M is for Monster is a monthly subscription service that brings fun, educational activities for your preschooler to your home. Produced by a busy mom who, before having kids, was a preschool teacher herself, M is for Monster sends carefully developed activities to your home that focus on a selection of themes. You get to select what themes you want! There are three levels of activities to choose from: Level 1 (simple shape and color recognition, counting and recognizing numbers 1-10, uppercase letters and fine motor activities); Level 2 (shape and color recognition, counting and recognizing numbers 11-20, lowercase letters and fine motor activities); Level 3 (complex shapes and color mixing, addition and subtraction facts, sight word recognition, fine motor activities). I selected Level 3.
While most activities arrive in large colored bags, a few won’t fit; they are wrapped neatly and labeled, but are included outside of the colored bags. I appreciated the warning that these activities contain choking hazards, and, as such, are unsuitable for children younger than 3.
This is everything contained in the box, although I hadn’t yet opened the colored bags. My son was excited to see the glue, crayons and paint!
FYI – this subscription comes with multiple options – you can get the activities with the books or without, 3 or 5 themes, and you can skip the supplies if you get all 5 themes with the books. The options range from $36-85.
This month, I received the following three themes: Bath Tub, Earth and Caterpillars.
My son was really excited about this theme! We love to take baths in our house!
My son started out with the addition activities. In the first one, he added the numbers together and stuck the corresponding number of “bubbles” in the bathtub. He loves stickers of all sorts, so this was a win for us. He had fun explaining his choice of placement of the bubbles to me.
It seems that the oil and salt from the Marcona Almonds caused some discoloration in the “bubbles.” I think it makes them blend into the scene better.
Next, my son added up some other numbers and put the corresponding number of bubbles into the bathtub. He thought this was neat too. As fun as the addition was, my son was really excited when I told him next he’d get to play in the bathtub! He ran upstairs.
In this game, the child sprays the ducks with water from a sprayer (provided), trying to get them to move across the bathtub. Although I told him (for picture purposes) he had to play while kneeling outside the tub, I think this would make a great game to play while actually taking a bath. Nevertheless, my son had a lot of fun with this activity!
Next, he gave a rubber ducky a bath with the enclosed tool. He had a lot of fun with this too! Eventually, he moved on and decided that the bathtub was full of meat sauce, and he was going to help cook it. He used his tool to stir it, and then decided that to cook it most effectively, he had to actually get in the tub. He took his socks off and had a blast.
To finish up our exploration of Bathtubs, we read “Maisy Takes a Bath,” by Lucy Cousins ($3.99). In this delightful story, Maisy the Mouse is repeatedly interrupted by her friend as she tries to take a bath. Finally, the friend joins her in the bathtub. My son thought this was hilarious. He giggled for five minutes after reading it.
The next theme we decided to tackle was Earth.
First my son outlined the earth and its continents in glue.
Since he has to wait overnight for the glue to dry before he can paint it, we decided to tackle this just after finishing up with Bath Tub.
Unfortunately, when I wasn’t looking, my daughter got ahold of my son’s paper and smeared the glue everywhere. Hopefully we’ll still be successful tomorrow.
The following day, my son had a lot of fun painting with the watercolors. He was especially proud of the bronze color. He said he made it by mixing the pink a.k.a. red paint with the orange paint. He told me the bodies of water depicted on the picture of Earth were the Atlantic Ocean, the Gulf of Mexico and the Colorado River. Clearly I’m raising a Texan!
He was very proud of the result.
The following morning, my son rushed downstairs to continue his many M is for Monster projects. I haven’t seen him this excited about a box in a long time.
In this activity, he had to glue tissue paper onto a sphere to create his own model Earth. My son decided to leave some white spots to represent the ice caps.
Unfortunately, the tissue paper bled a lot and stained our wood table. When you do this activity at home, I recommend laying down some plastic wrap first.
The next activity asked the kids to cut out trash cans, crumple them up, pick them up with tweezers and identify the words on each can.
