Letterbox Lab science kits for kids are a fantastic way to play and learn about science in your own home!
We’re on our fourth Investigate Box, which is for kids aged 8 and upwards.
This one is called Rocket Fuel.
There are six experiments inside this box, and you get everything you need to conduct them. (Except for things like water; it’s reasonable to assume you can provide that yourself.)
Oh, and one more cool thing about Letterbox Lab.
The equipment included in each box is reuseable, and over time you build up a rather nice collection of scientific accessories. So make sure you hang on to test tubes and things, because you’ll be needing them as the months go on!
Included this month is this rather nice test tube holder. You have to assemble it yourself, but it’s not very difficult.
There was even a screwdriver included!
(I have to admit that after Little C made a great start, we decided that for the sake of time, and hand strength, I would finish off the assembly with my nice ratchet screwdriver.)
There was a nice little extra in this box too. A sampler of a new book for kids all about a scientist called Max.
Also a competition to draw a scientist and win a copy of the full book!
I love it when subscription boxes run competitions, especially one that really encourage children to be creative.
So, six experiments this month, and I’m going to show you four of them, as two are still pending.
Those little cartoon characters, Meg and Pico, guide children though each experiment.
Now, they’re not all directly related to the name of the box, Rocket Fuel, but they’re all fascinating.
Colourful Chemistry meant we could use the new test tube rack.
Now, I wonder if you can guess what this involves?
Red cabbage indicator, citric acid, vinegar, bicarb. Any ideas?
It’s testing acid and alkali of course!
There is space to write down your observations in the booklet.
Plus different coloured test tubes are extremely exciting, and definitely feels like ‘proper’ science!
There were also two different kinds of acids provided, vinegar and citric acid.
Citric acid is not good for your skin, so it’s just as well Letterbox Lab always provides plenty of gloves (in every box) and goggles (in Box 1). Oh, and the gloves are properly child-size too!
One of the observations made was that the citric acid made bubbles when reacting with the alkali. There was an extra experiment to see more of this reaction.
A colourful explosion!
The colour changing is taken further.
With an acid and a ‘mystery substance’ cotton buds are used to draw on a piece of indicator-soaked paper.
The different colours should show whether it’s acid or alkali. Aside from being cool, this encourages a prediction based on previous experience, an important part of the scientific process.
Now, this colour changing this is really, really fun. Bicarb and white vinegar are common household items.
And there was still some indicator on the plate…
Time for a little further play. We grabbed our box of bicarb and vinegar spray (it’s really good for cleaning, especially if you live in a hardwater area, plus it’s eco-friendly!) and Little C spent some time combining the two in different ways.
There is a reason Letterbox Lab strongly suggests you protect your clothes. This can get messy.
There are two chemical-electrical experiments that are still pending, but the general idea is that you create and electric current using an acidic solution.
But now, we get to the proper rocket stuff!
You might be familiar with those long balloons that whizz around squeaking madly when released.
Well, when this balloon is attached to a long string, you can make it go in one direction.
And this neatly demonstrates Newton’s Third Law.
There was another balloon in the box too, a regular round one.
The booklet asked, which balloon would go faster down the string?
Little C thought the round one, because it was rounder and there would be more pressure inside. What do you think?
(I really hope you came to the same conclusion.)
So there are our indoor rockets, which are a lot of fun plus learning an important scientific principle.
Now time for the last experiment.
First you get to make a rocket with a little plastic cannister plus some nice coloured sticky foam. You get templates and everything to cut out, and you can decorate it how you like.
Then you take it outside, along with water and one of those fizzy vitamin tablets.
A bit of water in the cannister, pop a piece of tablet in, put on the lid quick, put it down, and wait…
Or rather, pop!
The reaction took about 20 seconds, so the first time we were all waiting rather anxiously for something to happen. But it worked brilliantly!
It also went really high, it was just as well we did this outside!
Even better, there was enough vitamin tablet to repeat it three more times.
Plus, you only need to get some more of those tablets and you can do it as many times as you like!
The scientific part, by the way, was that the acid and alkali in the tablet reacted with the water, creating a gas, that then built up in the cannister and created enough pressure to pop the lid off.
As well as lovely scientific discovery, this is yet another box that has fantastic play and creativity value.
Creating colours with the acids and alkalis, and playing with the balloons, we had a great deal of fun along with the learning.
Kids can also explore things in their own home, for example testing various household items for acid or alkali.
I’ve just discovered that Letterbox Lab sell refills for some items, so you can buy some extra cabbage indicator if you run out.
And as for that rocket, I can definitely see that coming out a lot this summer!
Encouraging children to observe, think, and draw conclusions, is one of them many things that is excellent about Letterbox Lab.
Children are also learning about scientific process, making predictions, writing down observations, which are essential skills to learn.
The scientific principles in the activities are beautifully explained, and even if they don’t grasp them completely, they will remember the effects they created.
There are all subjects that will be learned in science class at school at some point, and it’s very encouraging for children to have some prior knowledge of subjects that come up in the classroom. Little C is always pleased when they study something in science class comes up that she knows already.
Of course, if you homeschool, these are wonderful teaching tools.
An extra bonus is that the presentation is completely neutral and beautifully designed to appeal to all children.
There are always things that will amaze and inspire them, which is a great promotion for science for everyone!
Thanks for reading! Pin this image, and take a look at other Letterbox Lab reviews here.
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.