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    children's books, subscription boxes

    OwlCrate Jr. Middle-Grade Subscription Box for Kids 8 – 12

    I just love a delightful book subscription box, do you?  I enjoy subscription boxes like the OwlCrate Jr. Middle-Grade box because they often offer unique educational experiences or products you would not find elsewhere. I also think book subscription boxes can give kids of all ages the chance to learn by reading terrific books, doing hands-on projects, crafts, and activities.

    I like to use the books we receive in subscription boxes to help enhance my kid’s language and reading skills.  This is especially true for the OwlCrate Jr. box since it is designed for readers of any gender ages 8 to 12.  The books they feature are great for readers who are ready to read books independently with higher word counts and more advanced vocabularies than picture books or easy reader chapter books.  Their books also make fun read-alouds to read together as a family!

    Each box includes a hardcover middle grade novel; an exclusive letter and signed book or bookplate from the author; a fun activity, game, or additional book; a collectible monthly sticker, plus an assortment of fun goodies related to their theme of the month.

    We received two boxes to explore: Creativity Conquers All and Wondrous Worlds.  Each box was jam packed with bookish goodies: books, bookmarks, a tin suitcase, bookplates, watercolor paint set, notepad, postcards, and more!

    In addition to the books, my daughter’s favorite items are the bookish tin suitcase (she plans to use it to store some art supplies), the metal bookmark and an iron-on literary patch.  My son’s favorite items are the watercolor paint set and the custom pencil carrying case.  My favorite item is a metal tassel bookmark designed by @theindysign featuring a quote from Neil Gaiman: “Wherever you go, you take yourself with you.”

    Since the kids are still on summer break from school, they want to send hand-written letters to a few of their friends and family members using their new fold and mail stationery designed by @boygirlparty.

    The tin suitcase was inspired by some of OwlCrate’s favorite literary locales.  It is designed by @annelambelet.

    I think I’m going to keep the iron-on Literary Voyager merit badge patch designed by @erin_gibbs for myself…it’s just so cute!

    The August 2021 theme of the month is: Moonlight & Stardust!

    What’s in it for YOU?
    Our friends at @owlcratejr were kind enough to offer a discount code to anyone in my audience who may want to try their box.  Use code HEREWEEREAD15 at checkout to save 15% off your first box!  Please note: (This discount code is only applicable to subscriptions and gifts, not past boxes or items in the shop.)

    Your turn: Have you tried the OwlCrate Jr. subscription box yet?  Do you have middle-grade readers who you think will enjoy this box?

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    children's books, subscription boxes

    KidArtLit: A Bookish Process-Art Subscription Box for Kids

    KidArtLit Subscription Box for Kids Ages 3 - 8

    In addition to reading books, my kids and I love doing art and craft projects at home. So, it’s no surprise that we thoroughly enjoy subscription boxes like KidArtLit. KidArtLit provides children with a unique literary experience combining stories with art. I love that this box allows children to explore words, process art, colors, and design all at the same time! In addition, it provides opportunities for children to imagine, create, observe, think, and explore what is beyond the pages of the book included in the box.

    KidArtLit was started in 2017 by Julia and Megan, two longtime educators and moms to young families. Today, the KidArtLit community has grown to over 20,000 parents, educators, and booklovers. Their box is recommended for kids ages 3-8 and contains a hardcover picture book and your choice of one or two process-art kits.

    In our box, we received a copy of the picture book Bubbles Up! and two process-art kits to make chalk-printed postcards and coral reef bandanas. Both projects turned out so well and we had such a wonderful time creating them in the process.

    First, we read the book and then took a deeper dive to work on the art projects and go beyond the book. So cool that the art projects and the themes of bubbles and water correspond so well with the book.

    In addition to being a high-quality box, there is so much to love about KidArtLit and what they stand for. They are a mom-owned business, they employ people in their local community, they give back a portion of their sales, and they partner with women-owned businesses to source their books and art materials.

    Here is a little more information about KidArtLit and how their subscription box currently works:

    Step 1: Join by choosing a subscription and term that works well for you or your family. They have different plans to choose from.

    Step 2: Your box is delivered right to your front door. Open it up to start reading and creating!

    Step 3: Build a ritual and get into the habit of receiving new activities and books each month! There is NO commitment or pressure to keep your subscription going. Cancel anytime.

    If you’re interested in trying KidArtLit for your home or school be sure to check them out and tell them Here Wee Read sent you. Happy creating!