My son thought this was a lot of fun. I liked how it prompted a lot of discussions during the reading time. For instance, my son said “to” couldn’t be the right spelling, because it didn’t contain a “w.” After a brief discussion of homonyms, we talked about the meanings of “to,” “two” and “too.” My son thought this was cool. A similar discussion arose when my son said “one” didn’t contain a “w.”
Compost Stew was a fun book that encourages kids to get outside and make compost. I like how it encourages creativity in composting and empowers kids to do things that are great for the Earth. My son enjoyed it very much. This was the last of the three books we read. When we were done, he begged for more. All three of the books in this month’s box were excellent.
The caterpillar activities looked like loads of fun–especially the fingerpaints!
I like how the package comes with a description of the activities associated with each theme!
I loved this activity as it’s not only fun, but helps children really learn their letters. It reminds me of the sandpaper Montessori letters, but more colorful and fun!
My son loved the finger paints! He started out rather tentatively, putting one color on one finger, as in the beginning of the letter C activity above. Eventually, though, he went all in, and we kept bringing out increasing amounts of paper. Fun!
The next activity was another addition game. I really like how all of the addition problems are limited in scope to a few small numbers. Bath Tub addition was limited to addition by 3. Caterpillar addition was limited to addition by 4. By laying out 4+1, 4+2, 4+3 and 4+4, once children figure one of them out (my son started with 4+4), they can deduce the answers to the others without counting from scratch. If 4+4=8, then 4+3 must equal 7 because 3 is one less than 4. Once he was done, I quizzed my son on his addition tables with the caterpillars still visible. He thought this was really fun.
The next activity asked the children to write “and,” “the” and “in” on three caterpillar heads.
Next, the children wrote each word on two of the caterpillar body pieces and mixed up all the pieces.
Finally, they reassembled the caterpillars according to words exclaiming the word when each caterpillar was complete. My son really enjoyed reading the words when he was done.
The final activity was a little baffling to me. It started out straightforward enough. My son glued some pom poms onto a clothespin.
Next, he decorated the butterfly wings. He thought I was asking him to draw an actual butterfly, but I didn’t correct him. He started out drawing a Monarch with orange and black wings, but then decided to make this a fun, imaginary butterfly.
I’m guessing this is what the end result was supposed to look like, but really I don’t know. My son put the antenna in the clothespin and held the butterfly together with his fingers. If you do the same approach, be sure to let the pom poms dry overnight.
The final book was a National Geographic Kids book entitled “Caterpillar to Butterfly” ($3.99). This book was great. It helped to reinforce the idea that butterflies come from chrysalises. My son, like many before him, was convinced that caterpillars turn into cocoons and then butterflies. My guess is this is due in no small part to the popularity of “The Very Hungry Caterpillar.” Anyhow, my husband, convinced like my son that cocoons change into butterflies, joined in and we all had a fun dialogue about the similarities and differences between moths and butterflies.
M is for Monster is chock full of fun educational activities for preschoolers and their caregivers. The organization into themes is great, and this box could easily get you through an entire month. For the sake of the review, we worked on it pretty diligently for three days. My son enjoyed all the activities a lot. For the most part, they reinforced what he knew really well. And I thought the inclusion of so many art activities was fantastic! He loved them. He also loved the books. When I was done reading them all, he begged me for more books like the ones included in M is for Monster. All in all, I couldn’t have been happier with this box. I can’t wait to see what they’ll send next month!
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The Description: M is for Monster is stress-free for you and fun for them! Help teach your preschooler their letters, numbers, shapes, colors and more with learning through play activities.Get monthly themed projects for toddler and pre-K kids with 2 to 3 projects for each theme. You will also get the glue, crayons, markers, paint and all the other supplies needed for that month. Order with or without books, and choose either 3 or 5 themes per month!
The Price: $40.00 per month
The Categories: Kids Craft & Activities Subscription Boxes, Kids Educational & Learning Subscription Boxes,Subscription Boxes for Kids. Kids Subscription Boxes with Sibling Add-Ons,Subscription Boxes for Preschoolers.
The Reviews: See all our M is for Monster Reviews.