Outdoor culture is important here in Colorado, and my husband and I want to raise our kids to be nature explorers and adventurers. Adventure without knowledge is foolish, so we try to help our children develop a deep understanding of nature and survival skills. We've sought out and tested different outdoor curricula to fit our outdoorsy needs, and recently discovered THiNK OUTSiDE BOXES, a monthly subscription box and nature curriculum that encourages a love for nature and teaches how to live in it responsibly.
I 'm thankful for this opportunity to receive THiNK OUTSiDE BOXES for free, since they're a perfect fit for our family. I received compensation for the time spent writing this post, but all opinions are my own.
Outdoor Subscription Box
We aren't using a nature study curriculum this year, and I had been feeling like I needed direction. I wanted my kids to not only learn about the natural world around them, but learn how to love it. THiNK OUTSiDE BOXES is a monthly subscription box for kids, perfect for outdoorsy families or those who want to be. Each month of this year-long subscription has a theme oriented around nature. We received two boxes: the campfire box and the nature box.
The boxes have 3-5 tools to help stock a nature survival backpack, as well as a guide packed with information and nature activities. The tools are not run-of-the-mill nature toys, they are high quality items that would be truly necessary to outdoor survival. A year-long subscription will ensure that your family is prepared for all elements of nature.
The guide that came in the box is well-done and something we keep coming back to look at and use. It is broken into several sections: Learn It, Try It, and Live It. The learn it section has information to read about each month's topic. This is well-organized writing that tells about a certain nature topic, or warns about dangers you might encounter outside. The "try it" section has activities that get your children thinking. Some of the activities are nature handicrafts, and some are intended to get your child up close and observing nature. The "Live it" section is shorter, and teaches children how they can apply what they're learning in nature.
Nature Box Crafts and Activities
When we opened our nature box in our backyard, the kids and I were immediately inspired to head out on an adventure. I loved that THiNK OUTSiDE BOXES had the ability to make us crave more outdoor time! So, we packed up and headed to one of our favorite nature spots.
This box has a bite and sting kit, and other nature tools like a magnifying glass (actual glass, not plastic!) and LED tweezers. Thankfully, we didn't encounter any insects or venomous creatures or biting insects that day, but the kids had a lot of fun acting out a snake-bite situation, taking turns with the venom pump. This was a great way to get my kids prepared for an emergency situation: should it happen for real, they'll know what to do!
Miss H and I worked on some of the outdoor activities in the curriculum guide. The guide is set up so that we can read a little, and then do a related activity. It feels like the perfect amount of reading versus activity. We read about trees, and then H searched out trees in the area and noticed their different qualities. There was a little graphic organizer in the booklet for this activity that she thought was really fun to fill out!
Miss H was a also excited to try a nature handicraft: making a braided bracelet from long strands of grass. She loves trying new crafts, and I love it when the supplies come directly from nature and not out craft cupboard. The activities in the guide are balanced between educational and skillful, a perfect combination to keep children learning and interested.
Related: Making the Most Out of Outdoor Play During the Early Years
The campfire box interested all of us, including my husband! The box came with materials for building a fire, like cotton for tinder and a fire striker. This all came in a little burlap bag for easy storage in the nature backpack. The guide has important fire safety information, which is crucial for young children to learn! We were also really excited about the fire extinguisher recipe in the guide. That will be something to keep handy on our next camping trip!
We don't have a fire pit in our new backyard (yet!) but it didn't stop my children from making a pretend fire according to the directions in the laminated flip book that came with the box. They spread lava rocks for the base of the fire, gathered tinder, and set up sticks in a little teepee shape.
THiNK OUTSiDE BOXES in Our Homeschool
With six "learn it" and "try it" sections in the nature box guide, we'll have more than enough to keep us learning and playing throughout the month. These days, we venture out somewhere rugged about once a week, so this curriculum is just the right amount for us. I plan to read the "learn it" section at home, and then bring our tools and the guide on our adventures.
Even though my younger kids don't need a nature curriculum at this point, this has been completely accessible for them, too. E (4) enjoyed reading the sections in the guide, and A (2) loved playing with the tools. The imaginative play that results has been so heart-warming to watch! I am thankful that THiNK OUTSiDE BOXES aren't geared towards a narrow age segment.
There are 12 themed boxes that will keep us exploring all year long. You can check out this worthwhile resource for homeschoolers here. Use the code HOME10 for $10 off of your order through 2019.
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