Letterbox Lab provide innovative children’s science kits as subscription boxes.
They have slightly altered postage charges; the Explore Box postage is now £2 rather than 89p, but the Investigate Box postage has been reduced to £2. This more accurately reflects their postage costs, but note they are still absorbing some of these costs. They have also rounded up the box prices (by a huge 1p!). I should thow in here that the value is still excellent.
Two different versions:
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) 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.
I also want to add that this took much longer than usual to complete. Firstly, a couple of experiments did not have instant results.
More importantly, Little C came down with a rather nasty bug which delayed completing the experiments for more than a week.
It fits perfectly through the mailbox!
There are also a couple of cool trivia labels on the box, but I can’t find the picture of them. But cool nonetheless.
On top you can see the latest certificate for completion of the latest three boxes!
There are some great goodies in here.
Of course, we read the instructions carefully.
The first project (left) was super cool.
Remember that little yellow smiley face thing in one of the pictures above?
It’s one of those cool popper things you turn inside out, leave on the table, and then it jumps upwards with a big pop!
OK, you can’t see the popper, but this was the reaction!
Next up was Solar Powered (right)
Growing cress! Everyone has done this at some point.
But this time, there are two dishes of cress. One that stays out, and one that you put in a cupboard.
This was obviously a long-range experiment.
Can you guess the results?
I’ll leave it up to you to figure out which cress lived in the cupboard.
Anyway, next up was Root to Success, which involved playing with little vials of coloured water! Always a opular activity.
In went the food colouring to the water.
Paper towels added.
And now we wait!
Later that evening…
Little C liked this one very much. And it made pretty colours.
This Robo Hand was really quite complicated, and required some serious parental assistance.
Lots of measuring and cutting!
But the result was fantastic! (Little C wanted to add the popper into the picture too.)
It worked remarkably well, though we decided to take the wrist straps off and just pull the strings.
Little C enjoyed experimenting with making the fingers move!
The last experiment (delayed due to illness) was similarly complicated.
I decided to do the prep work, cutting the strips and making holes, myself.
But when it came to putting it together, Little C was totally on board!
We found making the arm as instructed gave a slightly droopy result.
The weight of the cardboard was a bit too much.
However we quickly solved it by taking out one of the ‘X’s, and then it worked beautifully!
It didn’t hold a significant amount of weight, but it could definitely grab hold of things!
And here is Little C with her certificate, plus a little bonus extra included in the box! This was a butterfly you made flutter by winding up a rubber band. Super simple and super effective.
I have to say, I had slight reservations when I realised that some of the things required a certain amount of delayed gratification and a great deal of my input.
But this turned out to be a fantastic box!
Little C’s favourite thing was the grabber hand, closely followed by the popper.
This box did require an unusual amount of input from me. First of all, there was rather a lot of cutting out, which required precision beyond that of your average six-year-old. I ended up doing more fiddly stuff than normal, but that isn’t really anything to complain about, because the results were always because of something done by Little C.
The popper was simple but brilliant, and of course you can keep it to play with!
Even though cress-growing is a classic childhood activity, this was given a far more interesting twist by comparing two different growing conditions.
We decided to let the sad pale cress have some light at the end of our experiments!
Coloured water is simple but effective, and seeing the blue and red combine with no physical input was really rather exciting.
The two mechanical projects were definitely high-maintenance, but again, highly effective. I’m glad I made the judgement call to do a lot of the prep ahead of time.
As we did this box over a period of nearly two weeks, this took up more time than usual. Two of the experiments (coloured water and cress) required days rather than minutes or hours to see results, which meant we were frequently referring back to the projects. Even the two mechanical items took longer than usual, so in this case, it was definitely more than an hour’s worth of science fun!
It was also lovely to have a little gift as a reward for completing another stage. And the gift itself was also relevant to the theme of the box!
There’s so much at the moment with girls and STEM subjects, and this is a wonderful and totally neutral introduction to science for all children. The little cartoon characters, Meg and Pico, that guide you through the activities are a boy and a girl, 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 encouraging.
Another fantastic and interesting box from Letterbox Lab!