As a South-Asian mom, I strive to teach my children as much as I can about the rich and diverse culture of their ancestors but more often than not appropriate teaching materials are extremely difficult to find. Many of you know that I am constantly looking for not only culture-based books, but also fun and effective ways to integrate religion and culture into my children’s lives. Knowing this, you can only imagine how excited I was when SriVidhya Manikandan from Indian Moms Connect, contacted me to review the new and improved Toka Box, formerly known as IMC’s Treasure Box.
The Toka Box is a monthly subscription box which includes a carefully curated children’s picture book and a related craft or activity which enhances the reading experience while fostering one or more of the following: developmental, literacy, or STEAM (science, math, engineering, art, mathematics) skills. Each month’s subscription box fits a particular theme whether it be religion, a festival or something totally universal such as nutrition and each month’s box also focuses on one primary skill. As a mom, it makes me quite happy that the Toka Box puts a strong emphasis on learning and skill-building.
The subscription box also comes with a bonus kid-friendly recipe card which I absolutely love! I enjoy involving Akshaya and Udayan in the kitchen and they love helping me cook. so the recipe card is definitely something we all will be looking forward to each month. The Toka box is not only a great way to teach the next the teach generation about their culture, it also inspires them to stay culturally connected to their roots while encouraging quality time with family.
The Toka Box is tailored for two specific age groups. The Toka Junior is appropriate for children aged 3-5, whereas the Toka Explorer is more appropriate for children 5-8 years of age. I chose to review the Toka Explorer since it is age-appropriate for both Akshaya and Udayan.
June 2017 Toka Explorer Box
Theme: Food, Nutrition, & Healthy Eating
Book pick: The Lion’s Feast Written by Lavanya Karthik & Illustrated by Chetan Sharma
Activity: “Roaring” Menu board for the refrigerator
Toka Chef Recipe(s): Dal Takda, Dum Aloo, and Banana Froyo
As soon as we received our June Toka Box, Akshaya was super excited to work on the craft. She loves anything associated with art and Udayan sort of claimed the book, pointing at things that caught his eye. The Lion’s Feast is a fun little tale about an elderly South Indian couple who when faced with a ravenous lion, invite him for a feast of dosa, sambhar, and sambal. However, the tempting fragrance of the hot dosas and spicy sambhar bear to be too much for the couple and they end up eating all of the feast. The illustrations are just as fun as the tale! The pictures are vibrant, colourful, and unique and sure to grab the attention of young readers.
The craft portion of the Toka Box comes with a colour instruction pamphlet and everything that you need to complete the craft, including the glue. I love that we can open up the box and the kids could get right to crafting rather than wait for me to grab items. Let’s be honest, I take twice and sometimes even thrice as long to do simple tasks ever since baby Vishnu was born and this makes my life so much easier. Akshaya is a pretty good reader, so she was able to read the instructions while working on the Roaring Menu with Udayan.
My favourite part of the June Toka Box was the little areca leaf bowl that we got to test out and the mini lesson on biodegradable dinnerware. Both kids were equally fascinated that people in India and Sri-Lanka have the option of eating from bowls made out of leaves and related to it by pointing out that we, on occasion, eat on banana leaves. The areca bowl sparked quite the unexpected yet pleasant educational discussion between the children and I. For that reason alone, I look forward to seeing what next month’s Toka Box holds.
Depending on the length of subscription, the Toka Box can be purchased for $16.50 – $24.99 CND per month with a flat shipping rate of $5 CND. For every box sold, one book will be donated to a children’s school library in India. Thus far over 500 books have been donated.
To learn more about the Toka Box and how you can subscribe, click here.