By Merith G. – Review received for the All Subscription Boxes May Competition
I’ve been considering a subscription box for my C, four-year-old daughter, and have checked out the various options on All Subscription Boxes. I was very tempted by the Toucan box, but I chose this one first.
It fitted though the mailbox, which was convenient, was addressed to my daughter personally, and the box itself was lovely and colourful. It arrived on a Wednesday, and I managed to persuade my daughter to leave it alone until the weekend. That is, I put it on top of the fridge where she couldn’t reach it.
So Saturday arrived, and after a trip to the playground, we got stuck in. The theme for this box was ‘Space’. Opened up, there were four little bags with stuff for each activity, four how-to cards, and an extra bit of card for one of the activities that wouldn’t fit in the bag. It’s always a bit tricky to stop my daughter diving into stuff, but she grabbed a random bag and declared she wanted to start with that one, called Rocket Fuel! She tore it open, and a little pack of dried apricots (called Space Discs) and a single date fell out. Hm. I found the relevant card, and discovered it was basically a sandwich-making activity. By providing cream cheese (we didn’t have any), bread cut in to circles (we don’t eat bread) and cucumber (we sometimes have this but not this week) we were basically making dried fruit and cucumber cream cheese sandwiches. The picture wasn’t very clear, but apparently the whole thing was held together with cocktail sticks (they were missing) with part of the date (maybe, it was hard to tell) stuck on top. I have to say that, quite aside from the fact that we couldn’t make this, the picture didn’t look like a rocket ship, even if I squinted and looked at it out of the corner of my eye.
Oh, and also, have you ever seen what happens when a child eats more than one dried apricot at a time? Suffice it to say, best have a good stock of Andrex…
So our Rocket Fuel Activity consisted of eating one (one only, see above) dried apricot. C enjoyed it as she loves dried fruit.
Next up was the Balloon Rocket! This was a success. We attached the wool to the fridge handle, C helped with the threading of the straw, she cut off the bendy bit of the straw herself (though couldn’t this have been done already? I know it’s a little thing, but details are important) and after I blew up the balloon and clipped the peg on the end, she taped it to the straw. Now the next part was the only bit that didn’t work. She took the peg off the end, but the balloon didn’t actually move as the air came out. We tried it again and discovered there was a leak in the balloon. Hm. However, I saved the day by finding another balloon in the craft cupboard, we set it up again, and it worked a treat. We did it several times before C began to lose interest. So aside from the dodgy balloon, this one was pretty good.
#3 was the Space Dough! (All the titles and instructions are extremely ejaculatory in style.) Included was ‘Special Dough Mix’ and Glittery Paint Mix’. We needed provide water, vegetable oil, salt, and flour. Oh. Wait. We don’t have flour (it’s that no-bread thing again) or vegetable oil (could probably have subbed this for olive oil, it was only a T), and 75g of salt. Er no, that’s a fair amount and I don’t have any of the cheap table salt that I wouldn’t mind wasting. So not so much for this. We do have playdough and Plasticine, but we can use those any time. OK, so that was a bust.
And finally, Night Sky Mobile! That’s what that bit of extra card was for. So, I’m cool with providing scissors and digging out a coathanger. I’ve also seen what happens when a four year old attempts to draw outlines of stars and moons and things. In fact I’ve seen what happens when I attempt it. So we chose some outlines from Google and printed them out. Much better. Then came the painting. We (I) mixed the glitter paint. It was a great colour, a lovely bright yellow, but adding glitter to paint powder does not make it glittery, it makes it lumpy. But it didn’t matter too much. C painted one side, we let them dry a bit, then I cut them out and she painted the other sides.
After drying, I punched the holes, and we used the string to hang them from the coathanger. It looked pretty nice.
Here is my conclusion:
It was unfortunate that we couldn’t complete two of the activities. If we could I might have been a little happier, but I didn’t think they looked that interesting anyway. Even after reading all the instructions C didn’t seem at all bothered that we couldn’t do them.
I realise that the advantage to this kind of thing is that it’s all provided and instructed, which is great for general laziness, and eliminates the need to search the internet for fun activities to do with your little darlings. But I did feel that I actually had to do a fair amount, even just little things that the kids can’t do like cutting straws (though C did it just fine) and cutting cucumber and apricots and things. And looking for star shapes to print (I know this wasn’t mandatory, but it was necessary). Oh, and finding a balloon that wasn’t broken.
