For the past couple of years, we've ordered Tinker Crates and Doodle Crates from KiwiCo. Lately though, the Tinkers have gotten repetitive and not very exciting, and we were on the hook for about six remaining months of an annual subscription. (Doodle Crates have always been a hit). Luckily a couple of months ago Kiwi announced a new line called Atlas Crate which began shipping in July and we were able to switch over the subscription to the new crates.
The first crate to ship was the WORLD crate, and I suspect this would be the first one sent to any new subscriber, regardless of when they sign up. The crate arrived with a wall map, some info cards, and a small art project to build your own desktop globe. We were so excited to receive it back in July– we forgot to take any pictures! So here we are with the August crate for JAPAN.
The Japan crate contained:
• seven cards to add to the binder rings from the first deck
• a small round Japan sticker to add to the world map
• a very fun game called Daruma Otoshi
• and a make–your–own Koinoburi fish
The Daruma Otoshi is a traditional folk game played with a daruma doll in five pieces, usually in the colors of the rainbow. The game is played by using a small hammer to hit each of the colored pieces, from bottom to the top, without letting the remaining pieces fall over, until only the daruma head remains. We imagined it was like pulling a tablecloth out from a fully set dinner table, but without the danger of breaking anything but pride. The daruma included a sticker sheet of face options, and we opted to use both a happy face and sad face on either side.
We moved on to assembling the carp after battling it out with the daruma. This project started with a blank blue fish and about 20 scales in five different colors to lay out on double-sided sticky strips. The colored scales are applied in intervals and can be easily rearranged in whatever color pattern desired. After the fish is completed (both sides) a thin plastic insert helps hold the mouth open to give the fish some depth and allows it to catch some wind if it were hung outside. The word Koinoburi (鯉のぼり), means "carp streamer" in Japanese. The fish are traditionally flown in the spring to celebrate Kodomo no Hi (子供の日), which is Children's Day. The koinoburi are displayed in honor of children for a good future and in the hope they will grow up healthy and strong.
The Atlas website shows the next box will be Peru, and you get to make a fluffly alpaca and practice some weaving. It looks like the crates are getting better as the months go by and KiwiCo settles into this new line. The price point is just right for an afternoon of fun learning! (Click here to sign up and get $10 off your order!)
We especially were excited to receive the country of Japan as our first box, because we've recently begun exchanging pen pal letters with an entire classroom in Japan! The school is in Yokohama, which is the 2nd largest city after Toyko, and the capital city of Kanagawa Prefecture. If you're interested in finding a foreign penpal, check out Worldwide Home Education Kids Penpal Exchange on Facebook. Our penpals have come locally from Texas, Pennsylvania, and Wiconsin, and worldwide from Scotland, England, Malaysia, and Australia.