With some books there are just tons of fun, interesting activities that can be done to engage more with the story. LitWits developed just this kind of thing – creating immersive activities to go with classical or interesting stories. These are in person classes they hold. These in-person classes have been so popular that the creators decided to go digital with their events and create a whole new product – LitWits Kits.
These LitWits Kits take a treasured story and allow you to engage with it in fun, hands-on, and interesting ways. Whether it be through activities of doing what the characters do or cooking/baking and eating something the characters do, the types of activities help the students really learn more about what life might have been like for the people at that time and in that place. We received four LitWits Kits:
All Creatures Great And Small
We have been working with the kit for All Creatures Great And Small. This is a long book – over 400 pages. It is honestly a book I didn’t read until I was an adult but I really enjoyed it. It was easy to encourage Miss J to try this one out. She is 10 and we have been reading the book out loud together. She has seemed to really enjoy it. I would note that I have been skipping some of the words and phrases used as common, every-day language in this story, editing as I go.
All Creatures Great And Small is about the life of James Herriot, a veterinarian in the Yorkshire Dales of England starting in the late 1930s. As a new vet, he kept a diary of different calls he was sent to and the people he kept company with. We get the benefit of this record as Mr. Herriot learned that taking care of animals in real life was quite different than the schooling he received. Called out often in the middle of the night or sent to a call that was relayed to him as something completely different than it was, he learned to cope, manage the people and the animals, and to enjoy thoroughly the life of a country vet.
The LitWits Kit for this included activities that helped the student experience what a call could have been like when received in the night and Herriot had to get ready in the dark. It included a suggestion to try Yorkshire pudding, which we made and ate. We listened to people speak with a Yorkshire accent, which is really hard to read out loud in the book. We looked up pictures of the Yorkshire Dales to see what the countryside looked like. We pulled out some music to listen to that was reminiscent of the time and place. We also looked at some bits about the anatomy of animals that are mentioned in the story – cows, horses, sheep, and more.
There were a few activities that we chose not to do, such as a collage of images. We also chose not to set up an area of props related to the story. We did, however, choose to print out the learning pages and complete most of those. These included using an anatomy chart for a horse and noting different part of the animal and their names. We marked a map and a timeline related to the story. We have a page about work ethic and the themes of the story. We have not completed that one yet since we are not yet finished with the story. These five pages were simple yet brought out different ideas to consider.
The Secret Garden
This kit will be the next one we do, as we just read through this story a few months ago. When Miss J saw it on the list, she wanted to see the activities related to it. She remembers much of the story so we will probably do a review of it or watch a movie. We have printed out the learning pages and she will enjoy having tea with toast and marmalade. She will skip rope and do things related to gardening, direct connections to the story.
This kit was chosen because the girls’ dad was reading this story to them. Miss J has been enjoying it so she thought it would be fun to see what was included in this kit. Food plays a prominent part so we will experience some of that. An engraved sword will be created and runes made. These are just a couple of the fun activities in this kit.
A Wrinkle In Time
This kit was chosen because it is a story she has seen the movie for but not yet read. The takeaway section for this kit has some neat looking links and the activity for the solar system looks interesting. There is a fun dress up activity.
LitWits Kit Navigation
The kits are located online. Once purchased, visit the LitWits site and login. You will then have access to your purchased kits on your account.
Once you click on Access My Kit, it opens up to the kit.
The kit is navigable by scrolling, clicking on one of the numbered sections at the top (as seen above), or by clicking on the numbered sections on the side (as seen below).
You can also choose to print the entire kit with a simple click of the button, which produces a printable PDF file. The sections are the same in all the kits, differing only by the information included to reflect each book. The 10 sections are:
- Prop Ideas
- Hands-on Fun
- Learning Links
- Great Quotes
I do like these. They are simple and fully prepared with minimal prep time for the teacher. They do dig a bit into the book and provide a slightly different look at the story. There is much here to do.
I would like to see the activities really ramped up to a level that appeals to the students that should be reading the book. Much of what we skipped, we skipped because it wasn’t appealing and we didn’t really see that it added to the understanding of the book. Putting on Wellington boots and running just doesn’t seem in line with a 400 page book of challenging vocabulary and themes.
The challenging vocabulary not being addressed was a miss, in my book. There was so much that could have been done, especially in All Creatures Great And Small. For instance, there are multiple mentions of carbolic. We talked about it, looked it up, and used some to wash up with, smelling that smell that is talked about in the story.
Another point I would like to see addressed is the broken links. In All Creatures Great And Small, I found several links that were broken. Also, being directed to a generic Pinterest board or outside site for links was disappointing. I often could not find what I was sent to the Pinterest board for and many of the pins for All Creatures Great And Small were duplicates, making what I was looking for even harder to find. Having to do my own search on Goodreads was disappointing and we did not find strong quotes.
A Good Resource
Overall, this is a good resource, especially for someone looking for interactive book units. Perhaps they are a better fit for younger students than older ones but there is still plenty to be gained from each of the kits. If you are looking for a book study that has hands-on activities and ideas, LitWits may be just what you are looking for so please take the time to check them out.
Lori, At Home.
Please visit the Homeschool Review Crew to read additional reviews from other families who used LitWits Kits, many of whom will have chosen different books to explore. Just click on the image below.