Activity Boxes for the Older Children

I’ve always been a fan of subscription boxes whether they be for the kids or for me. I’ve tried so many of them and most of the favourites were activity boxes.

I try to get the kids interested in doing other stuff at the weekend rather than just sitting on their laptops or other electronics. The girls still like to play with their Littlest Pet Shop figures or Pokemon, and the Little Man likes his lego. But getting them interested in anything creative is really difficult. Boo doesn’t even like to bake cakes anymore *sob.*

Then the Little Man asked me if he could have another Weekend Box. I thought that he was maybe too old now as they are aimed at younger children, usually up to six years and the Little Man is now eight.

So I did some research and found a few boxes aimed at older kids which I’d like to share with you. We’ll be reviewing some of them in the future, so do watch out for that if you want to find out more.

The Weekend Box – STEM activities

The Little Man asked for a Weekend Box and he will get one. By revisiting their site I was thrilled that they now do STEM activity boxes for 7-12 year olds.

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths, the things your child learns at school. So, not only are these boxes fun, they are educational.

Example boxes include catapult engineering, bug catching and natural disaster simulators. The weekend boxes are delivered once every 4 weeks.

You can get your first Weekend Box (either 3- 8 yrs or 7-12 yrs) for just £1 and then £8.95 per box afterwards with free P&P You can earn money for referring others and points for answering questions or doing quick reviews. The points can be used against paying for your boxes.

Our review of these boxes will be published soon and I’ll link it here.

KiwiCo

KiwiCo has subscription boxes from 0 to 14 years! The crates go up in levels of learning,

  • Tadpole – 0-36 months, explore and discover
  • Koala – 3-4 years, play and learn
  • Kiwi – 5-8 years, science, art and more
  • Atlas – 6-11 years, geography and culture
  • Tinker – 9-16+ years, science & engineering
  • Doodle – 14+ years, art and design
  • Eureka – 14-104 years, engineering and design

(nothing if you are over 105 though!)

There is plenty for all ages and especially my children, so we are really excited to be trying out these boxes very soon. You can read our review of the Atlas Crate here.

You can read our review of the Tinker Crate here.

The prices vary on the boxes you choose, and whether you pay month by month, 6 or 12 monthly. The crates cost from £12.97 to £15.26 apart from the Eureka box which costs from £19.09 to £22.91 per month. Or why don’t you try a free box on me, you just have to pay shipping.

Mel Science

Mel Science is a fascinating chemistry subscription box aimed at ages 9-14 years.

When you subscribe you are sent a starter kit which will contain all the equipment you will need to for your monthly experiment kits. You are also sent either one or two experiment kits per month.

Just a few of the experiments include, Tin hedgehog, hot ice, martian rust, galaxy in a flask, starch penguin and many more.

The Starter kit is free when you subscribe and each kit is £29.90, you can cancel at any time.

We will be reviewing Mel Science soon, so please come back to read, I’ll post the link here when it’s ready.

Geo Journeys

These are fun subscription boxes aimed at children 4-10 years to explore Earth and beyond.

There are two types of subscriptions Geo journey to explore Earth and Space journey. When you sign up you get an explorer pack followed by monthly packages with further adventures and countries to explore. They are in line with Keys stages 1 & 2.

What’s in the explorer kit?
Suitcase – personalised letter – map – travel journal – passport – stickers – photos – activity booklet – travel ticket on a string.

What’s in the monthly packs?
Personalised fact filled letter – 2 photos – fact postcard – stickers – activity booklet – travel ticket on a string – a souvenir such as a boomerang from Australia.

You can pay for 6 months at £85, or 12 months from £155. Or you can pay monthly £25 for the first pack and then £12 per month.

Letterbox Lab

Letterbox Lab promise every you need to complete experiments all neatly fitted into a box that fits through your letterbox.

They come in two age groups, the Explore Box for children aged over six and the Investigate Box for children aged over eight.

As I am looking at boxes for older children then it’s the Investigate box that I’m most interested in. So what’s in the box?

  • 6 to 9 bigger and better experiments in every box
  • 24 page full colour, illustrated booklet
  • Series of 12 different science kits
  • “Level up” badge
  • Certificate and free gift in every thrid box

The Letterbox Investigate box costs £20.50 per box and £2 P&P

Mysteries in Time

Mysteries in time logo

Mysteries in Time is a history box aimed at kids aged 7-11 years. Aimed at teaching the kids history in a fun way, each box arrives in a cardboard time machine. There are two boxes to choose from a classic or bumper box. They both contain the same apart from the Bumper Box also including a craft and a history inspired gift.

The costs are £7.95 per month for the Classic Box and £12.95 for the Bumper Box. You can read a lovely review of this box over on The Reading Residence.

I hope you have found this list useful, please do come back to read my reviews.

