Review: Letterbox Lab Investigate Box 2 – Science up your Sleeve

Letterbox Lab is a monthly box of fantastic science experiments for kids. There are two stages: the Explore Box for kids age 6+ and the Investigate Box, aimed at children age 8 – 12. 

Little C has turned eight, and we’re now working our way through the Investigate Box series that the lovely Letterbox Lab people are kind enough to send us! 

The first box in the series was a great success, so we were excited to discover the next theme: Science up your Sleeve. This box of experiments uses science to make magic!

Letterbox Lab Review Investigate Box 2

There are eight experiments in total, each neatly bagged and labelled. As well as the experiments, you’ll build up a nice collection of scientific equipment. And yes, on the left of the picture it does look like you get a magic wand! You’ll see more about in a moment. 

Letterbox Lab Review Investigate Box 2

The instruction booklet has clear and child-friendly instructions. You also get an excellent set of rules and safety advice for the supervising adult, as well as a list of exciting chemicals!

Also included in the box are sensible things like gloves. Some of the experiments can get messy, so best not to wear nice clothes.

Now let’s have a look at the magic wand.

Can you guess how it’s done?

Of course it’s Static Electricity!

There’s other things to do too, balloons, floating feathers, and even making little pictures of Meg & Pico dance. This is simple but effective, and a lot of fun.

Another magic trick is Floating on Air.

This took us a few goes to get right, but it’s quite amazing managing to invert a tube full of water and none of it falls out.

Letterbox Lab Review Investigate Box 2

We also thought about what would happen if we used the sequin with a hole in then stuck a cocktail stick into the hole.

Letterbox Lab Review Investigate Box 2

Here’s a hint: it was just as well we did this experiment over a big bowl!

Letterbox Lab Review Investigate Box 2

The Pico in a Cage is a neat little optical illusion, and Blooming Flower explores the effect of water being absorbed by paper.

Magic Milk was a rather squishy kind of experiment.

Letterbox Lab Review Investigate Box 2

It combined milk (made from milk powder that came in the box) and vinegar to create curds, which were then squeezed and squished into a playdough-like substance that could be molded. Stinky but fun.

Now for a bit of real magic (and chemistry!)

Vanishing Flame  lets you put out a flame without blowing!

The secret is in mixing citric acid with a bicarb solution which produces COand puts out the flame. Pretty cool, huh?

Letterbox Lab Review Investigate Box 2

Disappearing Water is set up like an actual magic trick. It uses sodium polyacrylate to make coloured water disappear when you pour it into a pot.

Letterbox Lab Review Investigate Box 2

It also provided a great deal of fun afterwards. There was lots of experimentation to find out how much water the sodium polyacrylate could actually soak up, and then what happened when we left it to dry out.

It was also gratifyingly messy! (Don’t worry, the blue hands didn’t stay that way forever.)

In the box was some luminous paint and finger lights. The paint was applied to the inside of the box lid.

Letterbox Lab Review Investigate Box 2

It was literally possible to ‘write’ using the finger lights! Doesn’t that look incredible?

We also experimented with blocking light to the paint.

Letterbox Lab Review Investigate Box 2

A toy bunny can create an excellent shadow.

Well, this box was certainly a lot of fun! The actual science covered several different subjects, and the magic theme brought them together.

One of the brilliant things about the Investigate box is that kids actually get to play with ‘proper’ chemicals and test tubes and all that, The safety goggles (included with Box 1) give it an especially grown-up air, and also get them started on the importance of safety nice and early.

The booklet doesn’t just give you instructions; it prompts children to think and make predictions according to the experiment. There are also lots of suggestions for further experimentation.

The combination of science and play is very impressive. From writing on luminous paint to making things fizz in test tubes, children will learn almost without realizing!

I was very pleased to hear from Little C’s science teacher that she is doing very well in class. Apparently she has shown knowledge about things they have not yet covered in class, but she’s experienced through Letterbox Lab, as well as a good awareness of scientific process.

Whether you are a home educator or simply want your kids to absorb some scientific knowledge in a fun and interesting way, this is how to do it!


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Letterbox Lab is the perfect subscription box for your little scientists! Look what we did for our second fascinating and fun Explore Box,

Letterbox Lab provide innovative children’s science kits as subscription boxes. We were sent this kit at no charge, and all opinions are our own.

The Explore Box (£8 + £2 postage) is for kids aged 6+ and contains a least an hour’s worth of fun science.

The Investigate Box (£22 + £2 postage) for kids aged 8+ has more experiments and more items of collectible lab equipment with enough to keep a junior scientist busy for 3 or 4 hours.

Both kits have full-colour illustrated instructions and online videos to make it easy to do all the experiments.