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MEL STEM Subscription “Art Lab” Review

Brandi D.
ByBrandi D.Dec 25, 2021 | 0 comments

5 overall rating
1 Ratings | 0 Reviews

MEL STEM (formerly MEL Kids) is a subscription box for children ages 5-9+ that delivers educational activities and everything you need to safely perform hands-on STEM projects at home. There is also an augmented reality portion you can access via their app for more learning fun!

This is a review of MEL Science's MEL STEM box (ages 5-9+), which costs $34.90 per month.

This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we review boxes.)

First Impressions

As a former art teacher, I was excited at the idea of this box where we would be making our own paint! The box was so neatly organized and since my daughter is super creative, I knew this would be a box we would both enjoy!

They provided a booklet with instructions, a mess mat, some painting sheets and a little card that we can scan with the app to directly access the lesson.


Here is a look at the AR (augmented reality) section accessible from the MEL STEM 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. Now let's get into this month's project!


This thick, colorful booklet contains all of the information needed for this month's project. The beginning shows the contents of our box followed by a comic story introducing us to the project.  The rest of the book is filled with directions and some extra activities to complete. The directions feature large colorful illustrations and numbered steps making it easy for kids to follow along. This month there was an emphasis on colors and color mixing.


Everything came packaged neatly for us with some of our components tucked inside a smaller box. There were several wooden pieces to assemble, stirring sticks, a paintbrush, gloves, plastic cups, a plastic tube, a plastic syringe, some pigments, and a paint binder. They also provided some tubes of crafting and solution base.


First came the assembly of our little art stand. I love that the directions are big and feature little to no text making it easy for my daughter to follow them and complete the steps independently.


Once assembled she added everything to its rightful spot.


Then she got her gloves on and prepared the binder by adding a syringe of water to the jar. She shook it around and then divided it evenly between three of the little plastic cups.


Next, she poured the pigment tubes into each of the cups and we added a little bit of water to stir them up to make the different colors.


Our booklet gave us a brief lesson on color mixing and they provided several sheets for us to make some secondary colors with. She got to work and loved watching the colors change!


Then there was a little paint by number sheet for her to paint in using the color palettes she'd created on each sheet. Just a little more water and it was easy to make the paint spread. When it was dry, we added our MEL sign to the end of our art stand.


Next, it was time to mix up our crafting base and our solution base. First, she mixed the solution base in a bowl with some water. Then she added the crafting base to the plastic tube with some water and then divided the mixture between three more small plastic cups. Each cup got a little bit of the pigment we had made to turn it into different colors.


Then came the cool part! She used the syringe to suck up some of the mix from each of the cups and then added it to the bowl. It formed cool gel-like strands in the solution.


Then we transferred the strands to a piece of paper and she explored how they felt, which she described as squishy. We both thought it was pretty cool!


Lastly, she used the remaining pigments to paint the picture they provided.

It's a work in progress, but she was enjoying mixing her colors together!

Value - Was This Box Worth It?

The Cost: $34.90

This was a pretty fun and educational MEL STEM box! I liked that there was an engineering aspect with the building of the stand, then we had the science aspect with all of the mixing, plus there was an emphasis on art and creativity so all of the elements of a great lesson were there! I will say that our stand did crack when we were building it, so the pieces were not quite as sturdy or high quality as I would have liked, but overall, I think that was such a small part of the lesson that it didn't take away from anything for us!

Key Takeaways

This was a fun box that was engaging and informative! Everything was packaged neatly and organized well and our booklet was full of great information that was educational and provided some extra activities for further exploration.

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

To Wrap Up:

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

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

What do you think of MEL STEM? Click below to write a review!

Starting at $29.90
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MEL STEM is a monthly science subscription box for kids ages 5-9+ from MEL Science. Each of the MEL Science kits feature hands-on experiments that are enhanced by an interactive, AR (augmented reality)-powered lesson brought to life through the MEL STEM app.

Brandi D.
Brandi D.

I am a homeschooling mother of four; 3 boys and 1 girl. My youngest was just born in January 2022 and my oldest is 7. I am a former educator and have taught both elementary art and Special Education.

I have been reviewing boxes for MSA since January 2018 and have reviewed everything from activity and clothing boxes for kids to clothing, beauty, and pampering boxes for women. I have also reviewed boxes focused on home goods and even some men's boxes with the help of my husband! 

I love to discover new brands and try new things!

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