Lucy At Home UK parenting blogger

Looking for a tutor for your child? Here are the best ways to make sure that you find one that is top quality

books, pens, laptop and educational items in a flat lay, education

Photo by Aleks Dorohovich on Unsplash

 

Our children might not always realise it, but their education, even primary school education, is incredibly important for them to get a handle on. With a good quality education, our children can make sure that they have the foundations that they need to become a future success.

However, what if they are finding standard education a struggle? What if they need a helping hand to reach their full potential?

To help you to help them, you might want to consider finding a tutor for your child. But how can you ensure that your search is successful and that you find the right helping hand to get them there? James Goldsmith at 11plustutorsinessex.co.uk offers the following advice:

 

Consider what you want first

The first thing that you should do during a hunt for a tutor is to figure out what it is that you are looking for. Think about what subjects your child is struggling with and could do with some extra support in. As well as their own particular learning style too. Knowing this will make the search a lot easier.

 

Take your time to research

Finding a tutor means that you need to research into the different options that are open to you, and it is something that you really should take the time to do. There are a variety of ways that you can find a tutor, there are a wealth of tutors out there, so, you are going to want to make sure that you are looking properly and that shouldn’t rush through.

 

Find out if anyone can recommend a tutor

Whilst you may feel like the only person having to find a tutor, there is actually a good chance that there are plenty of other people out there in the same situation. Some of which could be friends, family, other parents at the school and colleagues. All of whom are trying to find their very own tutors in the local area. Asking for recommendations for which tutors to approach can prove to be a valuable way to source a good option. In the most part because it will ensure that you know you will get the best possible results for your child.

 

Make an appointment to meet the tutors

Despite finding a tutor online, or being recommended one by a friend, you will never know if they are completely the right fit unless you meet up with them and see how they fit with your child. Make sure that your child feels comfortable working with them and that they are going to increase their confidence.

Remember that it is an investment

It is no secret that hiring a tutor to work with your child can be expensive. However, much like many things for our children, we often don’t care about the expense. Arranging for a tutor to work with your child is an investment. It is a helping hand towards to their future, it offers them the building blocks to a better career.

As you can see, there are plenty of things to think about when it comes to finding a tutor for your child. Why not start your search at the 11 Plus Tutors in Essex?

 

Mix It Up Linky

 

Disclosure: This is a collaborative article.

Word of the Week – Home Ed.

This weeks word(s) of the week are

Home Education

The Little Man left school shortly before the end of the half term and  has been home ever since. We have put in some applications for a couple of local schools but there are no places right now.

We have been working hard to keep up with what he may be doing if he was at school, thankfully, when it’s one on one learning you don’t need to have to work for so many hours as you would in a normal classroom. Star’s home tutor told me that nine hours a week was enough, so that’s our aim at the moment. Of course, we do go over as I like to turn other things into learning, there is so much to learn on a trip out to the park, the shops, or library. Also, we learn while cooking lunch together.

Each day we start with a simple exercise just to get him in the mood for learning. This may be a word search or a puzzle page. I printed off some great Football related code breaking sheets that the Little Man enjoyed doing and got him started with some maths.

Then we go on to a subject study, either Maths, English or Science. He likes Maths and Science best, it’s hard to get him to do any  English as he doesn’t like writing. I think I’ll let him write some work up on the laptop just to get him interested. He can always practice writing later. He loves reading though and I’ve picked a longer book to read together, Kid Normal by Radio One DJs Chris Smith and Greg James. It’s really funny and a bit challenging for the Little Man which is just what we need.

I also bought an electronics kit and he’s had loads of fun learning about and making circuits. We made an alarm for when the door opens and a sensor to tell us when the bath was full and it was time to turn off the taps. I think I learnt quite a bit too.

Finally, we had some craft sessions with a My Gecko Box which I bought him all about Rainforests. We used this as a project and as well as making a rainforest in a cardboard box, we also found out lots of information on the Internet about rainforests. Again, I think I learnt quite a bit too!

Here is the result;

The box that everything came in was used as the Rainforest base and he stuck on some green crepe paper and blue cellophane. The he cut out some green leaves and stuck them on. Finally, I help him tie two pieces of string to divide the sections. We labelled them (on the side) Forest floor, understory, canopy and Emergent.

The Little Man learnt about which creatures lived in which sections and had to choose where to put the creature that he made. In the box there were little bags containing everything he needed to make a Caiman lizard, A butterfly, a colourful bird, two snakes, two tree frogs and a spider. He had lots of fun making the creatures and the Rainforest.

(I bought the box for £19.99 and it contained every needed apart from scissors. It took the Little Man 3 days to make it all, so it was worth the money. I am now considering getting him a monthly subscription.)

We’ve had a really great week and I’m really enjoying teaching him. He seems a lot happier too. We are hoping to meet up with other home educating parents and their children for some social activities in our area.

Have you ever home educated a child, or considered doing so?

 

The Reading Residence

 

 

Word of the Week – Trips

Two of my littlies have had trips this week and the other has had a letter about her residential trip.

