Up & Away Adventures “Spain” Review
Up & Away Adventures is a bi-monthly educational experience for families with a focus on the five senses allowing you to explore everything from the sights to the tastes and even the smells of various countries all over the world. Every other month you’ll receive a “suitcase” filled with materials to help you immerse yourself in a new culture including games, activities, and even snacks.
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 Up & Away Adventures
The Subscription Box: Up & Away Adventures
The Cost: $49.95 every 2 months + shipping.
COUPON: Use code MSASUB30 to get 30% off first box, subscription only. Does not apply to individual suitcase purchases.
The Products: Educational information, games, activities, snacks, and more all centered on a featured country to help you immerse yourself in the culture using all five senses.
Ships to: $5.00 to the contiguous U.S., $12.50 to Alaska and Hawaii, and for APO/FPO customers
Up & Away Adventures “Spain” December 2020 Review
When we opened our box, we were greeted by the bright colors of the Spanish flag and the vibrant scent of Valencia oranges (swipe to see how they achieved this!), which is one of Spain’s major exports. There was also this great map of Spain attached to the lid of our box, which showed some of the different locations that various components highlighted in our box originated from.
This card welcoming us to Spain sat on top, and opened up to some brief instructions on how to get started, including the website we can visit to watch and learn about Spain. The top had our passport sticker attached with a scratch and sniff banana sticker since bananas are another of Spain’s major exports. (It’s all in the details! Love it!)
They even included some microwave popcorn for us to eat while we watched!
Here’s a look at some of what was included on the website. There was a suggested 2-day itinerary, along with several recipes to try and some videos to watch including the sounds of the Spanish guitar and some useful phrases to speak. These were simply YouTube videos that we mirrored to our tv, which worked okay, but wasn’t quite the seamless experience I had hoped for due to numerous commercials and some snafus navigating it all. We really did enjoy sitting down and checking out the videos together, although the Spanish guitar video wasn’t available.
We received this passport to add our Spain sticker to which added to the authenticity of our “travels.”
This full-size sheet on glossy cardstock was full of facts related to the items in our box along with a list of activities that we would be taking part in. I thought this was really helpful to see everything at a glance making it easy to discuss why we received each item as we went through the contents together. Let’s check out what was in store!
Flag of Spain
This flag of Spain is a nice size measuring 12 x 19 inches. It is so vibrant and perfect to hang up for a bit of color as we explored this exciting culture!
Fun Size M&M’s (2)– Buy a 10.53 oz bag here for $3.89.
My kids were very excited to see these in the box, and I was surprised; until I read that these were actually inspired by the hard-shelled candy given to soldiers during the Spanish civil war. The hard shell allowed them to carry their chocolate around in cold weather and this is actually the meaning of the ever-popular slogan behind these candies! So cool! I’m learning already!
Chupa Chups Lollipops (2) – Buy a 60-count container here for $14.99.
This brand of lollipop is one I was introduced to when I lived in Thailand as a kid. I remember my friend, who was Danish, had a giant container of these at her house and these were some of my favorite treats growing up! I had no idea that this was actually a Spanish company and that they provided the first lollipop sent into space in 1995, according to our fact sheet!
This postcard features a view of Park Guell, a famous neighborhood outside of Barcelona that was designed by Antoni Gaudi, a talented architect from Catalonia who created brilliant and beautiful works using a mix of glass and ceramics.
Vigo Yellow Spanish Rice, 8 oz – Buy a pack of 12 here for $14.99
While it is something we will have to prepare, I love that they included a food item for us! This Spanish rice will go nicely with one of the recipes they provided (more on that later!).
Tile & Cork Coasters (2)
What a fun little item to include! These two coasters are actually hand-painted Spanish Mediterranean tiles with a cork backing. This style is traditional to Talavera de la Reina and they noted on the card that the cork comes from its neighboring country, Portugal, which is the largest cork producer in the world. I love how they took something that I appreciated simply for the aesthetics and functionality and made it educational, too!
FYI- subscribers may have received different patterns or colors than ours.
Tile Coasters Craft
Even more fun, they included some of the materials that we needed to create our own tile coasters so that we can have a full set of 4! These instructions involve using salt, flour, and water to make a salt dough that we can shape into our coasters.
Color Swell Watercolors Palette – Buy a set of 10 here for $17.99
Wet n Wild Clear Nail Protector – Retail Value $1.19
Once our dough is ready, they provided the paint, stencil, and cork backing we need to finish them up. They even included a bottle of clear nail polish for us to seal it with.
FYI- subscribers may have received a different stencil pattern than ours.
This squishy little tomato was exciting to my kiddos, and it was included to represent the famous tomato throwing festival in Bunol, Spain every August. They suggested taking some time and having some fun throwing this little guy at each other so we could take part in the tradition. My kids loved this idea and we had some fun being silly with it! My daughter claims this was her favorite part of the box.
They provided these recipe cards for us which included a recipe for gazpacho, paella, churro bites, and some berry sangria! Yum!
Memory Card Game
This memory card game is a fun way to learn about the culture through an activity that just about everyone in our family could take part in! The cards feature photographs on one card with detailed descriptions of them on the other matching card. While playing the memory game would have been a great brain exercise, we had fun reading the descriptions and figuring out which picture fit that description for our first round since some of the terms were pretty new to us.
