We were gifted this amazing and oversize themed Sunnie Press activity and coloring map for our boys to color! I have been looking for a couple of subscription products for kids to help support our distance learning and staying at home. So when Sunnie Press sent us a map, addressed to my boys they were so excited! It is an oversized themed map that allows them to color in and engage in multiple ways. We loved it so much, I ended up ordering a yearly subscription (prices vary by subscription packages).
How does it work? Every month, you receive a different themed activity map. It is 20″ by 26″ so it is huge and amazing. Our first map was about The Road to Hana in Maui. On one side, you learn interesting facts about the location, activity tips, along with a learning activity either dot-to-dot tracing, or color in the number, crossword etc. The other side is a huge map to color in and play with. They colored and engaged with it for a good 2 hours without interruption. It was fantastic.
I am all about finding ways to engage in learning opportunities. I identified 4 different skills that the map can help our children with.
- Occupational Therapy support – Coloring helps with fine motor support and strengthening finger muscles! So for my oldest this was a great activity because he doesn’t like to color much due to weak hand muscles. But this engaging map distracted him from the actual coloring task and more about the map and what will we color next to make it come alive? He loved it! Our OT would suggest use the broken crayons for hand strength, and tape the map on the wall to help with dexterity and control.
- Reinforce Numbers and Map Reading – So I love that both maps so far have numbers to identify landmarks. I will ask my boys, where is number 7? Then we look to see what landmark is on that particular number. For younger children we reinforce numbers while also teaching older children how to read a map. For our latest map on Utah’s 5 landmarks, there’s a huge 5 on the map. So I hung it up and reinforced that number with my 3 year old.
- Pretend Play – So we took our cars and pretended to drive through the Road to Hana while reinforcing the path of different points of interest. So as we get different maps we can use different toys to be creative with it while also providing a multi-use for the toy. For our Utah map, we took a figurine on a bike and pretended to explore Mt. Zion. For September, the map will be a zoo. Bring out additional animals to place on the map or have a figurine go on a tour.
- Language development – Our speech therapist would approve this activity for sure! The amount of language that can be intentionally used is fascinating. For our Maui map, we used language such as, “I’m hungry lets go to where they sell banana bread.” So my boys would look around for the food stand. They are utilizing some critical thinking skills. I would ask “I wonder how someone would feel exploring this area. What do you think?” For the upcoming zoo map, I definitely will focus on descriptive words so we can describe the animals or their habitats. The map also allows us to make up stories. So while we took our Lightening McQueen for a ride, we would create a story of his route. We also reinforced prepositions, “Let’s put Lightening McQueen on the sand, next to the stand, in front of the waterfall.”
We are excited to be receiving our zoo map next! I love that these maps are taking us to places we can’t at the moment given the current pandemic. We are also learning about different regions and places while being given tips on activities we can do that month that align with the theme. There’s so much packed in this interactive map and definitely worth a yearly subscription and as birthday gifts!