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National Geographic Kids Box #2 Review – October 2017

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National Geographic Junior Explorers Great Barrier Reef October 2017 - Box Exterior

This is the latest subscription box for kids from Pley: the National Geographic Kids box! Each Junior Explorers box is designed for kids ages 5-11 and includes activities, toys & accessories, including educational digital games.

National Geographic Junior Explorers Great Barrier Reef October 2017 - Sealed with a sticker This box was sent to us for review purposes. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes).

This is a review of the Great Barrier Reef Mission Box, which is the 2nd box a paying subscriber would receive.

National Geographic Junior Explorers Great Barrier Reef October 2017 - Unboxing and first peek

What is the National Geographic Kids Box?

The Subscription Box: National Geographic Kids Box

The Cost: $19.99/month + $4.95 shipping

The Products: Each box is designed for kids ages 5-11 and includes activities, toys & accessories, including educational digital games.

Ships To: US Only

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add National Geographic Kids Box to your subscription list or wishlist!

National Geographic Junior Explorers Great Barrier Reef October 2017 - Everything inside the box

October 2017 Review: Mission Great Barrier Reef

This is our first time checking out the National Geographic Kids Box from Pley. Everything comes packaged in a cute suitcase-style case with a handle, convenient for storing things in or excellent for dress up and imaginative play. The case is just big enough for an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of paper inside, and about 1 to 1.5″ inches thick.

This is the second box in the series, The Great Barrier Reef, so all of the items inside have an oceanic theme.

My first impression was that this is heavy on the paper goods and a little more educational “feeling” than Pley’s Disney Princess box. Let’s see what’s inside!

National Geographic Junior Explorers Great Barrier Reef October 2017 - Activity book

Mission Great Barrier Reef Activity Book

This activity booklet leads you into the theme for this box. It includes instructions for accessing your online account as well as some other fun things to engage your kids.

National Geographic Junior Explorers Great Barrier Reef October 2017 - Activity book

They jump right into a big topic relevant to the Great Barrier Reef: coral bleaching.

National Geographic Junior Explorers Great Barrier Reef October 2017 - Activity book

National Geographic Junior Explorers Great Barrier Reef October 2017 - Activity book National Geographic Junior Explorers Great Barrier Reef October 2017 - Activity book

While there are lots of facts and some pencil-and-paper type activities here, the booklet is really as a companion to the online learning game that is included for subscribers. The booklet, for example, doesn’t explain anything about coral bleaching, so I logged into the game to see what they had to say!

National Geographic Kids Game

The game introduces you to Kia and Kyle, your kid companions, and with their help, you load up a bag of gear and fly to Australia to help a scientist examine what’s happening to the coral.

National Geographic Kids Game

This is an easy click-along type game, with a few simple tasks at various stages in order to keep advancing. Kids will need to interact with a map, a compass, learn about various types of gear, and more in order to complete the storyline. There is an audio component but it’s not totally needed, as they also display all of the text on the screen as you walk through the game.

National Geographic Kids Game

National Geographic Kids Game

At the end of a learning task, you’re rewarded with a digital version of the cards included in your box:

National Geographic Junior Explorers Great Barrier Reef October 2017 - Trading Cards

Collectible Animal Cards

National Geographic Junior Explorers Great Barrier Reef October 2017 - Trading Cards National Geographic Junior Explorers Great Barrier Reef October 2017 - Trading Cards

(I had no idea that sea turtles eat sponges?)

National Geographic Junior Explorers Great Barrier Reef October 2017 - Trading CardsI’ve referenced Wildlife Fact File in previous kids box reviews (my first childhood subscription from the 90s!), and this stirred similar nostalgic feelings for me. I thought it was interesting that the digital cards have the same format, but I didn’t actually receive the same card physically in the box, so I suppose they’re all unique?

National Geographic Junior Explorers Great Barrier Reef October 2017 - Shirt

National Geographic Sea Animals T-shirt – Value $9.99 – $16.99? (Similar shirts in the National Geographic Store)

Also included in the box is a bigger ticket item, this sea animal t-shirt! I couldn’t find this exact design online but linked to some other shirts from Nat Geo for reference.

National Geographic Junior Explorers Great Barrier Reef October 2017 - Shirt detail

This is a 50/50 cotton/poly blend, which I actually love for kids’ clothes because it seems to wear a little bit better over time. The illustrations are bright and I love the facts too!

When you sign up, you’ll get to select your child’s size for this box.

National Geographic Junior Explorers Great Barrier Reef October 2017 - Magazine

National Geographic Kids Chapters: Diving with Sharks! – Retail $5.99 (Amazon Price: $4.92)

The next item in the box is this dense little National Geographic Kids Chapters mini magazine featuring sharks. It’s about half the size of a normal NatGeo magazine.

National Geographic Junior Explorers Great Barrier Reef October 2017 - Magazine

I loved browsing my dad’s National Geographic magazines growing up, so I loved that this little book is about the same thickness as those and has a nice glossy cover. It feels significant and weighty.

The magazine is thematic and has a number of articles in kid-friendly type for young readers, including a suspenseful story about a married couple who swim with sharks and more:

National Geographic Junior Explorers Great Barrier Reef October 2017 - Magazine National Geographic Junior Explorers Great Barrier Reef October 2017 - Magazine National Geographic Junior Explorers Great Barrier Reef October 2017 - Magazine

This book is 112 pages and according to Amazon is suitable for kids in grades 2 – 5 (or ages 7-10). I was pretty happy with how much was packed into here despite the small size; this would definitely be some enjoyable reading for a kid who loves learning about the world.

National Geographic Junior Explorers Great Barrier Reef October 2017 - Stickers

Great Barrier Reef Stickers

The next item is a simple sheet of 12 oceanic stickers, each one about 2″ across.

National Geographic Junior Explorers Great Barrier Reef October 2017 - Stickers

Perfect for decorating your suitcase or school notebooks!

National Geographic Junior Explorers Great Barrier Reef October 2017 - Bracelet

Fabric Bracelet

This fabric bracelet is adjustable with a small black plastic bead, although you’d need to tie a knot in order to prevent it from slipping off your child’s wrist.

National Geographic Junior Explorers Great Barrier Reef October 2017 - Bracelet

It’s bright and colorful, but it doesn’t add a lot of value to this box for me personally. It acts as a marker of achievement for this box’s mission, but I’d have rather gotten something that feels more substantial– like an embroidered patch. (It sounds like they send one bracelet with each box for subscribers to collect as they complete each mission.)

That said, I know plenty of kiddos that would happily wear something like this.

National Geographic Junior Explorers Great Barrier Reef October 2017 - Small animals

Mini Animal Figurines

I’m always surprised at how much detail are in these things for how tiny they are; they’d each easily fit on top of a quarter.

This is another item that will arrive in each box, so kids can collect examples of the various animals they’ve learned about in their missions. My son is only 2.5 so he’s not really into organizing and collecting things yet, but I definitely remember having many little collections of things in elementary school and would have definitely thought these were cool.

National Geographic Junior Explorers Great Barrier Reef October 2017 - Small animals

You’ve probably seen these before; you can usually grab them in bulk bins near the checkout line of toy stores and the like.

National Geographic Junior Explorers Great Barrier Reef October 2017 - Small animals

Kids seem to be always enamored by their twee tiny-ness, but speaking as a parent: they’re also one of those things that will get lost almost instantly. Thankfully they are a soft rubber and won’t destroy your feet like a LEGO, but I’m sure these will turn up in some unlikely places in our house.

National Geographic Junior Explorers Great Barrier Reef October 2017 - Certificate

Finally, we have a certificate of achievement for this mission certifying your kid to “teach others about the Great Barrier Reef.”

Verdict

Despite some of the small additions to this box feeling a little underwhelming, I thought the National Geographic Kids Box was an enjoyable kids box, and I thought it had a lot of great educational material. In the pre-internet days of my somewhat nerdy youth, I’d have loved getting this in the mail for sure! I’m a little disappointed that so much of the experience seems to be online, but also glad they included the chapter book and other activities (plus the cute shirt) to help round it all out.

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? If you subscribe to this box, the Great Barrier Reef Mission will be the second box you receive in the series. (All subscribers receive boxes in the same order, starting with box #1.)

Is the National Geographic Kids Box worth it? A strict value statement for these types of educational boxes is really difficult to nail down! The items that do have an estimated retail value (the t-shirt and the chapter book) would be close to the $19.99 price for the subscription if I were to purchase them directly, so to get those items plus the online game, activities, and throw-ins feels fair overall.

This box is most similar to Little Passports ($14.95/month + shipping). While this box is a little more expensive at ($19.95/month + shipping), you are getting some additional items (t-shirts, books, online access) that make this box different and help justify the higher price.

What do you think?

What do you think of the National Geographic Kids Box? Do you like boxes that include digital content in addition to getting something in the mail?

Written by Lacey Volk

Lacey Volk

Lacey’s introduction to the world of subscription boxes was Julep Maven, but she quickly moved on once she discovered there were subscriptions for cooking, coffee, and art supplies. Current favorites include Crate Chef and Ecocentric Mom, and she’s looking forward to trying more.

All views in this review are the opinion of the author. My Subscription Addiction will never accept payment in exchange for a review, but will accept a box at no cost to provide honest opinions on the box. This post may contain affiliate/referral links. If you buy something, MSA may earn an affiliate commission. Read the complete My Subscription Addiction disclosure.

23 Comments

  1. I like the box and my son liked doing the activity box. I also have had a lot of issues with Pley-first the box was delayed over a month and then I am unable to access the online content. I hope Pley can improve the customer service.

  2. I recently subscribed to this box because of this review since my son LOVES nature and animals and was getting tired of his Kiwi Crate. However, I’m having issues receiving my order and a deeper internet search revealed that a lot of other customers have this issue too with pley. I wish I could say I liked the company but I have yet to get a box. I subscribe to a lot of other boxes and have never had this issue before.

  3. My kid is always excited when he gets the NatGeo box. The booklets, flashcards with animal facts, the digital mission, etc. are all great educational resources for kids. Lots of valuable information for a very reasonable price.

  4. I bought a 12 box subscription and my son absolutely loves it. He plays the games that comes with it for hours. When he’s done he comes and we do a quiz on what he’s learned. I am so proud of this boy, he knows things his old man doesn’t know!

  5. This was one of the boxes we received for my nephew and he loves it! I think I was just as excited as him when it arrived. We had such a fun time going over the cards and reading all the material. Pretty cool company!

  6. We are new to this subscription box and so far very happy with the product. Good value too.

  7. I’m glad someone finally reviewed this box. I have been waiting to see any review of it anywhere for months. Now I’m glad I waited because I can see that National Geographic is using this box as a way of brainwashing kids towards an environmentalist viewpoint instead of just teaching them about animals. It is my job as a parent to teach my kids what I believe and what my values are, and I won’t subscribe to a box that tries to teach my kids their beliefs rather than facts. Thanks for the review.

    • Wow, it sucks that you’ll have to teach your kids about animals without the aid of these resources. Fortunately for you, there is a rapidly decreasing number of animals left to teach them about because some people think it’s debatable that we should care about our planet.

    • My son loves this box! As a parent, I love that it teaches him the human impact on the animal world. Within the missions there are tons of facts about animals, their habitat, and ecosystems. Guess I don’t understand why an environmentalist viewpoint, especially one grounded in sound scientific research is controversial.

    • 😂 Yeah, Nat Geo is notorious for their brainwashing of kids. If only they offered educational, scientific material! 😂

    • Yeah, the facts are: climate change is happening. 99% of scientists agree. You and your kids can chose to believe that it’s not. You can also believe that the moon landing was fake, or that Paul McCarney died in 1968 and was replaced by an animatronic robot, and you can maybe find lots of people on the Internet who agree with you. Believing something really hard doesn’t make it true, though, and it doesn’t make it science.

    • Ha ha hysterical. At least I can think for myself, and raise my kids to do the same. I find it funny how offended others get when someone wants to use their own brain rather than be brainwashed by the masses, you probably let your kids watch pbs too. It’s a wonder we have a single animal left on this earth. Ha!

      • Science is “not thinking for yourself” it’s actual facts compiled to form, well reality. Aren’t you just a little curious about the world around you? Every parent should afford their child all the opportunities that they themselves did not have and learning about themselves and the world around them. To be able to tell fact from fiction.

        To have an issue with a “learning and education” sub box and claim some kind of “plot” or “conspiracy” to indoctrinate your children to “FACTS”, well it’s really sad all around. Facts are just facts. It’s as simple as that. 1+1=2. Fact.

        I’m probably a bit biased in that I was always science heavy in my studies from the time I could open a book. I always wanted to learn more about everything! I can not imagine a world without all that wonderment and the desire to know the “why”.

      • Wait, what? What’s wrong with PBS? Poldark, Grantchester, and Endeavour are all awesome TV. I watch PBS.

        My son doesn’t watch TV by choice. He’s too busy doing the things he prefers, playing outside, working at his job, seeing friends, playing soccer, and getting his homework done.

      • “you probably let your kids watch pbs” is probably the most unintentionally funny “parent shaming” statement I have ever read. When PBS is the standard of evil programming for children, I know that there is no point in engaging in a rational discussion. Bless your heart.

    • The wonderful thing about science is that it doesn’t care what you believe or what your values are.

    • The good news is you can sub to the new The Earth Is Flat Box instead.

      • Curated by B.O.B 🙂

      • You really need to stop pushing your globe-shaped onions here. You and PBS need to take a walk right off the end of the flat earth!
        😂

    • Besides the absurdity of the statement that NatGeo is trying to brainwash kids to be concerned about the environment….where exactly are they making this supposed attempt? The only thing I saw in this review that is environmental is the notion that there is something wrong with the Great Barrier Reef….and it’s a fact. It’s dying. It has nothing to do with beliefs or values. Open your eyes and see the world through something other than a television screen.

      • I thought this exact same thing. Feels like OP wasn’t so much waiting for this to be reviewed so she could see what was inside, but rather to jump all over it for not conforming to her “beliefs”. The t-shirt, the shark book, plastic animals & cards are all just teaching facts about animals. Even the coral book just talks about coral reef facts. I don’t even see where it states that coral bleaching is due to anything other than coral being stressed. What am I missing???

  8. Canada is left out once again.

    • Hi Emilia,

      We currently only ship within the United States including Alaska and Hawaii, but we hope to be able to ship internationally soon. As soon as we are ready, we will make an announcement across our social media platforms so please be sure to follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for updates!

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