MEL Kids Subscription Review – “Ancient Cannon”

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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 “Ancient Cannon” Review January 2020

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!


The directions feature large colorful illustrations and numbered steps making it easy for my 5-year-old to follow along. The pieces also came neatly organized inside of this box which is the same one featured in the story illustrations.


Her first step was to add the two side pieces and slide them into the slots on the wooden rectangle.


She then added these smaller wooden pieces by sliding them into the notches to hold it together.


Then she added another wooden piece to the bottom and attached the handle using one of the plastic pins.


Next, she slid the pin into the notch before adding the rubber bands to the end by wrapping them around the handle and in various notches as was demonstrated in the instructions.


Next, she peeled the backing off of the adhesive on this stone paper and folded it up to form a rectangle. Then she placed it on top of the base she had built and secured it using more pins which lined up with the holes in the paper and on the bottom of the wooden base.


Next, she slid one of the wooden dowels into the notches at the end of the base.


Now it was time to work on the next part of our cannon. She slid these wooden stands into the notches at the bottom of the larger wooden pieces so that they would stand.


Then she added this sticker which showed various angles ranging from 0 degrees up to 75. We did end up having to switch our pieces around at one point because we realized we did it backward, but luckily it was an easy fix!


Then she had to place the two wooden contraptions together. She placed the first part inside the larger one and then added the second wooden dowel sliding it through both wooden pieces. Then she added a styrofoam piece at either end to keep it from sliding out. Next, she stretched a rubber band around the ends of both dowels to connect them.


Now our cannon was complete! To operate your cannon, you pull the circular pin out until it clicks due to a little notch in the side of it.


To change the angle, you simply move the dowel to a different notch with a different degree and the stone section of our machine would move to that angle.


Then you load it up with a ping pong ball and just push the little handle with an arrow on it to the side to launch it.

Now that it was ready, we tested it out to see if it worked!


To make it even more fun, they provided this little paper for us to fold up so that we could aim our ball into it. This will be a great lesson on arcs and how the angle affects where the ball lands!

Here we tested out our aim. She was so excited to see what each of the angles could do and had some fun playing around with it trying to get her ball into the target.


With this project completed, it was time to add our sticker to our map! I like that it’s actually a slight challenge to locate where the sticker goes!


The rest of our booklet was filled with information about projectile motion and some fun activities such as a finish the picture activity and a unique game that tests their knowledge!


To check out the AR (augmented reality) portion of our project we just scanned this little card with our MEL Kids app.


This portion of the project is so unique and always very educational! They show you exactly how your project works and what happens, making sure to explain it in scientific terms. It is interactive and provides a great visual for kids to engage with. They also have a nice congratulations message for them when they complete the lesson.

Verdict: My daughter had a lot of fun with this month’s MEL Kids project! She enjoyed playing with her Ancient Cannon and experimenting with different angles to try and aim her ball into the triangle. It’s always fun when you can see the wheels in motion as your child learns something new and I love that she was even further engaged with the lesson on parabolas through the AR app. This was another project that she could complete mostly independently thanks to the easy to read directions with large detailed illustrations. I thought it was a quality project that came well organized and provided both entertainment and education – a solid value for a $24.90 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 reviews 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. Finding new products to test out and possibly fall in love with has always excited her. Now, as a mother of 3, she loves discovering new products that can help make parenting a little easier! Her favorites are FabFitFun and Target Baby boxes.

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