Reviews - activities & crafts (page 2)

We have reviewed a selection of activity toys, construction sets and crafts, many of which have kindly been sent to us for review purposes. There are craft activities, construction kits, science experiments and many more. They all offer learning value as well as being enjoyable for your child; creative activities are a great way to enjoy time together.

Reviews-activities-and-crafts (page 1)

National Geographic Volcano Science Kit

I am a huge fan of National Geographic Kids books, so I was thrilled to be asked to review some of their kits - and I am glad to say that the same high quality is found. Everything you need to make an exciting volcano is here - no searching around for elusive bits and pieces but you need to create a volcano, paint it and make it erupt.The set includes pumice, an obsidian arrowhead, and a geode specimen so children can discover all about each unique volcanic specimen; there are also clear instructions. The learning guide provides many interesting facts and is designed to promote a love of geology and science.

Hands-on science is the way for children to learn - theory is all very well but it's the actual experience children remember.The kit includes National Geographic's learning guide so children can write an A+ report, which again will help learning- as well as impress the teacher! STEM subjects are much to the fore at present, so this kit will really support that aspect of learning. This is a classic STEM project that teaches children about chemistry, geology, and earth science and it's a really good and inexpensive homeschool resource. The kit is backed by National Geographic's 100% satisfaction guarantee. This is a really professional kit that will meet with the approval of serious scientists. Great fun to do as a family, extremely educational and it's great value too. Highly recommended.


National Geographic Red Crystal Growing Lab

Another wonderful kit that shares many of the attributes and positive comments of the one above. There are four colours available and we received the red crystals; amethyst, glow in the dark and blue are also available. It's a perfect family activity and children will enjoy the thrill of feeling like real scientists with this classic science kit, as they enjoy the fun and learning value of watching their crystal grow. The best and most memorable way for children to explore the wonders of science is through a hands-on project, and it's good experience for them to follow the instructions. National Geographic's excellent learning guide will teach the fascinating science behind this experiment - it's a real asset to the kit.

The pack includes a real Aragonite crystal for your child's rock collection and they can compare the Aragonite to the red crystals they grow with this kit. The kit is a great buy for home educators, as it supports the KS2 science curriculum. Excellent value too, as everything you need is included - always welcomed by parents! The kit is recommended for girls and boys of 8+, and the pack gives safety advice regarding adult supervision, as the kit contains chemicals. Providing children with the best educational toys, this kit comes with National Geographic's 100% satisfaction guarantee. All these kits are a superb support for STEM learning, which is high profile at present and a really important area of study.. See a range of National Geographic Kids products here.


So Slime DIY Slime Shakers

I knew as soon as I saw this set that I would have a couple of little reviewers that would jump at the chance of playing with slime! We have the 3-pack of slime and the colours inside are yellow, green and pink. There are just 3 simple instructions on the back of the pack to follow and it says it is mess free.


Each pot has a lid and inside each pot is a silver packet; inside the packet is small bag of coloured powder, a small bag of glitter or confetti and a surprise figurine. All you have to do is to empty the bag of powder and the bag of glitter in to the empty pot and then fill with water to the marked line. Put the lid on the pot and then shake for 30 seconds, take the lid off and then leave it alone for 5 minutes.

We checked back on the pots after 5 minutes but the slime was still a little sticky so we left them for another 10 minutes, after which time the slime easily came free from the pots and it was of perfect consistency. My mini reviewers have been having fun mixing it together and playing with it (and also working out that it makes a rude noise when you poke it back in to the pot with your finger). The yellow seemed to work the best - it had normal sized glitter added to it and it stays within the slime when you are playing with it. The pink pot had very tiny glitter pieces added to the slime and these did end up on our hands whenever we touched it. The green pot had purple confetti hearts, and these work fairly well but some of them didn't stay in the slime.

I like the concept of these, I know there are many ways that you can do DIY slime but they all seem a little messy so having it all contained in one pot is great. The slime can be made really quickly and the bright colours and added glitter make it really fun. It says ages 6+ on the box but my 5 year old found it easy to get involved and to follow instructions. So Slime DIY is available in other colour sets for £9.99 as well as single pots with prices starting at just £3.99.