    Your turn: Have you tried this subscription box yet? Feel free to share in the comments.

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    parenting, subscription boxes

    Wildgrain Subscription Box: The First-Ever Bake-From-Frozen Subscription Box for Clean Carbs

    Are you looking for clean and high-quality carbs for your family with ingredients you can actually pronounce? Enter Wildgrain. The first-ever bake-from-frozen subscription box for clean carbs.

    One of my goals this year is to eat healthier focusing on foods with clean ingredients that also have nutritional benefits. That’s why I’m so excited that I discovered Wildgrain Box! Have you heard of them yet? Each Wildgrain Box includes ready-to-bake frozen breads, pastas and pastries all delivered to your door with FREE shipping!

    Customers receive a Wildgrain Box by default every month, but you can change your delivery frequency at any time. You can also skip boxes and change the date your account is charged. There is no time commitment for your subscription and you can cancel anytime.

    Look at how much food was included in my box! You can make 30+ individual meals with each Wildgrain Box. The best part? All new customers will receive FREE sourdough rolls in every box for the life of their subscription. Oh, and did I mention they always offer FREE shipping?

    Go here to check out this awesome box for yourself. I am seriously impressed with it and am anxiously awaiting our next box to come in the mail. Use my code HEREWEEREAD to get $10 off your first box.

    Your turn: Have you tried Wildgrain Box yet? Feel free to share in the comments and let me know your experience.

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    children's books, diverse books, subscription boxes

    The Barefoot Book Box: A Book Subscription for Kids 0 – 9

    Are you planning to gift your little readers or students with a book subscription box this holiday season?

    I love monthly subscription boxes for kids because they offer unique educational experiences. Subscription boxes can give kids of all ages the chance to learn by reading great books, doing fun projects, crafts and activities. Many subscription boxes on the market today are designed to include everything you need to spend quality time together as a family or on your own.  Today, there are subscription boxes that appeal to all sorts of different interests and passions from books to beauty and everything in between.

    Have you heard about the Barefoot Book Box yet? They currently have three book boxes available for kids ages 0 – 2, ages 3 – 5 and ages 6 – 9. You can choose their 3 month, 6 month or 12 month plan.

    From their website:
    “Each box is created by an independent children’s book publisher with nearly 30 years of experience crafting award-winning products. The publisher Barefoot Books is known for publishing beautiful books of the highest quality. They’re designed around a set of core values to help you raise caring, open-minded, global citizens who can think critically and creatively. Educators and parents know that if a book is from Barefoot, they can trust the language, storytelling and illustrations to be beautiful, age-appropriate, and engaging for kids.”

    Each Barefoot Book Box includes books, gifts, an artist’s print and expert tips that are focused on a specific theme. The themes are rooted in their 5 core pillars of publishing:

    • Global Awareness, Diversity & Inclusion
    • Early Learning & First Concepts
    • Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Mathematics
    • Social-Emotional Learning
    • Creativity & Imagination

    My kids are currently ages 6 and 8 so we opted for the box for kids ages 6 – 9. Some of the things I love the most about Barefoot Books is their commitment to diversity and inclusion, their high-quality books, and how they incorporate real-life lessons, social/emotional learning and STEAM (science, math, engineering, art, and math) into their books.

    Barefoot Books also gets bonus points from me for their consistent use of bright and vivid illustrations and I absolutely LOVE their commitment to green (eco-friendly) business practices. From sustainably sourced paper to vegetable-based ink, the materials that make up their books are ones that you can feel good about having in your classroom or home. Just look at the quality of their books!

    Did I also mention they work with talented artists from around the world who illustrate each of our books by hand? As a part of your subscription, with every box you’ll receive an exclusive, collectable 8×10 inch illustration image, printed on sturdy cardstock. You can hang these on your walls, give them as gifts, use them as prompts to inspire your child’s artwork, or laminate them to create unique and colorful placemats. In addition to expert tips, the back of each artist’s print features information about the artist and their illustration technique. Talk about attention to detail AND adding even more value!

    Keeping these prints within your child’s view not only adds beauty and whimsy to your home or classroom — it also reminds your child of their favorite books, reinforcing learning and prompting ongoing discussions.

    The best part? Shipping costs are already included in your membership prepaid price! In addition, all Barefoot Book Box memberships are prepaid. Therefore, there is no need to cancel your membership if you wish to no longer receive a box. Your payment method will be charged only once at the time of purchase. No further charges will be made.

