-inspired camera, where you could press a shutter button to view different scenes–Z’s camera stopped working fairly quickly, but that was probably his fault.

A 12-month subscription to Little Passports costs about USD200 with shipping, which is about SGD280. That’s an average of SGD23 per delivery. It’s pricey if you think you can do a much better job of assembling such country kits, but if you prefer to spend your time elsewhere, this is a way to introduce your kids to a simple pleasure that is fast becoming obsolete–snail mail. (The packages will be addressed to the kids.) There is a site-wide sale that ends on April 14, where I think you can score a USD25 discount on a yearly subscription. Find out more here.

p.s. If you’re wondering whether I would pay for this, yes, I wouldn’t mind going for a year’s subscription, as a treat for Z. I would definitely hold out for a discount though. I’m not purchasing this yet, as my budget for extras is limited and it would be frivolous of me to commit to this before I’ve fulfilled my moral obligation to aid those in need. At the same time, I’m wondering how inclusive Little Passports would be–but of course it would be in bad taste to feature countries ravaged by war and other upheavals, unless it was a complimentary package to raise awareness and encourage helping behaviour. Perhaps that would be a family project to consider.

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