I received a Junior Explorers sample kit for the purpose of this review. This post was made possible by Mom Spark Media. Thoughts are my own.
My fourth grader hates the zoo. I have no idea why, but he has always hated going to the zoo. Sure, he likes animals and he likes to watch TV shows about animals but actually going to the zoo to see animals - no way.
When I saw the opportunity to try Junior Explorers and write a review I thought this might be a great way to get my fourth grader invested in the animals at our zoo, without having to drag him there. Who knows, he might even want to go after we finished a mission.
The mission kit arrived and both kids tore into it with excitement! I did not tell them much about what it was so when I read the instructions that explain that they will be searching for the mama polar bear, online, they could not wait to get started!
As it happened, they could not start right away. I knew they would need at least an hour of uninterrupted time so I planned to do it on a Saturday but as luck would have it, we had a snow day!
The kit is meant for one kid, between the ages 5 - 11 years old, to complete but since baby girl is four and her brother was in a good mood, they shared. She did the maze in the activity kit and he read to her what was going on during the online mission.
As they completed the missions, it was her job to find the corresponding animal flashcard. Talk about great team work! He also let her help in the beginning as they got ready to go on the mission but drew the line at having a girl avatar.
More about Junior Explorers from the company:
How does it work? Kids complete ‘missions’ to explore different ecosystems and animals every month! Each mission includes both offline and online components.
1. Delivered home: Each month, Junior Explorers receive a kit in the mail. This kit is filled with activities, games, cool collectibles and a secret code. This code is used to unlock the monthly online component.
2. Learning online: Once kids log on and unlock their mission, they join Junior Explorers Kia and Kyle in solving a mystery about our planet. Through gamified learning, they follow an engaging narrative and complete games, while earns points and discover new concepts along the way!
3. Giving back: As kids play games online, they earn points that are turned into real donations to nonprofits such as the WWF and the Nature Conservancy. Kids are given a true experience in giving back to the animals and ecosystems they have just learned about!
My fourth grader finished the mission in a little over an hour but that is with helping his little sister and patiently waiting for her to help with some of the mission tasks. He enjoyed it and even asked about seeing the polar bears at the zoo, in the summer.
I appreciate that Junior Explorers gives back a percentage of its revenue to real conservation projects and have teamed up with Seventh Generation to jumpstart their initiative. I'm also impressed with the graphics, layout, and overall design of the mission site as well as how easy it was for the kids to use the touch screen to drag and drop and move along in their online adventure. Junior Explorers is a well thought out and executed online learning tool.