Lately, my 21-month-old granddaughter has been spending hours each day she’s at my home with her coral reef sensory bin. The coral reef sensory bin started with the Little Passports Coral Reef Kit. The Coral Reef Kit is designed for older children, but I want to share ideas for using the kit with preschoolers as well as children who are elementary age.
Disclosure: I was given a Coral Reef Kit to review. All opinions are honest and my own. This post contains affiliate links.
About the Little Passports Coral Reef Kit
Here’s the information about the Coral Reef Kit ($12.95) from the Little Passports website:
Create your own colorful coral at home with our Coral Reef Kit!
With simple step-by-step instructions, this easy science activity for kids demonstrates how crystals form and encourages an understanding of underwater ecosystems. Set up your trays with the paper coral forms, add the terraforming solution, and enjoy your child’s amazement as you both watch the transformation!
The Companion Guide features new adventures in Australia with Sam & Sofia as they explore the world’s largest coral reef system, the Great Barrier Reef. The kit includes:
- Three coral forms, trays and terraforming solution
- Instruction booklet with easy to follow step-by-step instructions
- Companion Guide, featuring more Australia adventures with Sam and Sofia
- Recommended for ages 6+
Note: You shouldn’t use the Coral Reef Kit with toddlers who still mouth objects unless you will be constantly supervising your child and know it won’t go in your toddler’s mouth. For toddlers, it should be put up out of reach afterward. Also, the completed “coral” is very fragile and will most likely disintegrate if used by a toddler.
The Coral Reef Kit is recommended for ages 6+. It would also work well for a preschooler who has good fine-motor control and will use the materials gently.
The Little Passports Coral Reef Kit is soft coral. The companion guide that comes with the Coral Reef Kit explores new adventures for Sam and Sofia in the Great Barrier Reef. The Great Barrier Reef has both hard and soft coral. This page from the Australian Government (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority) explains the two types of coral: About the Reef.
My Experience with the Little Passports Coral Reef Kit
Even though my granddaughter, Zoey, was only 20 months when I put together the Coral Reef Kit and sensory tub, it’s been a great experience for her.
Warning: Don’t make the mistake I did. The directions clearly state: “Find a good spot. This is where your model will grow and stay. The crystals are very delicate, so it will be hard to move after it is finished.”
What I’d do differently: I didn’t plan out the size of the needed container well enough in advance and planned to use a shoebox-size sensory bin. In the end, I used a sensory bin that was about 11″ wide and 16″ long. That was a perfect size for the coral plus the Safari Ltd. Coral Reef TOOB figures. So I ended up moving the coral pieces after it was finished. They didn’t last as long because of that. I recommend using a container about 11″ wide and 16″ long to begin with. If you put sea green or teal paper in the bottom, it will be easy for it to look like water, even though it’s a waterless coral reef sensory bin. I would also add the glass gems before adding the terraforming solution.
It didn’t take long for the crystals to start forming.
I printed out and laminated the free Safari Ltd. Coral Reef TOOB Key and introduced the vocabulary for the Safari Ltd. Coral Reef TOOB figures. I introduce vocabulary using the Montessori 3-period lesson. (Note: the Safari Ltd. Coral Reef TOOB isn’t part of the Coral Reef Kit.)
This is the coral reef sensory bin at the end. As I said, the coral pieces didn’t look as good as they would have if I hadn’t moved them. Still, the coral pieces gives the impression of a coral reef and add a lot to the coral reef sensory bin.
Zoey absolutely loved the coral reef sensory bin! I had told her that the coral was fragile, so she worked to not touch it. (I did let her gently touch one piece of coral.) For days, she has enjoyed saying the names of the Safari Ltd. figures and moving them in and out of the sensory bin. Once the coral began to disintegrate, I simply removed it and let her use the sensory bin without it.
This would be an especially nice project for a homeschool where a kindergartener or elementary-age child grew the crystals and put the sensory bin together for a preschool-aged sibling.
See all my Montessori-inspired Little Passports posts!
More about Little Passports
You can sign up for 3 months ($13.95/month with a one-time payment of $41.85), 6 months ($13.95/month with a one-time payment of $83.70), 12 months ($10.95/month with a one-time payment of $131.40), or monthly ($11.95/month, billed monthly and can be cancelled any time).
The USA Edition for 7-12 year olds has the same payment plans and prices as the World Edition. For the first month, the USA Edition subscription starts with the Discovery Kit which comes in a custom Sam and Sofia USA Portfolio and includes:
- An introductory letter from Sam and Sofia
- USA Field Guide
- USA Scratch Book
- USA Wall Map
- Disposable Camera and Photo Scavenger Hunt
Every month after the first month, your child will visit 2 new states and receive:
- A 32-page activity-packed journal covering 2 states
- Pop-out Models
- Access to more information and activities online
You can find out more and subscribe at Little Passports.
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