The Creature Crew – Deciduous Forests
On a recent family trip to the Outer Banks in North Carolina, we learned that Dare County, NC, has the largest concentration of black bears in the Southeast. There are over 20,000 of them in our state (North Carolina). The bear warning signs near the Wright Brothers Memorial kept us well aware of this fact!
So, when we received The Creature Crew Deciduous Forest science kit, it was fun to learn more about black bears.
The Creature Crew science subscription boxes are designed for kids ages 5-10. We have studied a great deal about animals during our homeschooling years, would The Creature Crew boxes teach us something new? (spoiler alert: YES!)
Features of The Creature Crew Subscription Boxes
These hands-on kits incorporate more than just science; each kit integrates multiple subjects, including:
- Research and “digging deeper”
- Hands-on science activities
- And, of course, food activities.
We prefer this hands-on, unit-study-like approach to learning at the elementary grade level, as it immerses our children in the topic. Plus, it works well for various learning styles and provides our children with an opportunity to discover the world around them via a tactile and visual approach.
The Contents of the Kit
Let’s take a closer look at what comes with a Creature Crew science kit subscription because these animal themed hands-on science kits are a departure from other science kits we’ve used. The activities and supplies in the box provides children with an opportunity to engage with the information in a variety of ways. This brief video tour highlights contents of the ocean-themed kit we received.
What Is Actually In Each Creature Crew Box?
This is our work area prepped for the Creature Crew ocean-themed science kit. We did provide the jar, measuring cup, paints, and food coloring–all items we quickly gathered from our kitchen and craft shelf.
Aren’t those finger puppets cute? Think of all the ways your young learners can use those to talk about what they’ve learned about the ocean and ocean animals. After the unit, have them put on a puppet show about ocean creatures or the layers of the ocean!
The first installment of The Creature Crew subscription arrives with a Habitat Map of the World and a notebook.
A large wall map and a notebook? Yes, thank you!
These are two of my favorite homeschooling supplies. (We have notebooks full of animal drawings, detailed robot drawings, science experiments completed from library books.) We have owned A LOT of science kits (I used to own a science kit company), and this is the first kit that included a notebook.
We used the map to:
- Determine what type of habitat we live in.
- Find the areas with the widest variety of habitats.
- Compare the habitats found close to the Equator and the habitats found at the North Pole and the South Pole.
Stickers are included to use with the map to have your child place the stickers as they read through the facts and information cards included in the kit. The stickers are another way to help children retain the information and is a tactile way of learning.
The Creature Crew Notebook and Information Cards
Notebooks are a great way to turn your child’s schoolwork into a keepsake. The first installment of the Creature Crew subscription box you receive comes with a notebook.
BEAUTIFUL information cards come with each kit to put in notebook. The cards are written in a conversational voice at the student’s level and present facts and data in various formats, including maps, graphic organizers, QUALITY photos, charts, bulleted lists.
This 20-second video provides an up-close view of the information cards.
How we present facts, figures, data, and information to students is important because our children have different learning abilities that may require a more visual presentation at times.
And let’s be honest, it can overwhelm kids (and adults!) when faced with a page just full of text. Visual interest is important to remain engaged in a lesson.
The cards contain information which may cover:
- Life cycle
- Animal classification information
- Physical features
- Physical adaptations to protect themselves from predators or to survive changes in weather
- Physical characteristics that are unique to the animal
- Fun facts
- And gorgeous photos.
The information cards are about 9″ x 12″, laminated, and VERY durable. Since the cards reside in the notebook, this is a resource to refer to for years to come.
I can see adding this notebook to our homeschool shelves and using this notebook as a research tool for future assignments.
The Awesome Surprise in Each Kit
Each Creature Crew science kit comes with a fun surprise inside. I don’t want to ruin the surprise for each box, but I will disclose just one.
We received this very cool iguana nightlight. The light changes color when the base is tapped! What a fun way to remember what’s presented in the kit about how and why ignuanas change color. No doubt, everythime our kids see that lamp, they’ll be able to explain why iguanas change color.
The Activity Guide
What’s in the guide:
- A note from the Creature Crew
- Science activities with a materials list, instructions, photo, and brief explanation of the purpose of the activity
- Review questions that correspond with the information in the booklet.
