KiwiCo Tinker Crate

Continuing in my series of activity boxes for older children, this weeks review is a KiwiCo Tinker Crate aimed at 9-16 years plus.

It was Boo, aged 11, that helped me with this review.

KiwiCo is a monthly subscription crate that comes filled with age appropriate STEM projects for kids, from toddlers to teenagers. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. Every crate explores a different theme designed to spark creativity, thinking, and learning.

What’s in the Box

You get all the pieces you need to create a fabulous project. In our box we had everything to make an Arcade Catapult.

Also included is a blueprint with detailed instructions for completing your project.

You also get a TinkerZine which is a comprehensive little magazine full of facts and additional scientific experiments you can complete with your kit.

contents of kiwiCo Tinker Crate

Arcade Catapult

Following the step-by-step instructions Boo was able to put the catapult together. She needed a little help with the main part of the building, but only because it was fiddly for her, the instructions were really clear.

When completed we had a little wooden catapult and a game board. Also included was a wipe board scoring pad and pen.

blueprint
part of the blueprint

The finished project was a great little game where you catapult the ball with your newly constructed catapult into your handmade game board. You can choose how you score the holes and take it in turns to see who can get the highest score. It really is a fun game and we have all played it many times.

arcade catapult
Arcade Catapult

Tinker Zine

The Tinker Zine is a fun magazine which adds extra content to the box.

It tells you how to play your catapult game giving different rules to try out to make it more fun.

The magazine also tells you how to make a basketball game and a rubber band bowling game with your kit.

Then you can learn how to make paper footballs and your own craft stick catapult.

The Tinkerzine also describes old fashioned arcade machines from a museum.

And, of course, there is a detailed page about the science behind the catapult and the difference between kinetic and potential energy.

Finally, you are provided with a page of resources where you can find out more.

Our Verdict.

Perfect for older children this box provided a fun activity that was slightly more challenging to assemble. The end result was a fun and sturdy game that has been played over and over.

The extra activities in the Tinker zine gave us more to do and added value to the box.

Boo really enjoyed making the game and did almost all of it by herself. We have all had fun playing with the finished game. We would definitely consider subscribing to further crates.

If you would like to try a Tinker Crate or any other crate from KiwiCo then you can use my special link to give you your for crate for FREE, you just have to pay shipping/P&P

You can check out my KiwiCrate Atlas crate review here.

“Reflections

KiwiCo, Atlas Crate – review

You may remember my post recently where I was looking for a subscription box suitable for older Children. I have received a few boxes to review but we were excited to start with one of the Kiwico Crates.


KiwiCo is a monthly subscription crate that comes filled with age appropriate STEM projects for kids, from toddlers to teenagers. STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. Every crate explores a different theme designed to spark creativity, thinking, and learning.

We had two boxes to try the Atlas Crate, which is Geography and Culture and aimed at ages 6-11. And the Tinker Crate, which is Science and Technology and aimed at 9-16 + years.

Everything needed to complete the projects is provided in the crates.

Atlas Crate

The Little Man, aged 8 years, was thrilled with the Atlas Crate. The box contained three activities; Great Big World Map Challenge, Adventure Book and make your own Spinning Globe.

The Little Man was keen to get started on the Spinning Globe as soon as he opened a box. We made a little video of the box opening and him making the globe. Overall it took about half hour, but I sped the video up a little.

What was in the Box?

contents of box laid out on the table, list of items in text.
  • A folder with an introduction and instructions
  • two halves of a plastic ball
  • some wooden pieces to make a stand for the globe
  • an instruction book for making the globe
  • a pack of felt sticky back pieces to stick on the globe
  • a kit for making a booklet
  • a large world map
  • a sheet which tells you how maps work and a challenge to find things
a sheet from the box that tells all the things you can do

The Spinning Globe

The Little Man was keen to start the globe straight away. He pushed the two halves of the ball together and followed the instructions to stick on the continents. Then he had to build the stand for the globe.

