When it comes to learning, I always believe that hands-on interactive learning makes all the difference. So when I got the chance to review Junior Explorers, I jumped at the chance.
Junior Explorers is an educational monthly subscription program for kids aged 6 and up to learn about wildlife, nature and the environment by using innovative and interactive mediums which gives them a holistic learning experience.
The subscription has two components to it, an offline Mission Kit that is delivered to your home every month and a corresponding monthly online experience.
For our first Mission Kit, we received a cardboard box with a Junior Explorer sticker. This was a trunk to store our monthly missions that came in an envelope. Inside our envelope, it contains
- A welcome letter from Kia & Kyle to the Junior Explorers club with an official ID card
- Themed stickers to decorate the trunk
- A Biomes of the World map and a handy Field Guide
- Wristband and pin, fun collectibles for each month
- Temporary tatoos
- Junior Explorer waterbottle to remind the young explorers to stay hydrated
After going through the physical materials, we logged on for the online part of the mission with our password to get access to exclusive online content. The site is easy to navigate and my six-year-old didn’t need much assistance from me as there are simple instructions with audio narration to guide her.
After choosing her avatar, she’s off to explore the different biomes. Along the way, there were fun and interactive games and quizzes that tested Sophie’s knowledge on the habitats that she’s learnt.
First Mission – Mission Arctic
As we also received our first Mission Kit shortly, Mission Arctic, here’s a preview of it.
Our task as a Junior Explorer is to help find find the polar bear cub’s mother so that the family can be reunited.
The content for our first mission was similar to the Welcome Kit, but this time it included post cards, a factsheet of the habitat and climate we can expect and animal cards that gave us informational facts to learn about the creatures that we will encounter on our mission.
When we went online, we had to select the appropriate gear for our mission and get movin to look for the polar bears mother.
There were a series of games, from puzzles to interactive learning and that’s when the flashcards comes in handy to supplement and compliment the learning with facts and information about the animals as the kids and try to solve mystery challenges thrown their way.
Upon completing the mission, Sophie received her Certificate of Achievement that allowed her to personalise it and I can see the pride on her face as she typed her name away. The online portion took about an hour to complete and it’s a good idea to remind your child to take a short break in between to give their eyes a rest from the screen.
But before you log off, there is a section called Mission Giveback, whereby children get to donate their points gathered during their missions to either the World Wildlife Fund or Nature Conservancy which the company will turn into actual monetary donations. I think it a fantastic idea to educate our little ones about nature and wildlife conservation and how they can play a part.
Finally, Sophie completed the last section for the mission, the Activity Book, which had crossword puzzles, spot the difference and other games which she tackled with ease.
Review of Junior Explorers
To be very honest, I had some inital reservations when I heard about the online portion for the mission as I wasn’t keen for Sophie to get too much screen time. But after having gone through it with Sophie, the rich content of it had me sold as it was presented in an engaging and interactive manner which complimented the learning.
In addition, the quizzes made Sophie pay close attention to the narration and there was a ownership for her learning as she wanted to ace at the quiz. The physical materials like the factsheets and flash cards had interesting and fun nuggets of information that young kids can easily understand and share with their friends. And of course, the little toys, tattoos and stickers makes it a delight for young kids to look forward to their next mission.
With Sophie going to Primary One next year, I can see how this helps her develop independent learning where she’s encouraged to read and find out things on her own. And the use of the computers will no doubt be inevitable in this day and age, so having this bit of exposure helps her be more confident when she needs to use the computer for school work in the near future.
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