- A research activity or a nature scavenger hunt
- Instructions for the craft activities and snack activities
- Answers to any comprehension questions
Science is all around us, and the science goal for preschool through sixth grade should be to get our children discovering. We want our kids to love learning; a love for learning will serve them well throughout life.
We want to encourage their scientific curiosity.
This is what I like about the Creature Crew subscription boxes; they incorporate a variety of activities that engage children through science experiments, crafts, going outside and observing nature, researching information in books, and mapping. The kits even integrate fun food activities to help children remember the features of animals and habitats.
Getting our children in the kitchen can create an interest in food and cooking. It can expand a child’s food palette and working through recipes can build math and comprehension skills. Plus, they will find it rewarding to share their yummy creations.
So, let’s take a look at the first box we did.
The Creature Crew Subscription Box – Deciduous Forest
This kit explores trees and animals that are found in a deciduous forest.
The information cards are packed with fascinating information and facts. Did you know that not all black bears have black fur or that owls hear 10x better than humans?
It’s not just facts either; there are explanations about the design of each animal’s body and how it helps the animal survive.
The graphic organizer explaining the level of consumers in a deciduous forest food web is especially interesting, and the visual presentation makes it easy for younger learners to understand the concept of a food chain.
Again, the Creature Crew creators do not water down the information. The writing style is conversational, which children in the target age group can relate to, but the kit authors introduce vocabulary and concepts, like ultrasonic hearing.
We did make a vocabulary list while reading, which also doubled as a spelling list, and added it to the notebook. As we read through the information cards and Activity Guide, we added words to the list.
The activities in this box included:
- A leaf identification activity that requires students to do some research (with parental help since it is online.)
- A reading comprehension activity
- An owl craft
- An owl pellet dissection (We had a blast with this activity!)
- Information about turtle rescue effort
- A food-based crafts that help kids remember, in a very tactile way, the animals covered in this kit.
What Makes The Deciduous Forest Creature Crew Science Kit Unique
There were 3 vole skulls in our owl pellet. We could clearly identify the mandible. In addition, there were lots of vertebrae.
We created a spelling and vocabulary list from the kit; many of the words were the names of bones from the bone identification chart in the Activity Guide. That’s what I like about these kits; the activities provide a visual anchor for what is covered on the cards and in the Activity Guide. It’s easier to remember a mandible or vertebrae and what it does when you get to dig one out of an owl pellet!
Every detail of the kit is well-thought-out and takes into consideration the age group and the way children learn. If your child loves to read, the cards are perfect for them. If your child is a more visual learner, the map, illustrations, photos, and graphic organizers are ideal for them. And if your child is a kinesthetic (hands-on) learner–oh, yes, there’s plenty of hands-on in Creature Crew boxes. Most children, are a blend of learning styles, and this is why these kits are different. Typically a science kit has supplies and instructions. The Creature Crew boxes have the mapping, the rich photos, hands-on activities, writing activities, cooking activities, science activities, and craft activities.
The Deciduous Forest kit centers on a science theme but incorporates geography and mapping, art, reading, and reading comprehension. We added vocabulary and spelling lists from the information cards.
Of course, the owl pellet dissection added the “oh, cool!” factor to the whole experience. My daughter put the three skulls in her Riker display box so she could keep it safe for years to come.
I really like that the kits incorporate lots of good science information and art activities; a true STEAM experience!
Ways to Incorporate the Deciduous Forest Crew Kit Into Your Homeschool
After using and reviewing the Deciduous Forest kit, here are the ways it can be used:
- Add this to a nature study or backyard nature study. If you don’t have a wooded area near you or as part of your yard, visit a local park or state park.
- Stand alone as a special science day during the time between kits.
- Add it to a mammal or bird study
- Add it to a bear study
- Make it a co-op with each family purchasing a subscription, then get together to do the activities
- Studying food chains and food webs? This kit would be a fun addition to your study.
- Visit a birds of prey rescue facility (that is open to the public).
These kits also make ideal Christmas or Birthday gifts from other family members looking for educational and unique gift ideas.
How to Get More Information About The Creature Crew Subscription Boxes
If you are looking for ways to help engage your child, check out The Creature Crew, a kid’s subscription box about animals. Each month is full of hands-on activities, crafts, science, and recipes. It is a great way to have hands-on learning delivered to your family every month.
To learn more and view all of the science kits The Creature Crew offers via their subscription service, visit their website.
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