Learning Unbound produces 12 themed, unit-study kits per year. You can order individual kits, or you can subscribe, and kits will be delivered to you monthly. The kits are designed for children in prekindergarten through third grade, although some activities that involve writing and math will be appropriate only for those who have acquired those skills. The kits are designed as themed unit studies with activities (both academic and non-academic) all tied to the kit’s theme.
The kits are ideal for use with one or a few children in a family setting. (You can purchase inexpensive add-on packets for each additional child if you wish, and you can arrange for bulk purchases for a larger group.)
Each kit includes a full-color instruction booklet, a children’s book, activity pages, art and craft supplies, and a set of small figures for sensory bin experiences.
The booklet is your starting place. The booklets are about 18 pages in length. The inside front cover has a brief overview and a chart showing the learning objectives for language arts, math, science, social studies, and life skills, plus two categories titled art & sensory and character & mindset. There are eight lessons with multiple activities for each lesson. You can complete as many activities per day as you wish. You should complete one kit per month.
The booklet also explains the nature of unit studies, tells what supplies in the kit are used for each of the eight lessons, what additional supplies you might need (e.g., scissors, glue, apple slices, a plastic container), and how to compile and display student work in a binder. It also suggests quite a few additional books that you can use with the unit study. Lessons sometimes recommend online resources that can substitute for the suggested books.
In the booklet, the activities and instructions for each of the eight lessons are displayed on a two-page spread. They begin with a chart showing the activities, the required resources, and which category they come under (e.g., language arts, science, etc.). You don’t need to flip back to the front of the booklet since everything you need to know is here.
There are at least five activities for each lesson. Often, an activity begins with a paragraph or two of information to read aloud to your child. Suggested discussion questions are sometimes included.
The unit study purposely includes a variety of visual, auditory, and kinesthetic activities to suit different learning-style needs. Much of the information is conveyed through what you read from the booklet and from the children’s book which you will read and discuss. You will usually read the children’s book more than once. Other books are suggested frequently.
Every kit has a packet of activity pages and a link to a PDF file to print additional copies if needed. Some activity pages have labeling, matching, writing, graphing, and similar school-type activities. Other activity sheets are used for creative and interactive activities such as crafts and games. A page in every kit can be colored and inserted into the front of the student’s binder.
The information presented from the booklet and books is almost always supported by a hands-on activity. For example, in the Growing a Garden kit (from 2021), children learn about bees and pollination then go outside and use a paintbrush or cotton swab stick to collect pollen from a flower. Children are told to pretend they are bees and fly to another flower to deposit the pollen.
Sensory play activities have children use the small figures to create scenes and do pretend play. Some kits include modeling clay or other materials to handle and mold. There are usually snack suggestions and one or more recipes. There might be a suggested field trip or an online virtual field trip.
Character and mindset activities encourage children to develop positive character traits and attitudes. These topics are often handled through questions and discussion, but sometimes they might be addressed with an activity, such as in the Bingo Kindness Challenge game in Growing a Garden.
The kit themes for 2022 are Diverse Dinosaurs, Wild & Windy Weather, Pirates, Bugs & Butterflies, Knights & Dragons, Ocean, Gold Rush, Human Body, Community, Rocks & Minerals, Early Settlers, and Antarctica. 2023 and succeeding years will have new themes and kits. Kits from past months are available individually until they have sold out.
Learning Unbound kits are not intended to be a complete curriculum. They can provide a substantial part of your curriculum for children up through kindergarten, but you still need to introduce reading, math, and language arts instruction that is appropriate for each grade level.
You might find that you use certain types of activities from the kits with your different-aged children. For example, a kindergartner might color, cut, and paste while a third grader labels a drawing. You should feel free to adapt the activities to suit your family.
The Learning Unbound kits have a nicely balanced combination of academic activities, reading aloud, play, interaction, and experiential learning. And the arrival of a new kit with a new theme is likely to be an exciting highlight each month for both children and parents.