So, we receive the kit/box.
So far, so good. This looks pretty cool. The boys are very excited, too.
Each box contains 6-9 activities for fathers and their children (age 5-9) to complete together, plus additional online resources. My boys will be 8 in August. Yes, they are twins. No, not identical and no, their personalities are completely different, too, which we will see below.
Anything that comes with instructions upon immediately opening box is good. Of course, it is all I can do to keep out two pairs of little hands who want to dive in and explore.
I like it. Will investigate further after total review of contents.
Ok. Every quarter there’s a new theme. This quarter it is: Live & Let Spy!
This is the booklet including Table of Contents that they send with the shipment. Wow, the thoroughness is awesome! It’s nice and long, has great graphics and printing, and seems to be what I would call “Dad-proof” in terms of making sure everything is really well explained (and without calling Mommy in to explain it to me!)
The website states that:
“Each Cooper Kit contains multiple curated products and activities designed to enrich your quality time with your children (and have a good time while doing it), as well as:
*A shipping box that turns into a toy!
*An activity book that guides you through the theme and the contents of the box
*A bedtime story
*A separate website of related digital resources
*Links to even MORE theme-related activities that are ëBeyond the Boxí
*Parenting and topical links to resources that are ëJust for Dadí
*A themed dinner menu with recipes (daddies are doing a ton of cooking for the family these days)”
Moreover, Cooper Kit promises to make memories, and to be:
“*Educational via discovery
*Hands on building
*Themed for both Dads and kids
*Multi-activity (6-9 activities)
*Geography neutral (i.e. no snow required)
*Gender neutral (for the kids)
*A catalyst for self-expression and creativity
*Both nostalgic and current”
The Secret Agent Dossier (& Activity Guide) lists activities and recipes at the end. Everything is geared around the Spy-lympics and outsmarting all the other spies!
Each activity is extremely well thought out and planned with loads of descriptions about other spies and missions and strategies. I am impressed with this much thoroughness. The boys, on the other hand, want to dive right in and make stuff. The 1st Activity is to find your disguise.
Well, the good news/bad news for this activity as well as for all the rest is that Daddy has to do the cutting in this one and the organizing for all the others. That’s ok, I don’t mind, the hard part in any case is keeping the little buggers entertained and motivated throughout. Except for ice cream and TV, their attention wanes on everything. Nevertheless, we persevere on the disguises –
Next was Cracking the Secret Code –
Traversing a Laser Obstacle Course –
This was pretty cool because the boys really took this one over and made it their own with their own obstacles and ribbons. They did pretty good too considering our tight living conditions….
Deciphering The Secret Message –
This turned out pretty good, too. Except one boy got distracted and only one remained to work with Daddy, but he did a good job of writing out the Secret Message.
I would show you the Secret Message we deciphered, but then I would have to kill you.
Next, we Built a Listening Device. Now, this was pretty ingenious. It was a little difficult putting together. But, we made a go of it. And we never really plugged it in to test its recording, so we made up our story to accompany the activity.
The rest of the activities in the Dossier and Activity Guide are about secrets, foods and recipes. I read them to my little guy who immediately wanted to know what other secrets I was keeping from him.
Final Analysis –
I think the Cooper Kit was pretty cool. It had a lot of fun activities which helped me work with my kids and bring us together. I think the Super Secret Spy theme was incredibly well organized and thought out. I do also think, however, that it was a tough call to engage little boys on as there was not a direct spy threat also present in the room for them to focus on. On the other hand, I was pleasantly surprised on how they used their imagination and improvisation to make up their own stories and tangential activities. I recommend this for everyone – for daddies (like me, who are either busy working or when not working, short on ideas for extracurricular activities for the kids) and/or for mommies (for probably the same reasons).
PS. The Secret Knowledge of Grown-Ups is an extremely creative spoof of kid-centric conspiracy theories. It is utterly confidential and can only be revealed with silliness and frivolity.