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Reading can let kids explore all sorts of things without ever leaving their home. When you combine a good book with some creative learning activities, you can really bring the books to life. That’s why I was thrilled to review four LitWits Kits from LitWits.
What Are LitWit Kits?
LitWit Kits are contained on a secure webpage. You can also download each as a PDF for easy reference. They are full of creative ideas to help enhance a student’s interaction with a particular novel.
I was able to select up to four LitWit Kits for this review. There were so many titles to choose from, so I went with ones that I knew we’d be reading over the course of the next year.
- The LitWits Kit for Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
- LitWits Kit for E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web
- LitWits Kit for E.L. Konigsburg’s From the Mixed-Up Files of of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
- The LitWits Kit for L. Frank Baum’s The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
During the course of this review, I worked through the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory kit with two of my children. Some activities, the other kids got involved too.
We are just beginning the Charlotte’s Web kit now, and looking forward to finishing it up. We’ll tackle the other two in the new year.
What Activities Are Included?
I was surprised at how many great ideas are included in each kit. When you first open up the webpage, it is a little overwhelming. Thankfully, the authors point out at the start that you can take what you want and leave the rest. These really are flexible!
Though some of the projects are written with a class in mind instead of a homeschool, I found I was able to either easily adapt those for use in my family, or skip over those.
Here is a peek at the range of activities:
- Prop ideas (to help set the stage for learning and encourage creative play based around the book)
- Hands on Fun (projects and crafts that relate to the book or topics in the book)
- Bookbites (a meal inspired by the book)
- Take aways (additional learning fun)
- Handouts (academic handouts/worksheets in a variety of subject matters – history, writing, vocab, etc.)
- Learning Links (digital resources you can use to supplement your learning)
How Did We Use These Kits?
I primarily used the kits with my fourth grade daughter and fifth grade son. I wanted to help them dive deeper into the books they were reading, and really encourage them to think about what they were reading.
We started with Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, a book we’d listened to many times as an audiobook, but that these two had never read on their own in printed form.
At the start, they got to paint a cover. This we glued onto a file folder and used to keep their papers in.
Since we didn’t have colored cardstock, we just printed it on regular paper. It seemed to work, especially since we glued it to a file folder for stability. Remember that you can change things up to fit the needs of your homeschool, so don’t feel like you have to follow each direction to a T.
For this project, we mixed up “paint” with cocoa powder and water. The kids loved the way it smelled!
We read through the book over the course of about five weeks. We read about a chapter a day, and the kids tackled projects and learning activities from the LitWits Kit about twice a week.
One day they were asked to put the lid of toothpaste on and off the tube twenty times. This is what Charlie’s father did all day long at the factory. They bored quickly with this task and were amazed at how repetitive it became. They decided they were glad machines do tasks like this now.
We also cooked a Bucket meal – cabbage and potatoes. We also made some boiled cabbage, which was a change from the way we typically sautee it.
The kids thought it smelled terrible, and made the whole house stink. They decided they are very thankful we have more variety in our diet than the Buckets did.
Throughout the review period, we visited many of the learning links recommended. We learned about chocolate being made, and tried our own hand at making some basic chocolate with cocoa powder, sugar, and butter.
We did some author studies on Roald Dahl, and listened to some audio books of other stories he’d written.
The kids really enjoyed the learning fun!
As we dive into this LitWits Kit, we are spending more time on the playing and sensory portion. Since we live on a farm, we already had many of the prop ideas. We drug an old horse saddle out of the basement. One of the kids cleaned it up, and we carried it out to the barn. It’s sitting on a bale of hay now and the kids are having a blast sitting on it, pretending they’re riding horses.
Jeff was surprised at how heavy a saddle was!
We also have plenty of old manure they can smell if they want to. They like how the dried stuff doesn’t stink nearly as bad as fresh.
The hay and rope makes for fun learning as well. They’ve been so creative as we open this unit, and I think the background knowledge of farm life will really help them as they read this book.
We also watched a YouTube video about goslings, as we’ve never had geese here on the farm. The kids enjoyed that!
What We Thought of LitWits Kit
There is so much variety in these kits! The kids have enjoyed everything so far (except maybe putting the lid on toothpaste…). It’s been so much fun to see their excitement over books and stories.
The only thing I didn’t like is that everything is in color. So when I want to print things out, they don’t always look great with our black and white printer. I’d have much preferred to have my kids color the pictures instead of seeing a gray-scale version of color.
But, that wasn’t too big of a deal. I just opted not to print a lot of things, and we adapted.
The ideas in these kits provide great starting points – feel free to adjust everything to fit your family. Perhaps that is their best quality – they are so versatile. And it sure beats having to scour Pinterest for random ideas. We could just have a single place with a bunch of ideas and use it as we desired.
If you’re looking for a great way to bring literature to life, I highly recommend these kits! I’m sure looking forward to finishing Charlotte’s Web and beginning the other two after Christmas.
For the Mixed-Up Files book, there’s a project to have the kids plan a “run away” adventure like Claudia did. I know that will be a favorite – dreaming up trip details is fun.
My kids have never read or seen the Wizard of Oz, so I’m really looking forward to diving into that one. I know my kids will have fun acting out the parts of Dorothy, the Scarecrow, and all the other characters with the props. There’s also an activity to make a tornado in a jar, which will be really interesting!