I don't often write about Caspar. He is seven years old and loves Minecraft and Soccer. His needs are pretty simple. However as he is in the sensitive period for culture (I haven't read about this but have noticed - I don't really know if there is such a thing!) I thought I would highlight a lovely product that we have been sent by The Adventurous Mailbox which taps into this interest and helps to meet his need to know more about the world around him.
Caspar loves learning about culture but in context. This makes sense right? It's how children learn. He doesn't want facts but a story. He wants to be engaged. This is why learning about culture through food is always such a hit! The Adventurous Mailbox sent Caspar a package including the eight pictured books.
First I should mention the packaging because it really is a highlight. It's also why this set would make a truly special gift for a child. The package comes from overseas, it comes in a large brown envelope, ours was addressed specifically to Caspar with all the fascinating international postage stamps and stickers attached. Caspar was beyond thrilled to find it on our doorstep!
The package includes a letter, a secret code for accessing the website, the book set which is again presented in a blue international postage type box. The letter sets the scene but it's the books that do the talking. The books are based around a fictional character who moves regularly internationally. It's really about all of their adventures and the adventures of their family and friends in all these different lands. The story is told in the voice of the child.
The books tie in so well with cultural and geographical studies (would be so good for homeschoolers!). Each book is set in a different country which has a map at the start, story in the middle and some facts (location, population, flag, language, religion, culture, people, food, animals, customs) about the country at the end of the book.
The text is recommended for children 8-12 years old. The main character in the book is twelve. Caspar has good reading skills at seven and can read the books independently but cannot read a lot in one sitting. This is the kind of book you can read out loud and over several days. I would recommend The Adventurous Mailbox for children seven and up - possibly from six for a child with very good reading and comprehension skills. I could easily see a child of 12 to 13 still very much enjoying this especially if they have travelled or have a sense of adventure. The books contain a lot of humour and Caspar certainly found it engaging and entertaining. The books have pictures throughout which are lovely and have a sense of authenticity to them.
The value I believe is in the books and in the story. The effort, the knowledge and obvious expertise that has gone into writing the books as they are so rich in culture, customs and language. The Adventurous Mailbox has a parents/teacher's website including a teachers lounge. I have been through the workbook with Caspar for book one and he was mostly interested in the crossword but the workbook is full of comprehension and worksheets. The workbook is thorough and has teacher notes. The children's website has areas still under construction - there are games coming, there is a forum however on the site Caspar was mostly interested in the character blogs - the first blogs he has ever read! The character blogs contain some interesting photographs and stories but nice and short.
The Adventurous Mailbox is an excellent resource for children from seven and up, especially those interested in culture, travel and adventure. It would make a delightful gift and would provide many hours of activity - ideal for the school holidays or homeschooling students. I can also see how well this could work in the classroom!
Thank you to The Adventurous Mailbox for this wonderful gift. For How we Montessori readers The Adventurous Mailbox has a special offer. The Adventurer Package is regularly $79 USD including shipping (this is less than $10 per book). To receive $10 off the Adventurer Package and free access to the Teacher's Lounge (regular price $20 USD) use the coupon code: MontAdventure (valid until 31st August 2015). The Teacher's Lounge upgrade needs to be in the shopping cart for the coupon to work and no other coupon codes can be used. Please let me know if you place an order - I'd love to know how your children find it.