The trickiest part was putting the dowling stick through the middle of the globe so it would fit on the stand. Otherwise the Little Man did it all by himself. (with me recording him!) He had lots of fun.

the spinning globe when finished
The Spinning Globe

While having fun making this globe, the Little Man also learned about the continents and where they are in the world.

The Atlas Adventure Book

The Atlas Adventure Book is a little book that can be put together and then taken apart again to add further pages from future crates.

The pack included a fact page on each of the seven continents, a page with a short story featuring Anya the cricket and Milo the Sandpiper and their travels, a front and back cover, string and bead book binders and a pack of stickers.

The Little Man set to decorating the covers with the stickers which he enjoyed. Then he placed the pages inside the covers and we fastened them together with the binders. The pages are card so the book will survive being taken apart and new pages added.

cover of the Adventure book, showing a blue page with a map of the world decorated with stickers
Pages from the book showing facts about Asia and the Antartica

The Great Big World Map Challenge

When the Little Man first opened the box he was very excited about the world map and I think we will put it on his bedroom wall.

a folded world map and a booklet explaining the challenge

The accompanying leaflet has lots of useful information about maps. It explains latitude and longitude and how a compass works. Then there is a challenge to find things on the map using the given map key and compass rose. The Global Scavenger Hunt sends you on an adventure around the world to find things like The Seven Wonders and the Seven Summits. You can also search for the homes of amazing animals and even famous shipwrecks. It’s a great, educational and fun activity.

Our Verdict

Overall, this crate has given the Little Man at least an hour and half of activities. He can return to them again and again, finding places on his globe and map and reading his book which he can add pages to.

The Little Man gives this crate a big thumbs up for age related activities that were both fun, interesting and educational.

If you would like to try a Kiwi Crate you can use my special landing page to get one for free, you just have to pay shipping ($4.95 in US $9.95 Internationally.)

https://www.kiwico.com/raisiebay

Mix It Up Linky

What’s in the Box This Week?

Hello and welcome to this week’s What’s in the Box my weekly linky where you can link up all your box opening posts and vlogs.

First let me tell you about a couple of subscription boxes I’ve heard about. Feel free to add your posts on any type of boxes though, you don’t have to follow my theme..although if you have reviewed either of these I’d be interested to hear about it.

Book and a Brew – Sounds perfect to me, there is nothing I like more than grabbing a cuppa and settling down with a good book. With this subscription service you can do just that. For £12.99 per month you get a hardback book and pack of tea. It’s a surprise especially selected for you.

Prudence and the Crow – If I’m honest I think £15 per month is a little much to be asking for an old book, but you do get a handmade bag, a special library card and sometimes a little extra surprise. I think you’d be wealthier visiting you local charity shop, but if you like a surprise through your letterbox you might be tempted.

I’ve decided to set up this linky so that subscription box lovers can link up and find out what everyone else is getting.

It might give you some ideas of the best ones to sign up too!

In the future I hope to feature some of the best posts that have linked up, so please do join in. I’ll also tweet your posts and share them on my Facebook page. I’ll also comment on all submissions.

Now for the Rules, don’t worry they are easy.

  • link up your subscription box post or video, it can be any kind of box
  • take a look and comment on a couple of other posts in the linky, it’s only fair and you may find something exciting to subscribe to.
  • include my badge so that others may find the linky and join in.
There you have it, simple!

I’ll put the linky up every Tuesday and you can add to it until he following Monday. Do tell your friends, this is a new linky and we’d love everyone to join in.

I really can’t wait to see what you’ve had in your boxes!

Here’s my badge, the copy code is underneath.

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Brain Boost Box – Review

If you are a regular reader you will know that I am a big fan of subscription boxes so i was thrilled to be offered a Brainboost box to review. I chose the School box for 9-12 years old for my daughter Star who is ten. Other options are 2-4 years and 5-8 years boxes. If I am honest I think that maybe I was sent the 5-8 years box by mistake. The activities did seem more aimed at that age and definitely the book that was provided.

