Letterbox Lab provide innovative children’s science kits as subscription boxes.
The Explore Box (£7.99 + 89p postage) is for kids aged 6+ and contains a least an hour’s worth of fun science.
The Investigate Box (£21.99 + £2.57 postage) 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.
My lovely helper is my daughter, Little C, age six and three-quarters (the three quarters are very important, apparently). I was sent an Explore Box, which is perfectly designed for her age group.
It fits perfectly through the letterbox, so no need to wait in for the mailman!
You even get some fun facts on the box.
This month’s theme is Gas Powered. Yes, we made fart jokes.
Everything is packaged up neatly into individual bags.
And yes, more fart jokes when we saw the cabbage.
You don’t have to do the activities/experiments in order, but we generally do.
The first project was the cabbage-related one, Painting by Cabbage.
Sounds most intriguing.
Everything is provided in the box except for water and a plate.
We added water to the tube of cabbage powder using the pipette, and gave it a good shake.
And poured the mixture on the paper.
We waited a few moments for it to all soak in, and then time to draw!
We soaked the two cotton buds in vinegar and bicarb water respectively, and made patterns.
Yes, you guessed it, this was testing for acid (vinegar) and alkali (bicarb).
We also tried the fizzing paper.
You can see the the red and blue coloured reactions of the vinegar and bicarb.
Next up, Rocket Balloons.
Balloons are brilliant!
This first meant blowing up one of the two long balloons and seeing what happens when you let go.
She didn’t just aim at the ceiling…
OK, so now it’s time to control it.
We attached yarn to the window, threaded it through a straw (that was remarkably tricky), and then stuck the straw to the inflated balloon (holding the end closed tight!).
Off it flew to the window!
(Apologies for the quality of these action shots. Juggling phone, yarn, and child who’s eager to let go before you’re ready is tricky.)
We also tried the ‘Take it Further’ experiment. We set up two pieces of yarn, and had a race between the long balloon and the round balloon.
This was Little C’s prediction of the results:
She was right!
The long balloon was a poor second, and ended up slumped on the kitchen floor.
This activity taught us about Newton’s Third Law of Motion. If you don’t know what that is, go and look it up.
After a brief commiseration with the humiliated balloon, we moved on to the final experiment, the Bubbling Volcano.
The Messiness Rating of 3 was extremely promising.
I’m sure you can guess what this one was. Everyone has done this experiment at school, and it never stops being fun.
The addition of clay to make your own volcano is a great touch.
In goes the bicarb.
Then the vinegar and food colouring mixture.
BEHOLD, THE ERUPTION!
Total success. There was enough bicarb and vinegar left to keep going.
This is another fantastic box from Letterbox Lab!
It was a wonderful way to spend an annoyingly rainy (August) morning. There was plenty of mess involved, and some really interesting stuff to learn.
You should be able to spend a happy morning or afternoon with the whole box, or you can do the activities individually whenever you like.
There are items included you can keep and use again, which is very helpful. It’s nice to build up a little collection of scientific equipment!
I’m really impressed at the little thoughtful details they add.
The long balloon was one of the ones that make silly noises, which gave it an extra-entertaining dimension.
The addition of food colouring to the volcano project is inspired. Including clay so little hands can make their own volcano is also a special touch, as every child loves playing with clay.
We’ve left our volcano to dry so we can play with it again. I may have to add red food colouring to the shopping list as well!
One fantastic thing about this box is that it felt like ‘real chemistry’. Test tubes and fizzing stuff feels terribly grown-up, and Little C was incredibly pleased with it.
She decided that it tied with the previous month’s Slimes and Swirls Box for fun value, as she couldn’t decide which one was her favourite.
Encouraging girls to be involved with STEM subjects is a really big deal at the moment, and this is a wonderful and totally neutral introduction to science for all children. The little cartoon characters, Meg and Pico, guide you through the activities, and it’s frequently Meg who takes the lead. I don’t know if this was intentional or not on the part of the creators, but it’s very positive.
There are several things that will resonate for Little C in school as time goes on, such as Newton’s Third Law and acids and alkalies. It’s wonderful to have the opportunity learn in such a fun and inspiring way.
Brilliant stuff Letterbox Lab!
Originally posted in an abridged form on www.allsubscriptionboxes.co.uk