Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Preschool subscription smack down

I wasn't too impressed with day 1 of our "Berry Best Preschool" subscription.  I haven't looked ahead at all so I can only judge day by day....and today, day 2, was another bust.

It starts out so exciting, two activities organized into a little pouch with a theme...

Unfortunately,  the activities are just kinda dumb. The instructions say to have the adults cut out all the pieces - now I'm understanding why they sell a "pre cut" set for more $$$. I suppose I could try to have TC cut her own,  but scissors haven't gone well so far and I'm spooked. The learning activity was a worksheet - count the items and glue the number in the box. The cutting and gluing felt like unnecessary complications to make it a bigger activity. ..but it wasn't real educational or much fun. The artwork so far looks just like the mimeographed worksheets of my youth, these are NOT computer assisted I guess. Maybe that's whimsical.  It feels kinda slipshod.

Activity #2, the craft, was embellishing a snowy owl. Worksheet, 3 feathers, and a stick + feet to cut out and paste on. Eh. Meh. 

I felt like again this was more work for me than my preschooler, didn't occupy much time, and was very low quality.  It's not refrigerator gallery work. It came with just a couple facts about owls,  not enough to teach anything from, so I can't even really give it credit for being more educational. Carefree Crafts includes a set of facts about the month that are much more interesting and we'll curated.
and speaking of Carefree Crafts, they are KILLING IT this month. So much win. We're gonna do everything the first week and then be sad to wait for more. 
First up we stuffed a little teddy bear!  We were sent a bear "skin", fiberfill, and a little heart to stuff inside (like at build-a-bear workshop).  That went pretty smooth, then we didn't even have to stitch her up, it was velcro! Finally there was a little scrap of felt and a pattern to cut a vest, I did that and let TC color on it with markers for some additional mileage out of this craft. Her name is Pinky and she was a a hit:

2nd craft was to decorate a ladybug mailbox for Valentines.  This is exactly what I prefer in crafts right now for TC - stickers she can independently take the backing off (small motor skills + phenomenal practice with patience) nothing messy, no scissors or glue - and again TC loved it. Neither of these are projects we will keep forever but they will be played with some and ready to go once next month's projects come. 

If you are keeping track, Carefree Crafts is winning by a mile. I should be rationing the projects better since we only get 1-1.5 per week, but they are WAY more fun and interesting so far than the 6 per week we are doing with BBP. 

My Ipsy Glam Bag and Bijoux Box should arrive mid month, so we are just starting our subscription box odyssey.  Gotta do something to pass this long crazy winter! 

Monday, February 03, 2014

Berry Best Preschool Subscription + Other Crafting Meltdowns...

We had an utter craft-tastrophe this morning with at least a dozen mega meltdowns and a river of snot and tears, all caused by various craft frustration. Egads. It actually started with milk on the cheerios (I want it! No I don't! Now it's there! World is ending!) Three year olds are far from sensible (or maybe it's just mine who thinks the world is ending if I ask her to slow down, pause, or listen at any point), but this was a bit over the top. Scissors, stickers, coloring - it all just fueled the fire. Ugh.

Now that we've all calmed down (chocolate milk for her, Dr. Pepper for me, chocolate chunk cookies for all), here's a look back:

We're trying out a new monthly subscription sorta like our crafting one, this is from Berry Best Preschool and includes art + curriculum, supposedly a learning activity and a craft for each day. We ordered the 3 day a week subscription for February, and started it today. The "learning activity" was a worksheet to trace and practice making #9s. Sounds easy enough, and I'm pretty sure they do similar things at TC's daycare, so I didn't think twice.

Cue first meltdown.

I'm not sure what I did wrong here, but TC didn't want to follow directions, listen to directions, or allow me to demonstrate. It pushed her well over the edge into toddler tantrum territory. Not awesome. Also, she's terrible at making #9s, so I feel like I kinda failed too. Hmmm....

The "craft activity" was much more benign and one of the few things we accomplished today without tears (ahh, parenting....). It was a "puppet" to celebrate groundhog's day (which was yesterday, so kinda odd to make it today...). The package contained the groundhog printed on brown paper, and a paper bag. The instructions said to pre-cut the head and body of the groundhog, and allow kids to affix the pieces to the paper bag. I used some leftover glue dots (which I still hate, but were easier to use/cleaner than actual glue) and it didn't really feel like TC did much for this. Also, here's what it looked like:

Um....isn't the point of a puppet that the MOUTH looks like it is moving? this "puppet" splits head from body...WHY WOULD WE WANT TO DO THAT?!?!?! It makes no sense, and wasn't real fun to put together.

So, it's pretty early to judge this subscription, but day 1 was kind of a bust. I would guess we'll have a lot more tracing worksheets for the "learning activity" and I'm okay with that since it is a good thing to learn, but we'll have to come to a better working relationship with them (and each other). As for the crafts...very dubious so far. This one was sorta a dumb product AND not real kid-involved to make, so I give it pretty low marks.

Fingers crossed it gets better!