Sometimes you want to be able to entertain the children without having to put too much thought into it. For me anything that helps entertain them whilst encouraging them to come away from the various screens around them is always a bonus. So I was really keen to review the Weekend box: Something to EAT, something to EXPLORE (sensory exploration games), something to MAKE (a craft kit with all the materials required) and something GREEN (some seasonal seeds to plant or something to make with recycled material). This fortnightly box is designed to provide parent with everything they need for an action-packed weekend. The boxes are aimed at entertaining children ages 3-8 years old, and are made to fit through your door, with free delivery. The contents are 100% reusable or recyclable, with 95% coming from recycled material. They are available to purchase as a gift – in a 3, 6 or 12 month subscription. The boxes are billed monthly (and arrive fortnightly) but there’s never any commitment to carry them on. You can add extra things for a sibling for an extra £4 a box. The boxes are sent to arrive in time for the weekend so that the focus can be put on spending time with the children.
What we thought of the Weekend Box
The box was bright and appealing, and indeed very compact and easily came through the letter box. I liked the way that the box was fully recyclable – with it turning into a certificate for the child completing the box. Each of the 4 activities (EAT, EXPLORE, MAKE, GREEN) came with instruction cards that had the same colour coordination as their corresponding bags of materials. Also included was a small colouring book. Luckily we have lots of colouring in materials at home already, but if say their Nan had ordered one in, or we had thought they may be good to take on holiday they would have been disappointed that not “everything” was provided within the box. I liked the fact that the activities had a star difficulty rating and a time (in minutes) they expect it to take to complete them. There were stickers for the children to add to the sheets for finishing each task – but these were not cut very well. I have to admit that my first impressions were not that great, but actually having spent the time doing the activities I realised how easy it had made spending time with my son, and all the developmental support it had provided.
Sand Art Explorers
This activity said it just required a plate – but this would be easy to obtain, and besides the packaging would do the job, or some other recyclable material. Personally we didn’t use a plate but used our table. However, I do think that something could have been included to spread the glue, making it easier to get it in the lines. I liked the fact that the information sheet clearly shows how the activity will help children: In this case Sensory Exploration and Motor skills. I think also this will help develop their creativity and imagination, not to mention fine motor when pinching the sand out of the bag. We went on to make Sand Art Bottle Vases.
We liked this as we talked about the different colours, as well as him being able to squeeze the bag of glue provided, and get some sensory input
All that was actually provided for this were some herbs and some cocktail sticks. Although I imagine that the ingredients needed are likely to be around the home generally (potatoes, cheese and vegetables) it was disappointing for me as I was expecting that the box has EVERYTHING required to do the 4 activities. We skipped this activity.
Lolly Stick Bird Feeder
I liked how simple this task was, and that there was a Bird spotting guide. There were only 3 birds but it may encourage the children to go and look online for more. Again the lack of something to spread the glue made this task rather messy. There wasn’t enough string provided either. We decided that this would be best used as a raft than a bird feeder anyway.
I liked this activity as it first asked you to line up 9 sticks – and it was great to hear him practise his counting.
DIY 3D Glasses
This was a nice scientific activity for the children and I liked the squirrel on the sheet (from the box) wearing the 3D glasses. Again there were no scissors provided in the box, which were needed to cut the glasses out. My son usually uses special scissors at school where an adult can also hold them. I would not have normally given him scissors and I am glad this activity was in the box as he really showed me how much he has come on with them! A very proud moment I would not have otherwise witnessed.
All in all I do think that the Weekend boxes are a good idea, and they do provide the ideas of what to do to encourage children to come away from screens and develop some important skills. However, I would not rely on the fact that everything is there. Personally I think for what you get in terms of the value of the contents of the box then it is a bit overpriced. But then I have a whole cupboard of items ready to craft and be creative. Saying that I don’t always manage to make time to think up new ideas, especially ones to help in different areas of development – so in terms of inspiration then it is well worth every penny.
The first box is £5 and if you sign up in January (2014) using the promo code JOY112 then you can have all future boxes for £5 also (normally £7.50) redeemable at Weekend box
I received a free weekend box in order to review it. All words and opinions are my own.