Activities & Events

makchic reviews: We Can Be Anything’s Careers in a Box

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A parent’s nightmare – a week-long school holiday with no travel plans (my 10-year-old, Lucas, had yet to complete his Covid-19 vaccination) and work deadlines looming! Thankfully, the We Can Be AnythingCareers in a Box’ project-based experiential learning activities were just the ticket to keep him constructively occupied for a couple of hours each day. 

Experiential learning through role play

These activity kits are specially designed for young learners to help them foster key skills for the future. We opened the ‘Be a Journalist’ box, which revealed mysterious folders stamped ‘pre-mission’, ‘missions’, and even ‘top secret’, each designed with journalism concepts in mind. Each folder contained colour-coded and clear step-by-step instructions for kids (and parents) to fulfil the mission of making their own newspaper.

Attractive props and examples with clear instructions.

Elements such as timeliness, proximity, consequence and human interest were explained, introducing elements applied by journalists when deciding upon the newsworthiness of a story. Lucas then took on the challenge of identifying these elements in an article. Basic story structures of hook, introduction, body and conclusion were also introduced, and handy checklists listed practical tips – such as writing in the past tense and third person, including a catchy headline, and verifying assertions through credible sources.

Learning to write newsworthy stories.

There were also props to help kids complete the role play – such as a press pass for their individual photos, a reporter’s notebook, and a big newspaper sheet to stick the completed articles and accompanying visuals onto.

Flexible and project-based learning activities

We decided to split the mission up over five days, with some shorter missions completed in an hour, and longer ones taking over a couple of hours each day. Lucas enjoyed reading the included samples and explanatory resources from the box. As well as scanning the provided QR codes to view news websites, YouTube videos, and reference pages, he also did his own research (as any self-respecting  journalist would!). 

Emotional intelligence and empathy

Materials for the story assignment.

My cub reporter then interviewed ‘characters’ related to the assigned story. Armed with examples and tips on how to ask questions by using the 5W1H model (Who, What, Where, Why, When and How), Lucas interviewed and coaxed out answers from his curious parents, who took on the character roles based on backgrounds provided in the parents’ guidebook. He also incorporated balanced views, to show more than one side of the story.

Parents joined in the fun by roleplaying characters.

Using the inverted pyramid model, he analysed his notes and wrote two articles on the theme of food banks. His last mission was to identify and photograph (or draw) suitable items for a food bank to accompany his stories. With all these elements, he completed making his first newspaper and uploaded it to We Can Be Anything‘s website in order to receive an e-certificate containing the newspaper.

Assembling the paper with articles and an accompanying photograph.

Attention to detail

I appreciated that the parents’ guidebook clearly set out which project activities should be done independently by the child, and which were parent-child activities. These collaborative learning activities were short, and it was fun to have my own Top Secret dossier, and to embody the different characters! There were also extra missions and discussion prompts for those who wanted to go further. Bonus points goes to the company as well for using sustainable packaging and materials.

Hot off the press! Proud of his first newspaper.

What we liked: This was a well-designed experiential learning box for 10 to 12-year olds, pitched perfectly to spark an interest in and introduce the skills involved in a career in journalism.

What could be improved? Subscription to the Careers in a Box series (the upcoming Be A Chemist box looks the bomb!) at a discounted rate, or the option to gift a box to kids from low-income families. 

All in all, I highly recommend it for curious tween kids to discover interests and develop life-skills through different professions — making this an ideal present or activity over the school holidays!

The Be a Journalist box retails at RM159 and was sponsored by We Can Be Anything. The writer’s opinions, however, are solely her own.

From now until 31st May 2022, use the promo code MAKCHIC to obtain 15% off your purchase. Proceeds from the sale of the Careers in a Box learning boxes go towards funding We Can Academy, a programme that connects professionals from diverse industries  – such as film, law, and technology – with kids from underprivileged backgrounds, in order to introduce them to these diverse topics. This gives them broad-based exposure outside of formal schooling to build confidence and skills in order to navigate life and flourish.

For more information, please visit their website or check out their Facebook page. 

In her previous roles, Lu Sean killed it in arts management, PR, and law. She now herds two primary schoolers, and a cat. When not busy writing, Lu Sean loves bingeing k-dramas while nursing a teh tarik.