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: $34.90 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
MEL Kids "Electric Boat Review February 2021
On the back of the sleeve for our box was a contents list and a quick description of our product.
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 kids to follow along. In the back, there were a ton of bonus activities including a design your own ship page, a maze, and even a few extra experiments. My daughter always enjoys these activities!
Everything came packaged neatly for us with the smaller components tucked inside this box.
The main pieces for our boat were made of sturdy wood with notches that fit together along with some plastic pieces and these big thick yellow hulls which would allow our boat to float.
They provided straws and some adhesive foam pieces as well as some rubber bands, a piece of string, a plastic propellor and anchor, some papers to use as sails, and two paper propellor covers. I love that they included one blank propellor cover and one blank sail so that we could get creative and make our own, too!
For wiring it up they provided a battery pack, a motor, and a plastic connector for the wires. I was really surprised that they didn't provide batteries for us as this seems like something that should have been included. Maybe it has something to do with shipping restrictions?
First, we checked out the directions and opened up our box to sort through all of our pieces. We read through the story and then my daughter began assembling her boat.
Assembling the boat was fairly easy. It was just a matter of fitting the wooden and plastic pieces together as they showed in the directions. I love that my daughter can do this box mostly independently since the photos are so big and clearly show what needs to be done.
She added these to her boat and then she slipped the smaller plastic piece into the bottom of her smaller straw. This is how she would be able to steer her boat.
Next, she assembled the frame for the battery case.
I grabbed some batteries we had on hand and then we wired it up and attached the battery pack to the underside of the wooden frame using a rubber band.
Then she added the propellor cover and the propellor and stuck the whole unit on top of the boat before tying the anchor to the hole at the front of her boat.
We placed her boat in the water (we opted to use our sink since it is pretty large).
Then I just stuck the wires into the wire connectors and our boat was up and running!
The boat was so easy to steer by just directing the back paddle/straw/flag section. This made it even more fun in my opinion!
Next, we removed the whole motor part and she added the sail to the front flag. We set it back in the water.
This time she used the fan to blow the boat around as a detached unit. This worked pretty well, too, but not quite as well as when it was attached to our boat.
Lastly, she attempted to just blow the boat around on her own. This was the slowest method for sure.
After this, she and her brother grabbed some toys and had some fun playing around with the boat in the water.
With this project completed, it was time to add our sticker to our map! My daughter loves the challenge of locating the sticker on the map.
Once she was done playing with her boat, she completed some of the activities in the booklet and got to work designing her own sail.
The last thing we did was 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.
Verdict: My daughter had so much fun with this month's MEL Kids project! She loved that she had her own boat to play with and that she could use it in so many different ways. This project was a great way to explore boats and the idea of floating as well as how electricity can work in this regard. We also really appreciated the extra activities in the back of our booklet and the AR app portion always provides a unique and educational experience. Overall, I felt like this box had a lot more to offer than last month's, but at $34.90, I definitely would have expected them to provide the batteries, which was my only real qualm with this month's box!
To Wrap Up:
"Your first package will arrive within 2 weeks of registration. Subsequent monthly packages will be delivered within 2 weeks of each monthly charge."
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add MEL Kids to your subscription list or wishlist!
What do you think of MEL Kids?