First was Star who went to the NEC for the Big Bang Science Fair. She didn’t really tell me much about it, but I can tell she had a good time because she came home in a really good mood. She was also very tired and achy so an earlier night was in order. She went on Wednesday 14th which was PI day, or Pie Day, take your pick, but I know which Pie I prefer.

It was also the day that Stephen Hawkings passed away. How he lived for so long with such a debilitating illness I’ll never know, but he had such wisdom, not just scientific but incredibly humanistic too. This week was also the third anniversary of the death of Sir Terry Pratchett, and I had been a fan of his for many years. He said that a man would not die so long as his name was spoken. I’m sure the names Sir Terry Pratchett and Professor Stephen Hawking will be spoken for a very long time to come.

On Thursday it was the Little Man’s trip to the Museum and Art Gallery. Again, it was difficult to get him to tell me anything about the trip but his teacher said he was very well behaved which pleased me. I didn’t really worry about him playing up while they were out because whenever we go out anywhere he behaves really well, often better than the girls. His behaviour in the classroom is a different story though.

Finally, Boo is off on a residential trip in June, of course she has to wait until after the dreaded SATS. The school is closed tomorrow for teacher training, but they’ve asked Boo’s year to go in for extra SATS tuition. I’ve declined. I will let her have an hour on EdPlace instead.

Not trip related but a bit of a mum boast. Today Star was invited to spend the afternoon eating pizza and watching a Harry Potter movie, yes, they called it ‘Pizza and Potter.’ It was a reward for fifteen children from her school year for great behaviour in the last term. I think it’s a lovely incentive for the children, but I do hope they give the children plenty of opportunity to be chosen. I know that Star has difficulty in school sometimes so being rewarded like this will be good for her.

 
How has your week been?

The Reading Residence

Schoolday Trials and Tribulations Part One: SATS

This time of year many young children are gearing up for their Statutory Assessment Tests, or SATs.

Boo is in year six and her SATs are in May but already her workload has increased to a ridiculous amount. Each day she is bringing home at least two pages of homework, all SATs related. They are doing their SATs mock exams to see what extra help they need to get the best possible results in the actual tests.

Now, out of all three of my children at school, Boo loves it the most and always has done. She works hard, tries her best in everything and nearly always has 100% attendance (blooming chicken pox spoiling it one term!) Her teachers have always had such lovely things to say about her and she has lots of friends. She’s not the brightest in the class, sometimes learning things do not come naturally for her, but she gives her all and is keen to learn.

These past couple of weeks I’ve seen a change in my little girl. She’s become moody and snappy and although she’s still happy to go to school she’s coming home feeling tired and grumpy. School is not fun anymore, it’s all work, work, work. Now you may say that is what school is all about, but there has to be some down time and she’s only ten, she’s still in primary school.

They are SATs not GCSEs

I do see the importance of these tests, they let the school know a lot about their teaching methods and help to define the learning paths of the children. But surely they should be a test of how well they have learned throughout the year and not treated like proper examinations like G.C.S.Es? What I mean is, they are assessments rather than qualifications so I believe that the children should not be forced to revise and practice the tests over and over to get the best possible results.

These tests are way too stressful for children so young, I really believe that schools should be more relaxed about them. If they are teaching the children properly then they should fly through the tests.

I Tried Some Tests Myself

Mind you, have you seen some of the things children are meant to learn at this age? I struggle to help her with her maths homework, I really don’t remember doing compound fractions at primary school. And I consider my English to be pretty good, but I stumble when it comes to things like ‘subordinate conjunction’ and ‘apostrophes used for a contracted form,’ well, unless I look up what they actually are. I did a 2017 English SATs test online and got less than half of the questions right! I did exactly the same on the Maths test. I’m definitely not brainier than a 10 year old. I really can’t understand why they need to learn these things so early! I’m certainly sure that the things they learn has changed a lot since I was in primary school, maybe I need to go back?

It’s only February, but I can’t wait until May is over so that I can have my happy little girl back again.

Do you have a child doing SATs this year?

Keep calm it's only SATS

A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay

A little Note About Positive Reviews on Raisie Bay

Some people only write reviews when things go wrong with products, which is good because it lets people know that there could be potential problems. I’ve also seen negative feedback with say things like, I had to return this item because the colour did not suit me…is this useful?

I write reviews on most items I buy because I like to give genuine feedback. If I have a genuine problem with a product I will write my review in the appropriate place.

I write reviews on my blog too, but they are mostly positive. Why? Because I only write reviews for the things I’ve loved. If I don’t love them I let the person who sent me them know with details why and then let them decided if they would rather me write a negative review or not write one at all. It’s always the latter.

This is my blog, my place and I’ll let you know about the things I love. If you want to find out what other people have hated about the product then you will need to look elsewhere.

My reviews may all be positive, but they are still genuine.