My daughter loves word finds so these are the perfect way for her to practice her reading skills and learn some new vocabulary! One features words from Spanish culture while the other features Spanish cities.
Pablo Picasso Art Stickers – Retail Value $1.99
The last item in our box was this set of Picasso art stickers. These were basically tiny prints of his work in sticker form. It was a cute way to observe his work, and I love that we can actually use these, too! There are some nude depictions though, which could incite some giggles and inquiries from your kiddos depending on their age!
Now that you’ve seen everything in our box, let’s talk about how our actual experience went. We followed the 2-day itinerary for the most part, with a few tweaks here and there. The first day we went through our box and talked about all of the different pieces and I shared the facts with my kids. They really enjoyed going through all of the pieces and I appreciated having specific information to tell them about each and every item.
After that, we prepared our salt dough for making our tiles. This was an easy mix of water, salt, and flour that we mixed together and kneaded.
Then we flattened out the dough, used the tiles they provided as templates to cut out our own, and stuck those in the oven with another pan on top to keep them from rising. Since those needed 2.5 hours to bake, we took this opportunity to go and watch the videos together while we enjoyed our snacks.
The next day, since I knew we needed several layers of paint, I let the kids paint their first set of colors on their tiles in the morning. Then I coated them with the clear nail polish and we set them aside to dry before our stencil went on top.
That evening the kids took turns using the stencil to paint on their tiles while the other one played the memory game. For my son, we started out set up for the game, but instead we just went through all of the pictures and cards and talked about them. I used it for a bit of a letter recognition game where he would show me a picture and then I would tell him what card title he was looking for by spelling it out for him. He really just enjoyed learning about it all!
These are our finished tiles with two layers of paint and 2 separate layers of clear nail polish on them. We actually got three tiles out of our dough, and probably could have gotten a fourth had I rolled it back out, but they did only provide enough cork for two. I don’t know if watercolor was the best choice of paint for these since it was too watery to use with the stencils. I had to work really hard to get any sort of definition on mine for the stencil layer and my son got frustrated and gave up on his. So in retrospect, I would probably have chosen to use some acrylic paint we had on hand for the top layer so that they could actually get the stencil to work. We still had a lot of fun with the project though, and they are satisfied with the results!
While the kids worked, I prepared the paella for my husband and me for dinner. I did make a few changes – I used the bag of rice that they provided which was a little less than the recipe called for (I just used less chicken stock to account for this), and instead of adding mussels, I just used extra shrimp. The result was so delicious and had just a bit of a kick to it! Honestly, it was a great meal and relatively easy to prepare (and all in one pan- bonus!), so I will definitely be preparing this one again. I had big plans to make the baked churro bites for dessert, but sometimes with three kids six and under, I don’t get to everything I want to in a day, so we will save these for a treat to try another time…probably with some of that sangria for the grown-ups!
Verdict: This was our first experience with Up & Away Adventures and we thought it was so much fun to open up that suitcase and explore the contents. They really did touch on all aspects of the culture in relation to the five senses. The amazing scent of oranges and the bright beautiful colors of the flag greeted us immediately upon opening our box, we got to play some games and get our hands messy making our coasters, and of course, there were plenty of foods for us to taste between the recipe we tried and the snacks they included. We also enjoyed watching the video and learning about a new culture. This box definitely took a little bit of planning on my part, it wasn’t quite open up and go, and there were a few little kinks between the coasters and the videos, but the overall experience was a good one that made for some great quality family time! If you have older kids who can get even more involved, I could see that extra effort being balanced out more to make it a more enjoyable experience for parents, too.
I really like that this is a bi-monthly box too since it was so involved. If you think about it as 6 quality family experiences that you have somewhat planned out for you throughout the year, it sounds like a great idea! Especially considering most families are spending a lot more time indoors these days. The way you approach this box may look different for every family depending on the amount of time you have and the ages of your children, but this experience offers a lot of flexibility and it’s a great way to explore a new country from the safety and comfort of your own home!
Value Breakdown: This box costs $49.95 + $5.00 shipping and if we breakdown some of the physical items inside the box, we received a memory card game, a postcard, some word finds, a tomato toy, some candy, a bag of rice, a bag of popcorn, supplies for a craft including paint, cork, and a stencil, a set of recipe cards, a book of stickers, a small flag, and two nice coasters. While these seem like a bunch of little things, all of the educational information that went along with it, coupled with our own experience as a family, definitely added to the value of each and every item. This is where that bi-monthly option really makes it worth it. I wouldn’t want to pay this every month, but every other month, it’s a nice way to guarantee some quality time with your family learning about somewhere new.
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? You can order the Spain box as a one-time box, but the next box in the bi-monthly subscription will be the Brazil box which begins shipping February 20. From Up & Away Adventures:
For bi-monthly box subscriptions, after your initial box purchase (which charges immediately), you will be renewed and charged on the 1st day of the next shipping month.
COUPON: Use code MSASUB30 to get 30% off first box, subscription only. Does not apply to individual suitcase purchases.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What do you think of Up & Away Adventures?