Here we are with another look at the Cooper and Kid Cooper Kit Subscription Box. My wife has become quite jealous of the fun my daughter and I have been having. Hailey, our five year old, even made a comment to me this afternoon that she wishes mommy was out doing stuff and her and I were the only ones home while we worked on the Pentatonic Pan Flute.
Then she gave me a kiss on the cheek and told me she loves me.
And THAT is the kind of stuff that the Cooper and Kid fosters: A bond that often is not achieved between dads and their kids. Especially those of us who work long hours and spend too much time away from home.
This time I got to check out their Fun with Music Box! My daughter and I were especially excited for this box. I am a musician myself so I was really happy to get to share some of that with her. She absolutely loves to sit and watch while I practice on my guitar or when I tune it or change the strings.
She really enjoys beating on the strings sometimes as well, though I don't often allow it. She even has her very own child-sized acoustic guitar and drum kit.
The Cooper & Kid: A Sound Odyssey Kit comes with a guide to walk you through all the activities with your children, a story book, and most of the stuff you need for the activities including a desktop drum kit, a vibration speaker and paper plate used to turn the box into a working amplifier, modeling clay, plastic straws, a ruler, the hardware and bottle to build your bottle banjo, and some hair chalk so you can color your hair just like a rock star. The only things you really need to add are simple household items - glue, tape, scissors, some toothpicks, and a screwdriver.
Cooper and Kid takes great care in assembling activities and crafts for dads to do with their children that are both gender neutral and geographically non-specific.
You will notice in some of these photos that we were in a hotel. My youngest daughter, Penelope, had undergone surgery shortly after we received the box, and we needed to spend several days in a hotel near the hospital.
This was a great distraction for both Hailey and myself. The box transports very well and includes most everything you need for the activities minus a few essentials such as scissors, tape, or glue.
As with the earlier box I reviewed, everything in the box is used for a craft. Even the box itself! My daughter was very impressed that we were able to turn the box into a functional amplifier that works with the included vibration speaker.
The vibration speaker charges via the USB port on our computer. Then the vibrator is attached to an object such as the bottom of a cup in order to amplify the sound. The speaker gets the sound from a headphone jack which can plugged into the headphone port on your computer, cellphone, mp3 player or tablet. Then just que up some music and hit play!
She does not yet have an mp3 player but I am certain she will asking for one for Christmas after getting to play with this!
The vibration speaker that was included as part of the amplifier was a great opportunity to teach my daughter a little about how sound works and how the human ear interprets the vibrations in the air. She was very intrigued by what I had to say...until Mommy pulled out the camera to take a few pictures. She is quite a ham.
The guide didn't really have much in the way of teaching how sound works so I took it upon myself to take care of that. After all, I do work directly with audio and video equipment at my job and have had a ton of training to understand how and why this stuff works. It was really fun to have an accessible way to let Hailey peek into my working life.
The story book included is titled Punk Farm by Jarrett J. Krosoczka. Hailey thought the book was cute. Some of the farm animals have a concert after the farmer goes to sleep. They have their very own rock band!
The tabletop desktop drum kit was an excellent tool to introduce Hailey to the concept of music and give her a more concrete foundation of what music is and can be. She had fun trying to keep the beat to a few songs that I played for her. She even added her own flare.
Then we found her playing with the drum kit later that night pretending that she was in a band. (that's my kid!) I think this kit really might have helped spark her interest in music. She always liked sitting around and watching me play but this is the first time she has really gotten involved and let her own musical creativity take over.
|How cool is this?!|
The pan flute project helped to demonstrate to her how different notes are made. She still doesn't quite understand why they are represented with letters and not numbers or pictures. But it was a lot of fun for her. While we were cutting the straws she had to take a break to be goofy and insisted I take a picture of her with giant colored fingers.
As you can see, the process is easy and designed to explain how air through various length pipes creates specific notes. We cut the pipes to correct lengths for each note, taped them together and then used clay to seal the holes at the bottom.
When we finished, Hailey noticed that there was left over clay and asked if she could play with it. I told her yes and cut her loose. She made a little snowman with a smiley face. And later made a Santa laying in a pile of snow. I wasn't able to get a picture of Santa before she smashed it all together to make Earth.
I find they best way to enjoy Cooper & Kid kits for both of us is to find that balance between activities that require specific steps and are designed to explain a tough concept, and just letting her loose to explore the provided materials however she wants to.
I do have to say though, that the absolute most enjoyable thing in the box for my daughter was the bottle banjo project. It works so well! After we put it together, I found myself rockn' out on it while my daughter sat with her arms folded waiting for her turn. The good news is, because it is made with simple parts, including repurposed trash, we can make more so we can play together.
Another aspect that Cooper and Kid never fail to deliver on is the digital content. After looking through some of the links on the account page I found myself delving into the depths of YouTube watching people play diddley bows and cigar box guitars. I found myself pretty inspired and I believe I will be gathering some materials and getting my daughter involved in building some more instruments.
And the Just for Dads section has some really interesting material on how music helps with brain development as well as a link to the world's ugliest song as well as the theory behind it. I could literally get lost in these links for days if it weren't for one of the videos that I tried to watch being 10 times louder than any of the previous ones. Yep... woke up my wife and the baby. Sorry Jackie!
All-in-all, I can say that Cooper and Kid have only failed at one thing - they failed to give me any major reason at all to complain about their box! We absolutely loved it. I can't find a single thing negative to say about them other than they don't include glue in the kit. No big deal at all. Lets face it, if you have kids, chances are you have some kind of glue lying around your house just waiting to hold the nut and frets on your bottle banjo. For me it turned out to be hot glue, which worked flawlessly.
If you liked my look at the Cooper and Kid Music: A Sound Odyssey box, you can subscribe to Cooper & Kid and received quarterly kits chock full of enough themed goodness to keep you and your kids happily occupied for three months.
The cost if you make quarterly payments is $65 + $13s&h, or you can pay for the whole year in one payment which costs $288.00 annually (including s&h), which will save you $24.00. After having experienced two of these boxes, I have a hard time thinking of anything under $300 that would do a better ongoing job of helping me stay actively involved in projects with my daughter over the course of a year.
To enter the giveaway, leave a comment in this entry as instructed by the Rafflecopter, then leave the name you commented under and your email in the box in the Rafflecopter entry. (This allows us to contact you if you win!) This will open up additional optional entries to increase your odds of winning.
This giveaway is open to Continental US RESIDENTS only and will end just before midnight ET on 12-24.
The winner will be notified by email within 48 hours after the end of the giveaway. In order to claim the giveaway prize, the winner will need to respond within 48 hours of notification, or an alternate winner will be selected. (We are lengthening response times slightly to account for the holidays, but please keep an eye on the email you entered with - you won't want to miss out on this one!)
Good luck everyone!
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