Friday, November 23, 2012

Be Left Holding the Bag...

Activity Bags is a company with a fresh approach to teaching your children at home or on the road, whatever the case may be.  Perhaps you have older children you need to focus on and also have preschoolers running around or begging to be taught right along with your older children.  Maybe you are traveling and need something to keep the kids busy while in the car or at Grandma's house for the holidays.  Activity Bags may just be what you have been looking for.  This company was started by two homeschooling moms who themselves were looking for ideas to keep their preschoolers busy.  After two years of testing and developing, they put together their first book, Preschool Activities in a Bag - eBook 1.  They now have several different eBooks available such as additional preschool ebooks, science ebooks for elementary grades, a math ebook, reading games, and travel games.  I had the opportunity to review the book you see to the left, Science Experiments in a Bag - eBook 2: Chemistry, Human Body & General Science.
You may be wondering why these books are titled " a Bag."  The idea is that a group of moms can get together and each be in charge of gathering the supplies for one activity or experiment.  All of the necessary items for that activity would be placed in a bag, each mom creating enough bags for all the moms in the group.  This way every mom would receive an activity bag for the activities assigned but not need to look for all of the items for every activity on their own, although this can certainly be done on your own if you are not interested in being part of a swap.  It will just take a bit more time to gather the necessary items and put them into bags, if you choose to organize this way.
These books are laid out very well.  They are easy to follow and provide thorough explanations for all activities.  There are many sections with questions and answers.  Most likely any question you'd have about this series of eBooks and activity bags would be answered in these sections, as it seems these are questions that have already been asked by other parents.  Here you can see an example of one of the activities in the science book.  It lists the supplies that are needed and gives very detailed instructions for assembling the bags.  An experiment label is included that provides the name of the experiment, the type, supplies provided and needed, and also provides a warning:
"WARNING: This activity may contain small parts and is not intended for children under 3 years of age. Supervision is required. Plastic bag may pose a suffocation hazard if placed over the head.  Before starting this experiment please do the following; ALWAYS wash your hands BEFORE and AFTER an experiment, ALWAYS work with an adult when doing any of the experiments in this book, NEVER taste anything in an experiment unless the directions say you can, and FOLLOW the directions exactly as it appears on your experiment log.  REMEMBER that some experiments take longer than others. You need to be patient and take your time. If you rush, you might ruin the experiment and have to start over. RECORD all your results thoroughly and completely. HAVE FUN!"  As you can see...very thorough.  If you choose not to use plastic bags for safety reasons, you can use large manila envelopes instead to hold all of the supplies.
The Science Experiments in a Bag - eBook 2 is geared towards grade K through 8 and includes 25 experiments for just $15.00.  Older children can do some of these by themselves.  Younger children will need the help of an adult.  This book works very well when used in conjunction with a chemistry, human body, or general science textbook.  "It is an introduction to the wealth of material in many other books available in libraries and bookstores."  The student learns how to use the scientific method and is provided logs for recording findings.  It is suggested that a binder be used for the logs when finished with each experiment.  This is a good way to hold onto all that data, especially if portfolios are required at the end of the year.  Another great thing about these science books is that they cause the student and/or parent to think of other experiments.  Perhaps the antifreeze experiment is done; the student may then want to see if another substance such as sugar has any effect on water freezing.  Answers to the questions for each experiment are also provided.  Science Experiments in a Bag - eBook 2 is also sold as a bundle with Science Experiments in a Bag - eBook 1 (which is Biology, Nature, and General Science) for just $27.00 (a savings of $3).
Each of the eBooks that Activity Bags sells is $15.00.  If you are interested in having a swap, the coordinator handbook is free.  This book will give you all the information you need to hold a successful swap.  There are also Daily Activity Journals with journaling activities, writing prompts, and games.  These sell for $15 a piece as well but are also sold as a bundle for extra savings.
At first glance, the activity bag idea seemed a bit confusing to me.  Once I really started researching, it all made perfect sense.  These two ladies want to provide the best experience possible for their customers.  They know what it's like to try to keep preschoolers busy, so they want to make life a little easier for other moms as well.  Everything is spelled out very clearly, and there are great experiments and activities.  They have been thoroughly tested by other moms and their kids.
If you do have further questions, you should not hesitate to contact Activity Bags.  Their email address is  The phone number is 303-288-0948.  If you would like to send them something by mail, their address is Activity Bags, LLC; 8090 Downing Drive; Denver, CO, 80229.
Go to the Schoolhouse Review page to read more reviews on the products sold by Activity Bags.
DISCLAIMER:  I received this product free of charge in order to provide an honest review of it.

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