Pilot Pintor Marker Pens

Parents in Touch were kindly sent two packs of Pintor Marker Pens to review; we have the Classic pack which have six 2.9mm fine point nibs and the Fun pack which has six chunkier 4.5mm nibs. In the Classic pack you get black, white, blue, green, yellow and red and in the Fun pack you will find black, purple, blue, green, pink and orange.

The Pintor pens are water-based paint markers which are suitable for all surfaces and depending on what surface you use them on they will either be permanent or washable. When they are used on surfaces such as wood, cardboard or fabric they will be permanent but if they are used on glass, plastic or chalk boards then they can be wiped off using a damp cloth and washing up liquid. We decided to test them out by painting stones (see our hiding stones blog post here). The children really enjoy doing this and we would normally use marker pens as they are not as messy as using paints. The Pintor pens are first used by shaking them up and down for a few seconds and then pressing down on the nib a few times to get the colour flowing. We have two sets of very vibrant colours so we hoped to make some very colourful designs. They are very easy to use and they really do look like paint, the coverage is excellent so you get really bold lines. On a couple of stones we completely coloured in the surface of the stone and then added different layers of colour; the paint dries quickly so you are able to add the next part of your design and the colours don't run.

Having the white pen in the Classic pack is great as a background colour and for adding fine details and the thinner nibs allow you to draw well on even very small surfaces. The thicker pens allow you to colour in greater areas with ease, although we did find that the thicker pens were slightly runnier so they needed more time to dry and you had to be a little more careful with them so that the colours didn't run.

I imagine that these would be fun for lots of different applications like jazzing up shoes and bags and they are great if you want to paint but without the mess or the hassle! They are available in a range of sets including metallic and pastel shades, you can take a look at their full pen range here. We will definitely be investing in more of these!

Science Wiz: Energy by Penny Norman

This educational and fun energy kit includes 22 fascinating activities that will help children understand the relevant parts of the Science Curriculum - great to support school learning and for home educators. Home educators will really appreciate the fact that everything is in this one neat package (or will be easily obtained), ensuring their child has a really valuable resource. Energy is high on the agenda, so it's important children understand the implications and what might happen in the future - this will help them enormously.. They will discover what energy is, how we make it today and what choices await us in the future. The 22 activities include Build a solar racer; Launch a supercapacitor car; Make an electric car; Spin a flywheel generator;; Build a battery to light an LED;  Do a kinetic chain reaction; Store potential energy on your head; Discover how solar cells work and Focus the sun's energy with lenses. This is an exceptionally good range of activities - and the kit provides what you need to try them out. It's all great fun to do, and parents will enjoy working with children on this. This is a straightforward way for children to learn about energy with excellent highly visual instructions and explanations that will give them an enthusiasm for the subject. With its attractive box and integral illustrated instruction booklet, this makes a great gift for 8 year olds upwards. There are lots more superb Science Wiz packs to enjoy too. To support these excellent packs, Science Wiz have produced a fabulous range of supporting activities which are all available on their website. These are superb for helping children to really understand the concepts through hands-on ideas, well designed and easy to understand, so do take a look. To give you an idea of just some of the supporting activities for energy, see the image below. I highly recommend this kit to support learning and really enthuse children.



My Busy Bots                    mybusybots

We were thrilled to receive two sets of packs from My Busy Bots. My first impression was how lovely and colourful they are, and how attractive the zip top bags are in their bright colours. The first pack we explored was the All Sorts pack, which is a great introduction to the products, with its exciting range of topics to help children (recommended age 4 - 8) explore and understand their world. The first bag is Shapes are all around - a really good topic for incidental learning as shapes really are all around us. This bag helps children to observe and remember by using familiar everyday items and linking them to 3D shapes in our world. Parents will be inspired by the contents to build on learning and they can add their own bits and pieces to extend the value of the contents. Bag 2 is ARE WE THERE YET?  which provides an inspiring way to help children learn to write  as they drive their car around the track and form their upper case letters, with clear directions on where to start each letter. Bag 3 is Googly eyed monster which develops number recognition and counting skills up to 10.