The activity box is a great idea in principle, and I’m definitely going to try others (I’ve got my eye on the Toucan box) but we’re not going to continue with this. I found it a bit cheap and tacky (like the pictures on the instruction cards are really amateurish) and there were too many things to be provided at home. One thing which would be a great help would be for parents to receive an email when the box is dispatched listing the extra things that need to be provided. So in this case, flour, cream cheese, salt etc. Then at least one could be prepared when the box is opened and it’s time to do the activities. Also perhaps to inform parents about the food contents.
C enjoyed it, but she was more interested in the attractive box and reading the instruction cards (she likes to read), and as I said, she wan’t at all bothered with the things we couldn’t do. The mobile was probably the most fun thing, though it required nothing I don’t already have at home, and if you don’t have a coathanger you’d have to think of an alternative. I think I’d probably go outside and find a stick (it’s been windy lately, there are quite a few on the ground). Also, C used the the leftover yellow paint for painting pictures, which again engaged her for longer than the actual activities.
I’m glad we got this for free because I would not been happy to have paid for it. It’s great shipping was included, and the box is cute. But they don’t really make up for the contents. Even though it doesn’t cost much (£7.50 full price) I can think of other things I could spend that on that would keep us occupied for longer. Such as a pack of coloured pencils, a cheap notebook, and a bottle of wine. OK, the bottle of wine would be to occupy me while C used the notebook and pencils. And she can colour and draw for two hours straight, which is a considerably longer time than we spent doing these activities.
I realise this is a small company, and I feel a little bad giving them a poor review because I think there’s potential in this. There’s definitely some ingenuity and originality. But assuming they’re trying to keep this as a budget item, which I totally understand, it really does come out as kind of bargain-basement. I’m sure there are plenty of people who think it’s fantastic for the price, and if you’re looking for an economical gift it would be very nice, but as as a personal view, I’m not keen.
Product Quality: 2/5
Value For Money: 3/5
[tab title=”October 2014 Box review”]
The box itself looked very inviting to my 4 year old son and he couldn’t wait to open it and see what activities were inside.
I liked the fact that it was addressed to him and so did he, it made him feel very important (“it’s just for me mummy, look!”) and he was right, a parcel addressed to Jack!).
The theme of the ‘woodland gang’ who guide the activities was a nice idea – although a little lost on my own son (just 4), I imagine a 5/6 year old would enjoy reading the description of, and getting to learn about the characters.
Enclosed in the box are 4 different activity bundles, 4 sheets with instructions and a packet of stickers with a certificate to apply them to when you have completed each individual activity and the box itself.
When reading the instruction sheet for each activity it lists what you will need to complete it, but does not state what has been provided in the packet and what you needed to source yourself…this however is my only complaint and isn’t really even a complaint as if I had double checked the sticker on the front of the packet I would have seen that it does indeed tell you what is inside. I had only read the instructions. If I had double checked I could have saved myself a trip to the shops!
The popcorn was easy to make and tasted delicious, the honey and icing sugar needed in addition to what was provided are things we luckily had in the pantry and my son really did enjoy watching it pop and tucking into his homemade snack with a movie that night.
The board game was a hit and played by the whole family, interesting enough for my 8 year old to enjoy but simple enough for my 2 year old to understand. I also liked that you could have your own input by writing your consequences in the blank spaces and personalising the game.
The kite was simple and fun to make, although we are yet to have a go at flying it. Finally the last package ‘butterfly pegs’, again simple and fun and the children played with them for a half an hour after making them.
All in all very pleased with the Weekend box and it made the weekend that little bit more special as it was filled with activities that require one-to-one attention which I truly believe all children thrive from receiving a little more of than we usually find the time to give them.
Designed for children aged 4-6, Weekend Boxes arrive fortnightly or monthly bursting with fun-filled activities for you to enjoy together.
In each box you get the bits you need to complete Cooking, Making, Exploring and Green activities, all in a neatly designed box that comes addressed to your child and pops right through your letterbox (no more missed delivery cards!)
Use code ALLSUBS to get your 1st box absolutely FREE! (ps – No taster boxes here, you get a free FULL box!)
Only £7.50 per box, including free delivery.
Use code ALLSUBS to get your 1st box absolutely FREE! (ps – No taster boxes here, you get a free FULL box!) Click here: