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MEL Kids Subscription Review – September 2019

MEL Kids is a subscription box for children ages 5-10 that delivers a hands-on science experiment to your door each month along with an AR (augmented reality)-powered lesson to accompany it which is accessible from their app.

This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes.)

About MEL Kids

The Subscription Box: MEL Kids

The Cost: $24.90 per month

The Products: A science-themed project and an AR lesson to go along with it, accessible through the app.

Ships to: The U.S. for free (shipping may open up to other areas in the future)

MEL Kids “Crystal Screen” Review September 2019

On the back of the sleeve for our box was a contents list and a quick description of our product. Underneath was a plain cardboard box that contained all of our items.

 

Mystery Planet Map

In your first box, you will receive this Mystery Planet Map. It is a nice large, colorful map on some heavier stock paper and it is very detailed and fun! There are transparent rectangles located throughout the map which provide a spot for us to add stickers as we complete different projects each month.

 

Inside our box was this booklet which contained all of the information we needed. The first page contained a list of the contents along with pictures. The next few pages began our comic story which would lead us to our project. I thought this was so creatively done!

 

The comic describes the crystal screen being destroyed which is the reason we need to build our own. In the story, Newt (the green guy) is instructed to begin by grabbing the red patterned box. This box happens to match the one that we received. My kids loved that it matched the one pictured in the story and I think this was such a fun way to engage them in the project.  After opening our box, we followed along with the booklet to put our screen together.

 

The directions were pretty easy to follow and didn’t contain any text but were simply numbered illustrations. I think this is great for younger kids, but I also would have appreciated a few text instructions to make it feel more thorough.

 

My daughter completed this independently with my son handing her the next pieces and only a few reminders from me to pay attention to the direction of some of the pieces. First, she added the little rivets to the round gear backing and put it inside of the front wall.

 

Next, she added one of these polarizer screens and topped it with the gear to hold it in place.

 

My son helped us add the rubber dials to our front wall using a dowel that went through the wall and into the holes in our dials.

 

Next, she added the two pieces at the bottom to form the base so that it would stand up.

 

She then added another polarizer to the back panel of our screen and secured it with the back frame circle.

 

The last step was to add the back panel to the stand by sliding it into the notches.

 

Here is our completed crystal screen.

 

We took a look through our screen like Newt did and then the pages of our comic took us on a hunt for crystals.

 

Once they located the crystal they needed we were instructed to open our blue pack. Inside were our very own crystals just like the ones in the story!

 

My son threaded the string through the two crystals and then we hung them in the center of our screen and took a look. We saw how the colors changed with the light which the kids thought was cool!

 

Next, we worked on coloring in the two covers that they provided. Then these fit over the top of our screen and we used a rivet on either side to hold them in place.

 

While the kids worked on coloring the covers I took the roll of tape they provided and added several strips to one of the plastic circles.

 

We slid the transparent circle into our crystal screen and saw how the colors changed as we spun it around. The last photo is after I went back and added a lot more tape. How pretty is that?

 

I love that all we were left with were some materials that could be recycled! Plus we had almost a whole roll of tape and another transparent circle to use to create more great tape effects.

 

Once we completed our crystal screen my son was happy to add our sticker to the correct spot as was shown to us in our booklet.

 

We read a little bit about the nature of light and also learned about some polarizers in everyday life. Then we were instructed to open the app and scan the little card we received.

 

The AR (augmented reality) portion of our project was really cool. We opened the app, scanned our card and tapped the circle to place our scene right on our kitchen table. Then we were able to watch the process in action. They provided a lot of educational information about what was happening and some great interactive visuals. It was a great way to see the process in action after having performed our own experiments with light and color.

 

Once we finished our AR portion of the lesson, we had a few more activities in our booklet such as a maze, a pixel coloring page, and a page where we are to design our own screen. These were perfect ways to finish out the project.

Verdict: This was our first box from MEL Kids and I really enjoyed their approach to teaching! I loved that our story and directions were woven together and that some of the items in our story matched the items in our box. That was exciting for my kids and an awesome way to engage them. The quality of the materials was great, everything was incredibly organized and the directions were easy to follow. I was impressed with how independently my (almost) 5-year-old was able to complete the build process. The AR portion of our project was a great way to provide some further learning in a fun and unique way and those extra activities in the book really rounded out the whole experience for us. Overall, I thought this was a unique learning experience and a great example of their visual and hands-on approach to science. I think it was a great value for the $24.90 cost of the box.

To Wrap Up:

Can you still get this box if you sign up today? Yes, this box is still available. From MEL Kids:

“Your first package will arrive within 2 weeks of registration. Subsequent monthly packages will be delivered within 2 weeks of each monthly charge.”

Check out our list of the best subscription boxes for kids, as recommended by MSA readers!

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add MEL Kids to your subscription list or wishlist!

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Written by Brandi Dowell

Brandi Dowell

Brandi has loved the idea of subscription boxes since joining Birchbox in 2013. Now that she’s a mother of 3, she loves finding unique boxes to educate and entertain her kids while enjoying some more pampering boxes for herself. Her favorites these days are Lillypost, KiwiCo boxes & Wicked Good Perfume!

Posted in MEL Kids Reviews, Subscription Box Reviews, Subscription Boxes for Kids| Tags: mel kids | 2 comments

Comments (2)

  1. I got this for my nephews in LA and they love it. The just keep asking “how?” and “why?” questions about it, which is perfect for curious minds. We set it up on the weekend and it’s now the most demo’d and over explained piece of kit to any (patient) visitors. The augmented reality is awesome as well, and I love that it’s a hybrid digital and physical experience. Looking forward to our next set.

  2. I would have loved to get a box like this when I was a kid! I think this is a great way to get kids into science, and show them that it has practical applications.

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