Little Passports: A Kid-Friendly Trip Around the World

*Sponsored* and ready to give away! (The product, not the child)… IMPORTANT UPDATE 11/27/2012

For a brief time, AK Fam lived in Charleston, South Carolina, where I tried mightily to adjust in a world very foreign to my Pacific Northwest upbringing. Big AK Kid entered fifth grade as the only student who had visited Canada, hiked around a volcano, and viewed the Space Needle. By contrast, however, he didn’t know much about the Civil War, southern manners, or Lowcountry Boil, and thus we spent our brief 18 months in the Palmetto State immersing ourselves in a culture and landscape we wished we had visited years earlier.

Fast-forward eight years, and Big AK Kid’s little brother is determined not to be so ignorant. Or rather, we adults determined for him, using a nifty product that might seem destined to be our next greatest travel tool. Little Passports has arrived in our mailbox.

Tons of hands-on fun in each Little Passports mailing!

Part game/activity pack, part geography curriculum, and all fun, Little Passports captures the colors and culture of our world through the eyes of Sam and Sofia, two fictional tweenagers who travel the globe on a hot little moped and try everything from funky food to the newest attractions, all the time paying close attention to history, language, and geography. Directed at the 5-12 demographic, Little Passports is a subscriber-only product that enables kids to learn about earth’s texture and inhabitants without the demands, and expectations, of geography class. Totally child-directed, Little Passports arrives in the mail every month, addressed to the young receipient, and manages to transport him or her to any number of destinations.

When faced with the option of ordering the World Edition, in which one new country per month is presented to kids, or the U.S.A. Edition, featuring two new states per month, we chose the U.S., hoping to nurture a desire by AK Kid to explore his own country in a more personal way, and thus generating interest to visit as many states as possible during his lifetime. Prices for both editions vary according to one’s order, ranging from $13.95/month for three-six months of mailings, or, the best deal, a lower $10.95/month for 12 months of U.S. fun. We chose a few months to begin our adventures, knowing we could always add more at a later date. Never sure how AK Kid will react to activities that look like schoolwork, I want to be sure before I buy.

The package arrived last week in a handy plastic envelope with the Little Passports ambassadors emblazoned on the front, and was called the Starter Discovery Kit, sort of a “lesson-before-a-lesson.” Inside was a colorful United States map that is a wonderfully bright way to see America, but sadly follows map-making tradition and places Alaska at the bottom, near Arizona (it’s okay, we’re used to it). Also included was a letter from Sam and Sofia, stickers, a great scratch art book, and – wonder of wonders, a real disposable camera! Photo scavenger hunting, we go, said AK Kid, and promptly followed directions to take a shot of himself for the travel journal, also included. However, he had no idea what the concept of “take to your favorite photo processor for development” meant, so I guess we’ll head out to explore that field trip soon. Meanwhile, snap! Flash! The child is taking pictures at a rapid rate.

The scratch book is by far the biggest hit for my busy eight year-old boy; AK Kid loves to sit in the car and scritch and scratch his way along the Oregon Trail, through Glacier Bay, and along the outline of the Liberty Bell. The Travel Journal still seems like work, but slowly he is warming to the idea of free writing that nobody, anybody, gets to read it but him. I am truly intrigued by this whole process, and can’t wait to see what December will bring as far as state exploration.

Scratching around the United States. Way fun.

We’ve been so busy with the actual hands-on activities that we haven’t yet checked out the online section, but since I’m looking toward Little Passports as a tool for Alaska travel, where internet isn’t always available, it’s not a huge component for our family. Is this product worth the cost of a few lattes? Definitely. Would I buy for a child who loves working independently, and who loves the idea of kids in other parts of the world? For sure. AK Kid’s self-jury is still out, but I’m thinking Little Passports might grow upon his impressionable brain, and become a valued part of his travel backpack.

Here’s the UPDATE part: So, we have an offer for YOU, AKontheGO’ers. You can join us and explore two months of Little Passports for FREE during the Little Passports/AKontheGO giveaway. Yes indeedy, you need only hustle on over to the AKontheGO Facebook page after you read this post, and leave a comment about why you want to win two FREE months of Little Passports geography goodness.  Simple, no fuss, and it just might lead your child to a whole new realm of worldly understanding. Heck, you might learn something, too.

NOTE: You have until Monday, December 10, 2012 to enter, which should give parents (or grandparents) plenty of time to win just in time for the holiday season!



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