Our second pack is The World All About Us, suitable for ages 3 - 7. The world is an exciting place for young children; help them make sense of it and make the most of the discussion opportunities offered by these packs. Bag 1 is called Beep beep, choo choo; it brings vehicles to life as children sort the foam shapes into colours, match silhouettes and discover which parts of our world they travel in. In Bag 2: When I grow up, children's knowledge of jobs is developed and they are encouraged  to value and appreciate all of them and understand how they contribute to the community. Bag 3 is Block it. It helps to grow and develop the muscles needed to help with writing and cutting at school. In this My Busy Bots bag children fill silhouettes of everyday objects with brightly coloured blocks. 


All the activities are reusable and parents can develop the ideas themselves as well as using the excellent suggestions included in each pack, to suit a range of ages. The brightly coloured bags are perfect for slipping into a travle bag or using in the car - perfectly designed for stimulation when out and about, or visiting - or even when waiting for appointments. Every bag has a practical sheet of suggestions for using the contents, but you are not limited to these - your own thoughts and children's imaginations will be stimulated by the contents. Between them, these bags develop a wide range of essential early learning skills, including fine motor skills, early writing skills; hand-eye coordination, concentration, problem solving and visual perceptual skills are just a few of them. For full contents of each pack and more information about the skills developed, take a look at the My Busy Bots product page. The sets of three packs are priced at £15.00 (December 2017). An excellent concept, with ideas to suit every child. Attractive and stimulating, we think these are a lovely innovative idea.

Candice and Leanne, founders of My Busy Bots, tell us: "We create Busy Bags containing fun, educational activities that will engage your little ones and keep them occupied... Our Busy Bags can be used either at home or on the go – they’re perfect for keeping children happy and absorbed... As busy mums ourselves we love how they captivate enquiring little minds and encourage time away from using screens! But our bags are not only a fun distraction… Our activities help them discover new topics as well as develop essential abilities (like fine motor skills and visual perception skills). They are not crafts (so they can be used over and over again) and they are not toys. We use items that will intrigue your child – and, more importantly, not stain or make sticky any surface in your home!" Find out more and see all that are available on the My Busy Bots site.

Science Wiz: Energyy Penny Norman

This fun energy kit includes an amazing 22 activities activities that will help  support school science learning; the kits are especially good for home educators, as they offer complete coverage of the topic in an easy to use pack - it's great to have everything in one place. The set includes a motor, buzzer, test leads, LED, pinwheels, crocodile clips and much more. All you need to add is a D-cell battery and some easily obtained household items. Children are introduced to the concept of a loop, and the various activities build on this; they include building circuit loops, sending coded messages, conductivity, lighting bulbs and connecting batteries and buzzers. A straightforward way for children to learn about electricity with excellent highly visual instructions and explanations that will give them an enthusiasm for the subject. With its attractive box and integral illustrated instruction booklet, this makes a great gift for 6 to 10 year olds. There are lots more superb Science Wiz packs to enjoy too. To support these excellent packs, Science Wiz have produced a fabulous range of supporting activities which are all available on their website. These are excellent for helping children to really understand the concepts through hands-on ideas, so do take a look. To give you an idea of just some of the supporting activities for electricity, see the image below.