As much as I love Judith Kerr and Mog I do think this book is more for my 5 year old rather than my 10 year old. In fact my Little Man picked it up straight away and began reading.
The box arrived addressed to Star which she was thrilled about, children really do love getting post addressed to them. 
Inside the box was six activities each one in a zip lock bag. This idea is brilliant, it keeps everything together for each activity. 
Each bag has a details instruction card. It also tells you about which skills are developed. For this project, Elephant Sewing, you get all the materials needed to sew and stuff a cute elephant. The skills are;
  • Early investigative skills
  • Problem Solving Skills
  • Develops creativity and communication
It gives precise details of how to make the elephant and also makes some suggestion as to how you can increase the child’s learning. For example, researching elephants and where they live, how much they way, how tall they are and so on. It’s definitely educational.
Also in the box was a basket to weave from a template and ratten, some wooden letters with instructions for several games to play, instructions and materials to make a straw rocket, a bag of beads with thread and a game to play outdoors with chalk and counters.
The beads where very popular with all my children and they all had a go at threading them.
Here is the Little Man deep in concentration.

As the card had suggested I instructed him to thread to beads in colour order. This was his finished result.

I think he did really well and it kept him occupied for ages which is pretty impressive for a hyperactive five year old. 
The little man also really enjoyed the rocket activity. He spent ages designing his rocket, then he played for ages blowing it off the end of a straw.

Brainboost box was the invention of Dr Maryhan Baker, her aim was to create a way that parents could interact with their children in a fun and educational way. The activities in the boxes focus on five core skills, creativity, communication, emotional, physical and cognitive. 
In each box you receive five activities and a book. Each activity is in it’s own ziplock bag and has a detailed instruction card with modification ideas to increase the educational value of each one. 
Each box is £20 with free P&P for UK customers. You receive one box per month and can cancel at any time. You can also choose to pay 3 monthly or 6 monthly for a discount on the price. You can also add extra materials for siblings which I think is a nice idea as a lot of us mums have more than one child who wants to join in .
I found the activities engaging and fun and my children enjoyed doing them. I do believe that the activities in the box were for the 5-8 yr age group rather than the  9-12 which is what I asked for. I believe this was a genuine mistake and as it was sent free of charge (and I have two children in the 5-8 yr bracket) I would not complain.
My overall opinion is that the box was packaged well, the box was sturdy and it was easy to keep everything together inside it despite it being through the mailing service. I love the idea of the zip lock bags to keep all the activity pieces together. The activities where entertaining, educational and fun, I actually managed to get my children to give up screen time to try them out. You definitely get more than you would with a letterbox children’s activity box and this is reflected in the price. If you found most of the activity bags individually in a shop you’d probably expect to pay at least £5 each and you also get a book, so it’s worth the £20 you pay for each box. The only activity I was disappointed with was the wooden letters. They were good quality and very colourful but  there was only nine of them and although we could play most of the games we couldn’t make many words from them. I think you need at least 20 letters if not a complete alphabet. We still had fun with them though.
Here is the reply I received from the founder of Brainboost after my post was published.

“Hi Raisie, it’s Maryhan, the founder of Brainboost. We are so sorry, we did post out the wrong box! We sent you the Early School box, which is for 5-8 year olds. Thank you for your honest review, we really do appreciate it as it helps us make our boxes even better. Thank you also to all your lovely followers and their comments too. 



We are in fact currently looking into different options to make our subscription more accessible such as boxes with fewer activities for less than £20 and offering a bi-monthly option. We would really appreciate some frank and honest feedback from anyone who might ordinarily be interested in this type of subscription. So please do get in touch contact@brainboostbox.com and we can email a questionnaire across and then follow it up with a telephone call, if you are willing to speak to me directly.  



With very best wishes Maryhan”












Disclosure: I was sent a Brainboost Box for the purpose of this review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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Honest Brew Box – Review and Discount.

As much as I love wine I find myself getting more excited over a good beer! You can beat a nice refreshing cold glass of beer on a summer evening, or at any time if I’m totally honest. I guess that’s why I enjoyed reviewing Honest Brew so much.

Honest Brew is the UK’s best online beer service. They research small batch beers form around the world and then tailor each selection to your preferences.

