With schools and nurseries still closed, it is an unsettling and challenging time for our little ones. We often forget how much children take on board and how the pandemic is affecting even the smallest of children. My little girl, Penny, is only 3-years-old, but even she has become increasingly anxious over the last few months. I try to keep her busy throughout the day to keep her mind off her teachers and nursery friends who I know she misses greatly. I also try to encourage her to be as independent as possible because I know I have the tendency of babying her and I want her to return to her nursery just as confident and self-sufficient (within reason) as she was at the start of the year. When the Mister Maker x ToucanBox arrived at my door, I knew it would be something she’d love and that would keep her entertained for hours.
ToucanBox is a flexible subscription service that encourages little fingers and minds to stay curious, creative and busy. This box is suitable for children aged 3-8, so Penny did need quite a bit of support but it was an activity we could sit down and work at together, which also encouraged me to put down my phone and be more present. I put my hands up, finding activities to keep a Penny and her baby sister occupied whilst trying to keep the house clean and work from home has been completely draining so I was more than grateful that ToucanBox did all the hard work for me. I didn’t need to dig into our increasingly bare craft cupboard for resources or frantically search Pinterest for the thousandth time. It was all there – inspiration, materials and easy-to-follow instructions.
The packaging is letterbox-friendly so you don’t need to worry about missing the postie and literally everything you need is inside. This box is a collaboration with Mister Maker, a popular character from CBeebies. I really appreciate how the box was personalised and you could even make a frame for your artwork out of the colourful packaging. Penny was immediately intrigued. Inside we found an activity book, a small collectable sticker, and everything necessary to make an Octopus Family. I think you’ll agree the theme is a bit random, but Penny couldn’t be happier so I guess they know what they’re doing! Inside there were two small paper lanterns (for the body), a tube of blue paint, googly eyes, wool, double-sided tape, glittery stickers, corrugated paper (for the legs), wool, foam and even a small paintbrush. The only thing not provided was scissors and I didn’t really expect them to be.
The instructions inside were incredibly easy to follow. This activity did require a lot of supervision to set-up but all the creativity came from Penny. As comical as making an octopus was to me, it made perfect sense to Penny because she’d been learning about them whilst watching Octonauts. She could even tell me that the legs were called tentacles. That’s what I love about these kind of activities, you’ll learn so much about your little one when they minds are racing and they’re genuinely excited about something. The activity was very simple and was completed in only 5 steps. Penny told me her favourite part was painting the octopus. Only blue paint was provided but you could easily extend the activity by introducing more colours to pass the time. It was a shame that the stickers were so difficult to remove from the backing paper because this was another area I needed to help her with as I could see her getting frustrated. The activity was perfect for her age range but perhaps too simple for children at the higher end of the suggested bracket.
The Mister Maker x ToucanBox Craft Box retails from £6.93 and you receive a free wallchart with your first box. You can expect a delivery every two weeks and you can cancel your subscription at any time by logging into your account.