SCORPION ANATOMY MODEL from Thames and Kosmos

This anatomy model kit allows you to put together, piece-by-piece, a model of the internal and external parts of a scorpion. Constructing the body in this way teaches the user about the internal and external structure of this arachnid and how the organs work together, allowing an insight into this important species and evolution itself. Buy from Thames and Kosmos,  price £26.00. It's an excellent way to show children exactly how this fascinating creature is formed, and they will learn and remember so much from constructing it for themselves



We all love to encourage children's creativity but there are tines when messy play isn't possible - and that's when the innovative Playmais comes to the fore. PlayMais is an all-natural crafting toy, made from organic corn grits and water and coloured with food colouring (Playmais is non-staining). Obviously, young children need supervision but it's good to know that the product is safe. It is so simple to use - shape it easily with your fingers and it sticks by dampening with a minimal amount of water. As well as sticking to itself, Playmais can be stuck to a wide range of other materials including paper, cardboard, glass, wood and even flower pots; this offers great potential for creating all sorts of decorative objects. Playmais has a high educational value and is a great way to promote manual dexterity, fine motor skills, creativity and imagination. It's non-messy qualities make it excellent for use in schools. It's good to know that PlayMais is a natural product that is 100% biodegradable and doesn't impact negatively on the environment. Playmais is suitable for children from 3+, and will be fun for many years as children progress from simple shapes to complex 3D creations. We received the Playmais Fun to Learn ABC, a big box full of Playmais (550+ pieces according to the box - I didn't count them!) in six colours - red, yellow, orange, blue, green and yellow. It would be better if the box wasn't quite so full, so the Playmais pieces don't spill out when you use them. Resealable buckets are available and these would be a lot easier to use and for storage. The box also includes 14 printed cards which help children learn the letters of the alphabet, making this an excellent educational resource. We also received the Lion playset. The pack comes with yellow, white, brown and orange pieces, plus felt to embellish the completed lion; instructions are included. This is one in a wide range of animals on offer. See the whole Playmais range on their website; you will also find plenty of free downloads for even more inspiration. A super product with lots of educational and creative value, completely non-messy for easy play fun.

 playmais abc   playmais lion

SmartLab Smartphone Science Lab

This is a great product which can be used with any smartphone or tablet with camera; it would make excellent use of a redundant phone! There are 20 varied experiments to test out on smartphone or tablet and it includes a clip on high powered microscope. Children are endlessly fascinated by microscopic images, so this is a good and inexpensive way to let them experiment; there is a slide included with three specimens. The 24 page full colour book is packed with ideas which include under the microscope, optical explorations and sound experiments, each with a range of suggestions, clearly explained and illustrated The scientific principles behind the activities are explained, providing a good practical background for KS2 science. Then, of course, having tried the ideas, children will be stimulated to develop their own ideas. A really good feature is that the images are stored straight onto the device, so children can refer back to them. As well as the book, the kit includes a Universal smartphone / tablet mount, a microscope, four filters and a filter adaptor, a specimen slide and a neat tidy carrying case. Simple to use, this is a fun educational toy which will encourage scientific investigations.

 smartlab 1smartlab2



Snazaroo Face Painting Kit from Weekend Box

The latest offering from Weekend Box goes away from their usual mixed assortment of activities. This time, we were sent a Mini Theme Packs from Snazaroo. The first includes black, white and yellow face paints along with a brush and a sponge, to create a tiger face. "Priced at just £2.99, and coming at a compact 10cm by 11cm, there are five vibrant themes – Summer, Carnival, Halloween, Christmas and Easter – kids are covered all year round. The colourful summer packs include a fun Festive Mask (made up of bright pink, white and royal blue) and a Jester (featuring grass green, white and purple)." All you need is a drop of water to use the paints - and they wash off really easily too. The face paints are fragrance and paraben free and specially-formulated to be gentle on the skin. They are suitable for children over three, and older children will be able to use them by themselves... but preferably with some adult supervision! The second pack is a Birthday Party Stamp Kit, priced at £4.99, which includes green, yellow and orange paints and three stamps - a cake, a smiley face and musical notes. Snazaroo face paints bring children’s imaginations to life while easy to follow three step guides empower you to transform them into their favourite characters from a world of fantasy; unfortunately, I could not locate these guides so cannot judge their usefulness. Logos for use online are available from this link. These mini packs are a useful first face painting set. See the whole extensive Snazaroo range.

















