The Great Canadian Adventure is a subscription-based program that sends your child a history or geography of Canada activity kit each month. Designed by a homeschooling mom who saw the need for a creative way to bring social studies to life for kids, there are three different options of programs to choose from: Tiny Travelers (Age 5-6), Geography (Ages 7-12), and History (Ages 8+).
Canada Tiny Travelers
The Canadian Tiny Travelers program is designed for younger children – typically Kindergarten and Grade 1 – and focuses more on early skills such as numbers, letters, science, and hands-on activities. (If you find a book with the name, Traveleers instead, it’s the same program, they just changed the name!) They feature information on different Canadian provinces. For example, we used one from Prince Edward Island. This book came with the workbook, some stickers, and a laminated page with cut-outs.
It first introduced us to the main character of this story: Malcolm, who is a Scottish boy. We were able to cut out the Malcolm character from the laminated page, dress him with stickers, and stand him up with the stands included. From there, the kids got to:
- do some printing practice (T for tartan, B for bagpipes)
- use a ruler to measure how far cabers and stones got tossed on a page
- learn about the shapes circles and trapezoids (like the thistle plant)
- do a science experiment with colour (in reference to PEI’s red sands)
- do an art activity with mixing colours
- understand how plants work, both above ground and under (like potatoes!)
- make stamp art with potatoes
- try a highland dance
- do a maze that follows number order
- learn more about marine life – and add jellyfish stickers to the page
- find out that Scotland’s national animal is a unicorn
- play a tic tac toe game – unicorns vs. lions
- bake potato pancakes
- make an origami fox
We also did one about Nova Scotia – where we learned more about the Mi’qmak people and blueberries (including blueberry muffins!)
The idea is to split up the activities over the course of the month, dig deeper into various activities, and learn more about the province, its culture, and its people.
My little ones (who were 3 and 5 at time) adored these books. They thought it was a lot of fun. We are huge fans of hands-on activities, so this was a perfect fit for them. They didn’t really want to spread the learning out, though – and were eager to tear through the books as fast as they could! Maybe it was too fun!
The books themselves are made out of thick and heavy paper, but are still easily written on even when there is a level of gloss on the full-colour pages. The illustrations are wonderful, brightly coloured and engaging. The characters are adorable too. My littles ones used the stand-up characters for weeks after we finished the book. In fact, they are still on my island right now!
This is a fun, interactive way to introduce your little ones to Canada.
AT THE TIME OF THIS REVIEW (2019) – THIS PROGRAM COSTS $24.95/month (or just over $275 for the whole set.)
The Great Canadian Geography program takes kids on a journey through one province at a time. It’s designed for students ages 7-12.
Included in each month’s package are the workbook, but also the supplies you will need to complete some of the activities inside – like a Fresnel lens to learn how lighthouses work, and a net mesh for making pulp paper.
Once again, the books begin with introducing you to a character from that province who will guide you through all the learning and activities included in the book. For example, there is Wiskacan from Newfoundland & Labrador who is an Innu child, Sunow – a Mi’qmak from Nova Scotia, and Amelie from New Brunswick.
At the front of each book, you will find the six essential elements of geography, along with their definitions: the world in spatial terms, places & regions, physical systems, human systems, environment and society, and the uses of geography. Beside each of them is a list of activities included in the book that relate to these elements, connecting the plans to geographical learning. But the books offer much more than that.
Each book begins with some sort of map work, including a short “quiz” activity to practice reading the map. From there, the activities differ depending on the province. I will walk you through the New Brunswick book as an example.
- This book starts off with the map skills and questions, then goes onto learning about the Bay of Fundy (which has the world’s highest tides!). After introducing the bay, it then explains the idea of gravitational force with a simple experiment, followed by some fun illustrations of how our earth is affected in the solar system by this force which causes the tides.
- Next, you get to learn about tidepools and how animals survive in them with various strategies like hanging on, exoskeletons, camouflage, and stinging.
- From there, you do an experiment that shows how sea water causes erosion, like that seen on the Hopewell Rocks.
- Then….. Acadian Molasses Cookies! mmm.
- Acadian forests are studied next, teaching you about the different kinds of trees that you can find and the different layers in the forest, experiments with wood, learning about river drivers, milling, and understanding more about the timber industry, including the practice of sustainable forestry.
- You even get to try making paper from pulp!
- The book wraps up with a fun, unique thing to New Brunswick – Magnetic Hill, where cars seem to go backwards! That leads to a discussion on optical illusions and gives your child a chance to make one of their own.
This program is an interesting combination of workbook activities and hands-on learning. Each month offers something new and different, which means it doesn’t get predictable and boring. I love the inclusion of Indigenous characters into some of the different provinces as well. The activities and lessons are really well thought out, and laid together in a sequence that really makes sense. It’s neat to see how they all fit into the elements of geography too.
This is a great way to get introduced more in-depth to Canadian geography.
AT THE TIME OF THIS POST, THE COST OF THIS SUBSCRIPTION IS $27.95/MONTH (or $311 for the full year at once.)
The last of the current programs from The Great Canadian Adventure company is all about Canadian People and History.
The package that arrives is quite thick. It includes lots of reading material and a selection of adorable artwork.
The unique feature about this program is that it’s based on the idea of creating your own “smashbook” or scrapbook, where you can add all the information that you’ve been learning along the way. First, you read the text. Then you work on the scrapbooking page on the topic. They’ve included illustrations you can use, but you can also add in anything that you find online or from your own collection, etc to make it more detailed. This is perfect for the kids who love doing arts and crafts or who enjoy having a physical representation of what they have been learning.
For Nova Scotia (which we tried out for this review), you learn about:
- The Mi’kmaq of the Maritimes
- Living by the Cycle of the Land
- The Mi’kmaq and the French
- Timeline to Confederation
- Early Exploration
- Sir William Alexander
- The French & British Tug-of-War
- The Acadians
- The Great Expulsion
- The 7 Years War
- Peace with the Mi’kmaq
- Blueberry Grunt
- Codebreaking the Arm
We found the conversations that happened from the various topics were interesting. Learning about the Mi’qmak peoples was neat – to compare life we experience today to life of an Indigenous group in the past, along with how that group of people lives today. We got to dive deeper into the history of the Acadians and the experiences of the European settlers as they fought over the land. Although we didn’t make the blueberry grunt, but it sure sounded tasty.
The biggest challenge I had with this program is that my boys were not interested in creating a scrapbook / smashbook. It wasn’t their style. I did manage to put together a sample page for them to show how it worked, but they didn’t want to do it after that. If your kids are into arts and crafts, then this will be perfect.
All in all, this is a creative and fun way to learn about Canadian history. I enjoy that it’s presented one province at a time instead of just an overview of the whole country. It makes the events of history personal, and it focuses not just on the Euro-centric cultures and moments, but also on the experiences of various Indigenous groups as well.
AT THE TIME OF THIS POST, THE COST OF THIS SUBSCRIPTION IS $27.95 (or $311 for the whole year at once.)
Looking through the website, this company has big hopes for future development – a French edition of their programs as well as working on world geography and history. From our experience with the various parts of The Great Canadian Adventure, you can tell they have put a lot of time, effort, thought, planning, and preparation into creating a colourful, interactive, and detailed collections.
To find out more about The Great Canadian Adventure, check out their website: https://www.thegreatcanadianadventure.ca/
Disclosure: We were sent a selection of each of the three current programs to use for our review. Everything shared here is our honest opinions from our experiences while using them.
Also, this company is not related to The Canadian Homeschooler or our virtual trip across Canada known as The Canadian Adventure.