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MEL STEM Review: “Printing Press” Box

Becca Peterson
ByBecca PetersonJul 14, 2023 | 0 comments

5 overall rating
1 Ratings | 0 Reviews

MEL STEM is a monthly subscription box for kids 5-10+ who would like to learn more about science and STEM concepts in an exciting way. Through hands-on kits, kids can learn about topics such as aircraft, light, hydraulics, and earthquakes, while experiencing real-life applications. Each month contains a new experiment and STEM lesson for kids to dive into, and will contain everything they need to safely and easily complete at home. MEL STEM starts at $29.90/month.

This month we reviewed the "Printing Press" from MEL STEM.

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

MEL STEM: Printing Press


As I write this, I cannot believe we are already half way through our summer vacation. With so much baseball and a new puppy we haven't had much time to relax, so I can say I am extremely thankful for the MEL STEM kit that I just received!

As a mom and educator, I am always ready to learn. Because I want to instill that into my kids, I look for ways to incorporate fun ways of learning into our summer days, and this kit does just that. Not only are the kids excited to receive mail, but they love the projects they receive. Paired with the app, we have learned so many new things and couldn't wait to see where this month's theme would take us. Read below to find out what we discovered.

Organized neatly by project, all components are packaged in separate baggies and laid out in a really nice way. Hank was impressed with the amount of supplies, and couldn't wait to dive in!

MEL STEM "Printing Press" Project

Project Booklet


Included with this month's project was a beautifully illustrated instruction booklet. This brightly colored booklet featured a list of included components, along with a short theme-relevant comic. Hank and Charlie were both very intrigued with this inclusion and enjoyed reading through the comic with the cute characters.


The next pages of the booklet featured well illustrated instructions for this month's project. Similar to the layout of a Lego instruction sheet, the boys had a very easy time following the directions.


Once the first part of this month's project was finished, there was a few pages discussing the scientific background on how the press works and why. Not only that, but we learned a ton of new trivia facts, and received some awesome science experiments we can try at home. How cool is that?! Finishing up with the end of the comic, a collectible card, and some fun activities, we also received a QR code for more science fun. This amazing little booklet packs an informational punch, and we found it very necessary and helpful. Well done, MEL STEM, well done!



As I mentioned before, the beginning of the booklet lists all of the included components, and alleluia, we didn't need to provide anything from home! (Like I mentioned before, summer has been crazy, so I am all about convenience at this stage of my life!) As you see here, we received a set of wooden components, sculpting dough, a sack, screw caps, stamp pad, stamp plates, press plate, base disk, screws, rubber bands, and a cover sticker set. All materials arrived in pristine condition and worked extremely well for this project.

The Build


After reading the comic, Hank got straight to work with this month's build. Like I mentioned above, the directions are laid out very similar to Lego directions. There are no written instructions, but the pictures have arrows and are very descriptive. We were impressed with the quality of the wooden components, as we have built other kits and sanding was necessary. This pieces fit together perfectly and didn't splinter or crack.


For this build, there are a few different components, but the base is the same, so Hank followed the directions to create the large bottom piece of the press. Adding the rubber bands and screws, he had no trouble following the steps and was really excited as to how easily this kit went together. After adding the base plate to the top of the press, he was ready to move onto the interchangeable piece.


With the addition of a few more wooden pieces, the stickers, and some screws, he created the interchangeable press component. Using the wooden lever to crank the gear rack, pressure evolved and pushed the play dough through the press plate creating thick "spaghetti". Following these instructions, we learned that presses are used to create many different products and that this is caused by pressure. I suggest scanning the QR code included to find out more about this concept through the app. It was really neat!


Once the pressure plate was taken off, we then completed the second part of this project - the stamping project. Utilizing the stamp pad and lightening bolt foam, Hank stamped his very own bag using his homemade press. With the inclusion of the blank stamp plate, you could also make your own stamp. Because he is still brewing up ideas for that project in his head, we haven't gotten to that project yet, but will keep you posted when we do!

Final Thoughts - Was This Box Worth It?

Yes! The Printing Press box was really neat and something we haven't had any experience with in the past. With easy to understand descriptions, and a layout we are familiar with, Hank loved putting this kit together, and appreciated the mix of hands on and online information. We had a great time trying out the different ways to utilize a press, and came away from this project with a lot of information. These projects are definitely not ones that are being done in the classroom, so this is exactly what I was hoping to incorporate into my "at-home summer school". This subscription is a great fit for my family, and a wonderful project for us to experience together, all while learning about science.

I also want to note that there are always additional experiments that you can do online with these boxes if your child is so inclined. I have downloaded the app and have found a ton of extra experiments, awards, AR and VR opportunities and more! Check it out!

To Wrap Up:

The Cost: $29.90

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? Let us know below!

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.

Becca Peterson
Becca Peterson

I am a wild and crazy mom of 2 boys and work in the public education system as an Indigenous Support Advocate. I love all things outdoors, beauty, crafts, and food. Living the simple life in the country, we spend a lot of time hiking, camping, fishing, and hunting. Oh, and I absolutely adore my high school sweetheart aka my husband of almost 17 years!

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