I got in contact with Dot to Dot Connections because their Instagram feed is full of activities to do with children that seem fun and educational, and they sent me their “Making Tracks Connections Box.”
WHAT’S IN THE BOX?
|This is what you see when you first open the box.|
I had no idea that I would be getting so many activities in one box!
|The envelope that says “Thank you!” contains the activity instruction cards and a book.|
All of the activities are clearly explained on small cardstock sheets and all of the items needed for each activity are neatly packaged and labeled inside the box.
|Look at how beautifully organized this box is!|
There are nine different activities, but this box could easily last you two to three weeks if you spread out the activities. We did three activities every week, so this box lasted us about three weeks.
MY REVIEW OF THE ACTIVITIES
Leia is only three years old and she loved all of the activities, but I’ll only go into detail about her top two favorites just so you get an idea of what you’d be getting in this box.Leia’s second favorite activity consisted of reading the book, “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats. The card with the instructions suggests some questions to ask the child as you’re reading. Leia listened attentively to the story and really answered all of the questions that I asked her. Then, came the messy/fun part. She got to mix her own snow and make patterns in the snow with a small wooden effigy of Peter (the main character in the book) and wooden sticks included in the kit. Leia still occasionally tells me (more than four weeks later), “I want to do the activity with Peter in the snow.” In fact, I was looking at the Dot to Dot Connections Instagram feed a couple of days ago where they’d posted a picture of this activity, and she pointed to the little wooden figure and smiling said, “Peter!” These two Floridians really enjoyed this activity!
|How cute is this wooden figure of Peter?|
|Leia loved getting her hands dirty.|
Leia’s top favorite activity was making her own tracks in the sand! The kit comes with foam shoes and animal prints that you can use to make your own animal prints in the sand. It took me a while to figure out how to set up this activity because I’m not a big fan of mud, and we can’t really make any in our yard because it’s all sodded, so I had to dig into the recesses of my brain to find an old Pinterest hack that did just the trick. I got a plastic storage box and filled it a little more than halfway with sand. We patted down the sand and smoothed it with our fingers and Leia walked on it with her foam shoes. She made some beautiful impressions and we talked about what kind of animals make these kinds of prints and where these animals usually live. Not only did this activity teach Leia how prints are made in the sand and dirt, but it opened up a conversation about where certain animals live. Another bonus was that she played in that sand for hours and hours after we finished this activity. She kept asking to go outside and play in the sand. When she plays in the sand she gets lost in her play and that’s exactly the kind of play that children need in order to work things out psychologically and even educationally.
|She knew she was going to have some fun.|
|How perfectly did this deer print turn out?|
|She liked wearing the shoes on her hands.|
ABOUT DOT TO DOT CONNECTIONS
Linda is the founder of Dot to Dot Connections. She’s a retired teacher with over 30 years experience. She has two adult daughters and worked with at-risk students. She noticed that all students want is to have a connection with the adults in their lives; hence, the name of her company. Linda hopes that these activity boxes will help parents connect with their children in meaningful and memorable ways, and that’s exactly what the “Making Tracks Connections Box” did for Leia and I. We did the snow activity back in December and mentioned in February that she wanted to play with Peter in the snow again.
DOT TO DOT CONNECTIONS MISSION AND WHY I REACHED OUT
The Dot to Dot Connections website says, “No more searching through Pinterest for the perfect activity. We’ve done that for you and provided all the materials you will need so that you and your child can relax, have fun together and re-discover the joy of childhood.”
What really drove me to reach out to Linda was when I read the following on her website: “Each purchase of a Dot to Dot Connection box or a subscription will provide a donation to a family in need, along with training in how to effectively use the materials with their children. We partner with different agencies in our community to identify these families.”
I don’t often talk about this, but I have an anecdote that made Linda’s mission and product really resonate with me on a personal level. My third-grade teacher probably had the biggest impact on my academics than anyone (other than my parents). I always did my homework and my mom always helped me. I always did my work in class, but I never really considered myself an excellent student. I saw myself as average, but Ms. Wooten believed that I could handle the work in advanced classes. She believed that I was capable of a higher level of scholastic performance than the one that I was being put into by the school system. She saw something in me that I hadn’t even seen in myself. She believed in me and that gave me the self-confidence and conditions to succeed in my academics. I went on to be in honors classes in middle school and passed some advanced placement classes in high school. I went on to graduate from Florida International University and got a Master’s Degree in psychology from Barry University. Ms. Wooten believed in me and played a huge role in my academic success. That is why I can say from personal experience that an adult who works with you, spends time with you, and believes in you can make all the difference.
From my studies in psychology, I can say that early intervention with children can make all the difference in their futures, and this is why I admire Linda and what her company stands for. An activity box donated to an at-risk family not only provides a way for parents to bond with their children, it gives them the message that someone cared about them enough to give them this gift that will help them learn and bond with their parents on a level that perhaps they’ve never experienced before.
|This is another activity we did together. It was a matching game. We had so much fun doing all of these activities!|
Since the Dot to Dot Connections Making Tracks Connections Box includes nine activities and comes with most of the items needed to complete them, you’re saving time and money if you purchase this box. The activities are beautiful and enjoyable for a wide age range. (Leia is only three years old and was able to enjoy most of the activities in the box.) This box will not only provide you with the opportunity to bond with your child by engaging in fun activities with them, but you will be providing the same opportunity to an at-risk family and that can make all the difference in the life of an at-risk child. I look forward to supporting Dot to Dot Connections by buying activity boxes for birthdays and holidays to come.
See you next time, lovelies!