Updated Nov. 16, 2013
There’s no doubt about it: military kids get around. Even my 3-year-old has lived in four states in his short life and driven through at least 22 in his travels between duty stations or while visiting far flung family.
The “get to see the world” perk of military life may be cliche, but it does tend to be true.
One of my favorite things about all the mandatory traveling we do as a military family is the opportunity to explore new places and the history and culture of each state we visit or live in. We make a point to visit all the nearby National Parks, pull over at Historical Markers and read up via one of our guide books on any small towns we drive through in our travels.
So you can imagine how cool I think this monthly kid’s exploration subscription kit I got in the mail last week is. “Little Passports” sends subscribers a monthly “discovery kit,” packed with information, activities and games surrounding the travels of two fictional characters – Sam and Sofia. The USA subscription examines two states a month while the World Edition highlights a different country a month (perfect for OCONUS kids!).
The first month’s USA kit includes a few broader US themed activities, a cool wall map and a disposable camera. During the following months kids receive a two-state travel journal packed with activities and a code for accessing more state-themed games and information on the Little Passports website. The World pack is similar, but instead of a camera the first month kit includes a mini suitcase, and the monthly kits focus on one country, not on two states.
The kits are aimed at kids between ages 5 and 10 (for the world kit) and 7 and 12 (for the US kit) … and I have certified this as true – all of it was totally beyond my smarty pants 3-year-old, although he did think the mini suitcase was pretty cool.
If you want to trick your military kid into learning in his off-school time, this may just be the ticket. The fun activities combined with expectation (because, hello, who doesn’t like to get mail?) may be just the selling point you need. If you home school this could be a fantastic supplement to your other social studies.
The only downside to this gift is the cost, which is the same for both kits. Mailing stuff isn’t cheap, after all (have you seen the price of a stamp recently? Geez!). Subscriptions range in cost from almost $14 a month (for three to six months, billed all at once) to almost $11 a month (for a year), with a $12 month-to-month subscription allowing you to cancel at any time.
Nonetheless, if your kid is a history and culture buff (or you want him to be), this may just be the gift for you. They do ship APO – but you won’t get the first package in time for Christmas. However, they can provide a card saying it’s coming. The stateside “order by” date is December 17.
In case you were wondering, I didn't receive any compensation from Little Passports for this snazzy review, other than a complementary copy of the product so that I could be sure it was as interesting in person as it sounded on paper.