    Lastly, at this time, the Barefoot Book Box is available for purchase in the United States, only. International shipping and shipping to Alaska and Hawaii are not currently available for online orders.

    So, what do you think? Are you ready to check out The Barefoot Book Box? Pop on over to their website to start exploring! Happy Reading!

    Your turn: Have you tried this book subscription box yet? Feel free to share in the comments if you care to share.

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    family fun, subscription boxes, technology

    Bitsbox: How I’m Teaching My Kids to Code Before Middle School

    Photo courtesy of Bitsbox

    Are you curious about how you can teach your kids to code before middle school?

    A couple of months ago I introduced you to a new subscription box called Bitsbox.  Bitsbox is a subscription box (designed for kids ages 6 – 14) that sends coding exercises to kids each month in order to help them learn coding. It includes app cards and coding themed toys to keep the kids interested in learning more month after month.  Kids can see the exact code and the results of their changes in real time!

    As a Computer Programmer and lover of all things STEM, it’s important for me to expose my children to technology in order to help them build foundations for future academic and career success.  That’s why I’m a huge fan of Bitsbox!

    Here are a few reasons why I absolutely LOVE Bitsbox:

    • It sends a clear reminder to parents that “coding is the new literacy.”
    • Coding experience is NOT required!  Remember, this is simple and it’s designed for kids.
    • You receive a cute “Apper Keeper” to store and organize all of the coding exercises.  Remember the old Trapper Keepers from the 1980’s?
    • Through repeated repetition, kids have the chance to play around and see how basic coding and functions work before they graduate to more complex learning.
    • It encourages children to learn design while fostering their problem solving abilities. Kids can change colors, add different backgrounds, songs and sounds to their creations.
    • It is specially designed for young children (ages 6-14) to give them a developmentally appropriate understanding of how coding works.
    • It helps teach children how to type and become more familiar with a keyboard.
    • Once you become a Bitsbox user you have access to the website for free, and can continue to use the cards and online apps for as long as the website is available for continued teaching and learning.
    • They offer different resources for parents AND classroom teachers.
    • It’s fun: My kids LOVE doing it – honestly! (And they are currently only 3.5 and 4.5 years old!)

    The first box (Animal House) focused on the coding skill of coordinates.  The second box (Robo Boogie) taught the kids all about variables and action commands.  We learned how to make objects move, how to change them to a random size and position them on the screen.  Future boxes you receive after the first and second one feature more advanced concepts like working with variables and if/else statements.  Sound too complex?  Don’t worry, Bitsbox made this super simple to understand by including a handy explanation guide for kids (and grownups) with each box.

    My kids and I have enjoyed creating these apps on our own for the past few months.  Since they are still both under age 6, I still assist them quite a bit with typing in some of the lines of code.  This is especially true for some of the longer and slightly more complex apps.  The kids are definitely becoming more comfortable with typing on the computer keyboard and memorizing where certain letters, numbers and symbols are which is great!

    To get started coding with Bitsbox all you need is a computer with a keyboard (desktop or laptop) and a web browser. (It’s currently not available to use on a tablet or smartphone.)  You then go to the Bitsbox website and login using either a grownup account or a kids account.  (All of your work will be saved to your account so you can refer back to it later.)  Next, your child starts building  their own customized apps which can be downloaded to a phone or tablet just like any other app!

    Ready to try Bitsbox for yourself?
    Save 20% on a subscription with my discount code: WEEREAD20.  Here’s to hoping your family becomes a Bitsbox-loving family like ours!

    Disclaimer:  We received free subscription boxes from Bitsbox in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

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    STEM, subscription boxes

    Bitsbox: Teach Your Kids to Code Before Middle School!

    Photo courtesy of Bitsbox

    We’re all familiar with the basic skills of learning also known as the three Rs: reading, writing and arithmetic. Now that we’re in the 21st century, I think in addition to knowing the three Rs children should also know and understand the basics of coding.  How about reading, writing, arithmetic and … html?  Or reading, writing, arithmetic and … Javascript?

    As a Computer Programmer and lover of all things STEM, it’s important for me to expose my children to technology in order to help them build foundations for future academic and career success.  I want them to be as code-savvy as possible from a young age.  Online skills are becoming as important as reading and writing for the younger generations, so why not give them a head start?  Since they are both still currently under the age of 5, my main goals are making sure they know their way around a computer and teaching them the basics of coding.  They already know how to navigate smartphones and tablets better than many older adults.