“HonestBrew works with microbreweries from across the world, including
Beavertown, Lervig and Yeastie Boys, to offer a huge range of unique beers. With
95% of the beers sold by HonestBrew not available in supermarkets, this
personalised and curated service offers users something unique.”



There are three types of subscription boxes of beer to choose from;

The Beer Club – offers 2 x 6 craft beers sent every month for £29.90 (£10 off first delivery) This is the no fuss subscription and it is great if you just want some tasty beer each month.

The Tailor Made – offers 12 brewery fresh craft beers every month for £35.50 (£10 off first delivery) Your subscription is tailor made to your tastes.


The Treasure Chest – offers 12 exclusive and hard to find craft beers every month for £39.90 (£10 off first delivery) Again your subscription is tailored to your tastes.

All three subscriptions promise a flexible subscription (you can cancel or pause any time) and free delivery.

Interested? Why don’t you try a Taster Kit, I can offer you one with 50% off that’s just £9 for six craft beers. Just visit Honest Brew through my blog to get this fantastic offer.

I was sent a six beer taster kit to review myself. It’s a great way to get a taste of the different types of beers available and see which ones you like best.

In my box I had;

Beavertown Neck Oil – an India Pale Ale which is refreshing light and crisp but packs a punch. It’s the kind of ale you can drink at any time of day for refreshment.

Buxton Wild Boar – Another India Pale Ale from the Buxton Brewery in Derbyshire. It had an aroma of lime and mango but you can also taste honey and malt. It had a lovely frothy head on top of a pale straw coloured beer.

Howling Hops Running Beer – I didn’t get to try this one, it disappeared from my case, I think my eldest son was the culprit (it’s ok he’s over the legal drinking age!) It’s a full bodied brown ale.
Fourpure Pils – This one was abducted by my eldest daughter (also over the legal drinking age) she said it tasted like larger! Which is probably correct seeing as it is a Pilsner, but from London not Germany.
Wild Beer, Wild Goose Chase – This is a Saison beer which is not something I am familiar with but is described as wild and interesting. I was pretty sure I could detect gooseberries, which in my books is pretty interesting for a beer.
The Five Points Brewery ,Railway Porter – This promised me coffee and chocolate as well as beer. I don’t know if it was just the promise but I really loved this beer, I think I’m definitely more of a stout person (as in stout beer not fat!) Not as refreshing as the lighter ales but dark, interesting and somewhat comforting. My favourite in the box (out of the ones I got to taste anyway, Thanks Kids!)
I also received the lovely Siam beer glass that you can see in my photos.
Overall I really enjoyed my selection and found my box emptied pretty quick. It would be nice to receive a box every month, I’d probably go for the tailored boxes though so I could get more of what I liked while trying new brands. 
Did you know that beer could come in so many flavours? They come under six main categories;
  • Light/crisp – light and easy drinking lagers or pale ales.
  • Citrusy/fruity – refreshing, often bitter hop-focused beers
  • Malty/toffee – never overly bitter, occasionally sweet and warming
  • Roasted/chocolate – usually rich, full bodied, and brewed with darker malts
  • Wild/Interesting – Experimental and wild, these test the boundaries of what beer is thought to be.
  • Earthy/spicy – expect herbal and earthy flavours.
Are you a beer lover? Which flavours do you think you’d like to try? I’d love to hear in the comments.

Honest Brew also have an informative blog, I  liked this post about Vegan Brews, Particularly as I have a vegan friend coming over for drinks soon.

They have their own shop where you can buy individual cans and bottles if you don’t fancy a regular subscription. Or you can buy Howlers, which are tubes containing three cans of beer and are ideal for transporting to parties or festivals. Or you can buy a mixed case of beers, there are several options to choose from and are a one off purchase.

Honest Brew are offering my readers a 50% discount on a Taster Pack, that’s just £9 for 6 craft beers!

Cheers!

I would recommend Honest Brew to my friends and family and beer lovers everywhere. They provide a unique service and the prices are decent. The subscriptions are easy and adaptable and the best value as you are rewarded with free postage and with some you get an extra discount in their shop if you need to top up with extra beer if you need it. I was given the taster pack free for the purpose of this review, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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.