Letterbox Lab provide innovative children’s science kits as subscription boxes.
Two different versions:
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.
On to the actual review!
My lovely helper is my daughter, Little C, age six. I was sent an Explore Box, which is perfectly designed for her age group.
Fits perfectly through the letterbox.
Plus a couple of bonus fun facts! (Little C’s rabbit was quite interested too.)
This month’s theme is Slimes and Swirls. This sounds extremely promising.
The first project was to create some Slippery Slime. Everything required is included in the box: package of cornflour, a small sachet of shampoo, some food colouring, and a spoon.
All that you need to provide is a bowl and some water.
In goes the shampoo into the cornflour.
Then you drop the colouring into the water, and pour in.
Next, you’re supposed to mix it up. As Pico says in the booklet, it becomes too thick to stir.
This is what actually happens when you try to stir it.
You get splattered with cornflour!
OK, so time to get hands-on.
And after not very long, this happens!
Lovely gooey slime! It’s really tremendous fun.
The learning part of this is that this is a non-Newtonian fluid, which means it’s a fluid that hardens when you apply pressure. So you can roll it into a ball, but as soon as you stop moving it around it melts is a very satisfying way.
We spent some time playing with this marvellous stuff. It’s now resting in the fridge to show Big C later. (That will be fun as he dislikes messy things. Hee hee.)
Finally it was time to move on to experiment #2.
This is called Cloud in a Bottle.
Once again, you only need to provide water.
In goes the pretty blue mica powder into the tube of water.
Test tubes are fab, feels like real grownup science.
While this was a lot less messy than the slime, it was a lovely effect. Check it out!
As Little C wrote, swirls!
You can’t really see the effect in the picture, but it’s beautiful. And there’s plenty of mica powder left.
Finally, experiment #3.
Bouncing Slime was a series of challenges, using this awesome pot of slime included in the box.
We could roll it, stretch it, and even make an arch with it!
I can confirm it also bounces very well, though I couldn’t get a picture of that.
This slime is a super-thick version of the slime we made in experiment #1. It was amazing to figure out that we could both stretch and snap it, depending on how sharply we pulled it.
There was an extra experiment with this slime, the pitch drop experiment (Google it). It involved putting a small ball of this blue slime into a funnel, clipping it up high, and measuring how long it took to drip through.
This is after about two hours. Little C thought it would take a few hours to drip through.
(Ooops, rubbish picture, sorry.)
Some 28 hours later and it’s still going. Oh well.
Anyhow, I have to say this is the best box to date. It’s great getting messy, and this box certainly provides lots of that! You can have tremendous fun both making and playing, and we learned something new. I’m ashamed to admit I had no idea what non-Newtonian fluid was, so I’m very pleased that we have both increased our scientific knowledge.
I’m sure that when Little C gets on to learning about fluids in science class she’ll remember doing this.
It’s terrific having so many bits to keep. The blue slime is going to last for a long time, the green slime will stay in the fridge until I can sneakily get rid of it, and now I know the basic recipe for home slime we can always make more! Oh, the extra mica was a bonus too. I’m sure we can make more swirly bottles. Right now the tube is sitting on the kitchen counter, and Little C loves shaking it up and watching the effect.
There was an extra bonus treat in the box too. A tube of blowing bubbles, but with a twist: the bubbles didn’t burst right away!
With the summer holidays in full swing, this was a lovely way to spend a (very rainy) afternoon. This box is perfect for budding scientists, or even just curious little minds! I’m a firm believer in the importance of learning stuff, and this is a great way to learn!