There’s only so much time in a day! What can children do who are learning virtually from home, or need to do a little extra work after school? What about kids who are going to be doing some work over the summer to prevent the “summer slide” of academics? Activity kits and workbooks are perfect for these scenarios and more!
As a parent and a teacher, I am familiar with School Zone workbooks. I know students and family members who have used them in the past, and I used them with my own two children while they were in preschool to help get them ready for kindergarten. I also turned to them last year when we shut down because of COVID-19, to supplement what my kids were doing virtually. Even though I was already familiar with these workbooks, it was exciting when I received a Big Kindergarten (Spiral Bound)workbook to try with my son who is in kindergarten. The spiral binding creates a lay-flat work surface, and because this workbook is well designed and colorful, he enjoyed flipping through the pages and checking it out. First, I let him pick a few pages to try, and then over the next few days I assigned pages for him to complete. The book is organized by subject area, which makes assigning pages extremely simple. Parents will find it easy to navigate, and answer keys are provided in the back of the book, which is always helpful for quick checking!
As a teacher, I really appreciate how the activities covered in the workbook pages are essential topics in the curriculum. I encourage parents to use workbooks over the summer months, as well as extra support for a child who needs it during the school year. And these are hands-down the best on the market. They are thick - many concepts are covered in one book. The nice thing about workbooks is that children can work at their own pace at the times that work best for them. It requires minimal planning for the supervising adult!
I also received Oba’s Kindergarten Learning Pack to try. I was not familiar with this pack but quickly became impressed. My son loved exploring when I first opened it, and we are working through the many activities together. As a parent and teacher I want my students and my own children to learn by using hands-on, engaging activities that can be applied to the content area. I’ve never met a parent who didn’t want their child to love learning, and this learning pack helps with all of this!
It has a lot of items including a Meet Oba DVD that has 6 episodes of Charlie & Company, School Zone’s original video series. There are sturdy, colorful manipulatives that you punch out and use as game pieces for multiple games that are fun and engaging. Fine motor skills improve as kids manipulate objects, cut with safety scissors, and also write on workbook pages that can be slipped into a sleeve for re-use. The Learning Pack comes with a workbook that has different pages than the BIG Kindergarten (Spiral Bound) workbook, so these two items could be used together easily.
The Learning Pack also has three different sets of cards: sight word flash cards, rhyming cards, and quiz cards. I appreciated that the sight word flash cards are common words used in many early reader books. All of these cards are colorful and double sided. The rhyming game was fun, and there are multiple ways to play. The quiz cards are interactive, allowing the child to place manipulatives on them to help solve the problem. Overall, the learning pack had easy-to-follow directions for all of the activities, making it simple for both kids and parents. I liked that the set came with a whiteboard marker, pencil, and kid-friendly scissors that really expand the possibilities. The two early readers that came with the pack were fun for my son to read. I like that it includes one fiction and one non-fiction text. Another great feature of this pack is that all the items fit inside, and it can be folded up and carried around wherever you go! It also has a zippered case to hold the smaller items. This learning pack is convenient and easy to manage, and all the concepts covered are perfect for helping young learners in a fun way.