Reviewed by Deborah Banasko
Little Box of Nature is a monthly subscription box aimed at children aged between 3 and 8, designed to spark your child’s interest in nature and the outdoors through crafts and activities. The bonus with this box is that it fits straight through the letterbox, and aims to be both fun and educational.
We were lucky enough to receive two Little Boxes of Nature for the month of July; one was a single box for my daughter (aged 9, so just outside the target age range), and the other a sibling box for the two boys (aged 6 and 3). The activities are the same for each child, following a specific structure each month. I dealt with K (editor’s note – name changed to initial) when arranging this review and she was so helpful and friendly.
When your box arrives it’s instantly exciting, with nature themed paper on the front (on the opposite side to the address label), the company Fox motif and your childs first name printed clearly. I love this personalisation idea, and aside from my children feeling so grown up to be getting their own mail, it makes me think about what an amazing gift this could be.
On opening the box we had to unwrap some purple tissue paper sealed with a little fox sticker, and again this attention to detail is first class and is so exciting for children. It feels really special. I was sceptical about how much fun we could have from activities in such a compact box and expected that I would need to source materials myself from home such as glue or paper, but literally everything you need is crammed into the package! The contents was more varied than I expected with a lot of detail and structure. A lot of planning clearly goes into this and the quality is excellent.
The front glossy sheet is a contents summary so that you can plan how you want to approach the activities. We started with the animal of the month, and I was suprised that the creators thought outside of the box with this and July’s animal was a Jellyfish! It was great to see some Jellyfish facts but it would have been nice to have a few more details for children at the top end of the age range as I feel that they need a little more information than what was included. We had a google which led to a good discussion about Jellyfish so the box is a strong starting point.
There was a drawing activity linked to this animal but I would have expected a more detailed task given that this was the animal of the month.
You have a nature update for the month, for example in July Painted lady butterflies are fluttering around. I loved the pictures and facts, and again this led to a lot of discussion and us researching these animals for more information so I see this box as a great starting point for interesting conversations with my children. The associated “matching the animal to it’s home” task again was great for younger children.
I was a huge fan of the rainbow bingo idea; you have 9 boxes with coloured labels and during a nature walk you need to write or draw an item for each colour. As a parent I’m always trying to add new dimensions to a walk in the local park so this was great for us, especially as I insisted that all three children choose different plants or animals (no copying eachother!)
The nature hunt was a second nature walk idea, where you have to tick off the 8 plants or animals on the sheet as you see them. Each plant or animal had a photo, the name and a little fact or task associated with it. I would have loved the hunt to be a little longer but I like the concept and so did the children.
Finally, the crafts! We had three crafts and they really were varied and original, yet still related to the month of July. Each came in a different coloured envelope which the children loved opening, and had very clear instructions with photographs to help children who like to be more independant.
The first was a wooden keyring with your childs initial for them to colour in and decorate. It was a simple 5-10 minute activity but a lovely gift which went down a treat with all three of them as they want to add them to their school lunch bags. The felt tipped pens included were gorgeous vibrant summer colours and something which can be used again.
Next there was an octopus wand to make. This craft confused us a little as there were only 6 legs on the instruction sheet, which is odd for an octopus. We wonder if this was an error as it did resemble a jellyfish to be honest and this would make more sense given that it is the animal of the month. Animal identity aside, it was a gorgeous activity involving double sided tape, googly eyes, tissue paper legs and decorative dots. All three children loved to make this, and it took between 10 and 15 minutes as we took our time with the decoration and enjoyed some family time. The 3 year old especially loved to wave his creation around afterwards and our 6 year old wanted to make a puppet show with them. They have all played with them several times since in their games so this was a complete hit.
The final craft was the twig raft. This was great is it involved us searching for the perfect sticks and twig to make the best raft, so this search alone was an activity and we got a little competitive. Making the raft was tricky for my 3 year old, and something that I talked my 6 year old through step by step so there was real challenge with this one. My 9 year old had no problems, but loved making it. It was a much longer, more detailed activity so I can appreciate how the company have tried to cover the full age range with these three crafts so that everyone has a challenge. My 3 year old still enjoyed it as I involved him throughout, but this was one which needed some parental help. Afterwards the children had a fantastic raft to play with; great in the paddling pool or a bucket of water, or when playing with little lego people indoors.
I love that everything is included apart from the sticks (which you only have to walk outside to find) and you don’t need to buy a thing. Again regarding the age range, I wouldn’t say that these activities present a lot of challenge or require much skill from an older child apart from the raft craft. Perhaps being able to cut out the shape of the jellyfish rather than this being done for you would have been an appropriate extension task for a child of 5 and over, although I appreciate that you will then be required to have your own children’s scissors at home which isn’t the aim of these self-contained boxes. Perhaps a box for younger children (3-5) and a second for the older children would be a good option, with just minor tweaks between the two. I must stress that they enjoyed doing the crafts and activities so much, some were just a little easy for an older child.
To subscribe, you pay £11.95 a month for a single box and £15.95 per month for the sibling one which is actually a fantastic discount as you get two full sets of the activities. The price for the single box is more than fair for the quality and contents and you could not reasonably expect to pay less. You can cancel at any time, so I suppose there’s nothing stopping you from paying for one or two months worth as a gift for someone and allowing the parents to continue, should they wish. The site is really simple to navigate when placing an order too.
I love these boxes and think that the concept of them fitting straight through your letter box is so unique and fun, with a good price point. Each month follows the same general structure so you know what to expect and won’t be disappointed, and the paper quality is exceptional. They are great for school holidays and weekends when you’re stuck for ideas as they are a mixture of indoor and outdoor fun, and really are something to look forward to receiving each month.
Some of the activities are perfect for the specified age range, whilst others are aimed more at the younger end. With this is mind, if the boxes were designed for children aged between 3 and 6 I would award them the full 5 stars. However, given that they are suitable for up to the age of 8 I need to deduct half a point as I feel that a second version of the box could be available with more information and challenge for this older end of the target audience, based on the same craft ideas and themes.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars
RRP: Single box £11.95 per month
Sibling box £15.95 per month