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MEL Kids Subscription Review – “Jungle Jack”

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 “Jungle Jack” Review November 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 with a nice little blueprint on the inside flap.

 

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. This is such a creative way to get kids engaged in their learning!

 

This month we have to figure out a way to get that little purple guy down. Luckily, Newt (the green guy) has a package that has everything we need inside of it in the form of a red patterned box which just so happens to match the box that we received. This is such a minor thing, but it is so great for tying our story and our project together!  After opening our box, we followed along with the booklet to put our jack together.

 

My son went ahead and unpacked our box for us.

 

The first step was to add some stickers to the marked spots on the back of our template.

 

The directions were pretty easy to follow and consisted of numbered illustrations so my daughter was able to complete this somewhat independently with a few helpful reminders from me. Here she is adding these little pegs to the holes on our template.

 

I put my son in charge of locating the pieces for us by looking at the pictures and then my daughter worked on the assembling so we all could work together.

 

She added these pieces by slipping them over the pegs in the matching spot on the template.

 

She then added these straight-edged pieces to both ends of these cross pieces.

 

Then she added these to the cross-sections of the template.

 

I had my son add some pegs to the two remaining jagged-edged pieces we had.

 

Then Liv added them to the top of our template shape.

 

With that part complete, it was time to peel it off of our template.

 

Next, we put these wooden pieces together to form the top and bottom of our jack.

 

We secured this piece to one side of our jack using more pegs.

 

Then, my son assembled the other side for us.

 

My daughter then secured it to the opposite end of the jack.

 

Then we flipped the top piece over so that our jack had a top and bottom and added a small dowel and two foam pieces to hold it in place.

 

Our jack was almost ready at this point!

 

We revisited our story and now it was time to open up our blue package!

 

Inside our box were two syringes and a rubber tube. My daughter attached the tube to one of the syringe ends.

 

I got us a cup of water and then we practiced filling up the tube with water by opening up the syringe.

 

Then we added this little wooden piece to one end of one of the syringes and hooked it onto the dowel inside our jack.

 

Then we stuck the end of the syringe into the slit and secured it by wrapping a rubber band over the top of it.

Finally, we hooked up the other syringe to the other end of the tube and we opened and closed it to make the water flow from one syringe to the next acting as a hydraulic lift to move our jack up and down.

It worked pretty well and the kids were definitely excited by it! We had a bit of a mishap here, but I actually found a larger syringe we had from a different project and it worked much better for us since my kiddos had a hard time going slowly!

Here you can see my son testing it out with the larger syringe. He had a bit of trouble, but he loved it too!

Here she is working with the larger syringe. We added some things to the top of our jack and had some fun!

 

With our story complete, they encouraged us to add our sticker to our map!

 

The kids had to really search for it, but eventually, we located the right spot!

 

We read a little bit about the science of hydraulics and even discovered where we might find hydraulics 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. My daughter loved listening to them explain the process and then following along with the information. It was awesome that she got to interact with it and move the hydraulic model on the screen by tapping buttons.

 

Once we finished our AR portion of the lesson, we had a few more activities in our book such as a spot the difference page and coloring activities. These were a nice way to round out the lesson!

Verdict: This month’s MEL Kids project was a really cool one! I asked my daughter if she thought it was hard to put together and she said it was easy (although she did have a good bit of help from me). I love that she could really do this fairly independently and the AR portion was such a great way to reinforce the lesson in a way that allowed her to really interact with the process and understand a bit more what was happening. She played with the jack for quite a while and I think she even went through the AR lesson twice because she enjoyed it so much. Overall, the materials were good quality, everything was well-organized, and I love the way they incorporated our “packages” into the story. This is a unique subscription that provides a fun hands-on/visual approach to science for a great value at $24.90 for this 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 other MEL Kids review, and 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!

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