    When I came across Bitsbox on Instagram I was thrilled!  Did you happen to see their appearance on Shark Tank a few weeks ago?  Bitsbox is a subscription box that sends coding exercises to kids each month in order to help them learn coding. It includes app cards and coding themed toys to keep the kids interested in learning more month after month.  Kids can see the exact code and the results of their changes in real time!

    Here are a few reasons why I absolutely LOVE Bitsbox:

    • It sends a clear reminder to parents that “coding is the new literacy.”
    • Coding experience is NOT required!  Remember, this is simple and it’s designed for kids.
    • You receive a cute “Apper Keeper” to store and organize all of the coding exercises.  Remember the old Trapper Keepers from the 1980’s?
    • Through repeated repetition, kids have the chance to play around and see how basic coding and functions work before they graduate to more complex learning.
    • It encourages children to learn design while fostering their problem solving abilities. Kids can change colors, add different backgrounds, songs and sounds to their creations.
    • It is specially designed for young children (ages 6-14) to give them a developmentally appropriate understanding of how coding works.
    • It helps teach children how to type and become more familiar with a keyboard.
    • Once you become a Bitsbox user you have access to the website for free, and can continue to use the cards and online apps for as long as the website is available for continued teaching and learning.
    • They offer different resources for parents AND classroom teachers.
    • It’s fun: My kids LOVE doing it! (And they are currently only 3.5 and 4.5 years old!)

    The first box focuses on the coding skill of coordinates.  Remember plotting x and y coordinates on graphing paper for math homework?  This is the exact same concept except it’s done by typing code.  The coordinates tell the computer where to place an object on the screen.  Sound too complex?  Don’t worry, Bitsbox made this super simple to understand by including a handy explanation guide for kids (and grownups).

    To get started coding with Bitsbox all you need is a computer with a keyboard (desktop or laptop) and a web browser. (It’s currently not available to use on a tablet or smartphone.)  You then go to the Bitsbox website and login using either a grownup account or a kids account.  (All of your work will be saved to your account so you can refer back to it later.)  Next, your child starts building  their own customized apps which can be downloaded to a phone or tablet just like any other app!

    Remember handing assignments in on paper, or even via email?  Thanks to the push for computer science education and subscription boxes like Bitsbox, it seems likely that students of the future will be handing in their homework with hand-built websites and even smartphone applications.  How cool would that be?

    Our family is now officially a Bitsbox-loving family!  I honestly think it’s a fantastic way for kids and grownups to learn to code together.  It’s fun and easy to use even if you have no previous computer coding experience.  I’m confident as the kids get older they’ll need less assistance from me – that’s how easy it is to use and understand.

    Ready to try Bitsbox for yourself? Save 20% on a subscription with my discount code: HEREWEEREAD20.  We can’t wait to receive our next box and share our experience with you!

    Disclaimer:  We received a free subscription box from Bitsbox in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions expressed are my own.

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    adult books, subscription boxes

    Book of the Month Club + An Instagram Giveaway!

    Disclosure: I was chosen to be part of a campaign to promote literacy and the joy of reading by Acceleration Partners. Any opinions expressed are my own.  I received the products mentioned in this post for free from Book of the Month. This post also contains affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links.

    I’m so excited to finally try out the Book of the Month Club!  Book of the Month is a subscription box-style book club dedicated to helping avid readers find great new fiction and non-fiction titles. I love that it exposes me to a variety of new titles that weren’t previously on my radar.  They work hard to bring their members books that are truly worth reading—well-written, immersive stories that will transport you, give you thrills, and tug at your heartstrings—and they have been championing literacy for over 90 years!

    Each month, their panel of Judges selects 5 great new books. Selections are announced on the first of the month, and members can choose which book they would like to receive. All plans include: 1 hardcover book of your choice each month, and free shipping.  Members can also add up to 2 books to their monthly box for an additional cost.  They also have affordable gift memberships available for easy gift giving to your fellow bookworms.

    If you want to try it out for yourself, you can sign up now (using my referral link) and choose from the 5 best books of the month!  You can also enter my Instagram giveaway and enter to win one of five FREE 3-month subscription boxes I’m giving away (US residents only).  But hurry, the giveaway ends on Tuesday, March 7th at 11:59pm.  Good Luck!

    Your turn: Are you a member of Book of the Month Club?  What’s the thing you like best about the club?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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