Oonies 5

Oonies Station Starter Pack

Oonies are the inflatable mini balloons that join together to create a whole world of miniature characters. The Oonies Inflator Starter Pack comes with everything needed to create a variety of fun balloon designs. The inflation chamber easily inflates mini balloons that stick together to create a whole host of characters. Simply add the Deco Bits to make animals including birds and kittens!

Oonies 1

We were sent the Oonies Starter Pack to review, inside the box you get an instruction sheet, along with:

1 x Oonies Inflator

36 x Oonies Pellets

6 x Oonie Connectors

18 x Oonie Deco Bits

6 x Display Connectors

12 x Oonie Eyes

The balloons that are inflated start off as small pellets with flat bases. One of these is then inserted in to the Oonies chamber, which is then attached to the Oonies inflator. The chamber is locked down in place and a fine needle pushes through the base of the pellet and inflates it in to a balloon while you pump the handle on the right. The gauge at the top of the chamber shows 3 balloon sizes - small, medium and large. Once your balloon reaches the desired size, the chamber can be unlocked and removed from the inflator. Open the chamber and carefully remove your Oonie.

Oonies 2

The pack comes with various Deco Bits to allow you to create different characters. Oonies can be stuck together using the supplied connectors and the Deco Bits simply stick to the Oonies. Display connectors are also included and these allow you to display your creations, they will even stick to windows. The instructions are very clear and easy to follow. I often worry a little about kits like this and wonder if what we create will have any resemblance to what it is supposed to be, or if it looks like anything on the box. I was pleasantly surprised that we did manage to create a couple of characters from the booklet and one of our own. From a distance they look like glass ornaments when displayed, especially the elephant.

Oonies 3     Oonies 4

Oonies are designed for ages 5 and over, they are great for developing fine motor skills and coordination. Oonies retail at £19.99 and can be found at You can also buy refill packs with different themes, allowing you to make lots of different characters.

Wannabees 3

Wannabees - I want to be a Teacher

Wannabees are imaginative role-play packs which provide everything children need to play 'let's pretend' to be the profession person of their choice.

Wannabees 2

We recently received the Wannabees - I want to be a Teacher role-play pack to review. Even before we had opened it we were very impressed with the size of it and could see it was packed full of things to do. The pack is spiral-bound, allowing the sheets inside to be easily turned with no ripping. The front cover is thick glossy card with fun illustrations and on the inside of the cover is an introduction to the teacher pack from 'Miss Flower', giving you tips on how to use each page and the order of the day.

Inside the pack you get the following sheets:

Register - 7 sheets, with room for 25 names covering 31 days

Timetable - 7 sheets plus one example

Lesson planner - 5 sheets plus one example

Classroom Job List - 4

Lunch List - 6

Weather Chart - 4

Counting - 3

Number & Letter - 4

Medical Note - 9

Reading Log - 9

School Report - 12

Achievement Certificate - 12

Stickers - 2 sheets of 15

The back cover is also a thick glossy card, it also cleverly converts in to a stand for the pack. Each sheet is printed on premium paper, you really do feel like you have bought a good quality product that will stand up to small hands flicking through the sheets over and over again. All children love role-play and it is such an important part of growing and developing skills. My two reviewers were keen to give this pack a go and they spent a great deal of time playing very well together. My eldest is 6 and has just finished year 1 at school, he couldn't wait to be the teacher so he could show his younger sister (starting Reception in September), what the school day is all about. I think she was most excited about the lunch options and the stickers though!

  Wanna    Wannabees Roo

The whole pack is very well thought out and each sheet is very detailed, realistic and clearly a great deal of thought and effort has gone in to producing these. The Wannabees packs were launched by two Cheshire mums who together have developed these comprehensive and high quality packs that have already won awards, fighting off competition from major brands in the process.

The packs are perfect for taking when going away on holiday or travelling as they they will keep children busy for hours as there is plenty to do. We will definitely be packing ours when we go away next month, great entertainment but takes up little packing space. The packs are aimed at ages 5 and over, I would say this is a good recommendation as your child will need to be able to read, and have relatively neat handwriting to fit within the box space given on the sheets. Wannabees packs retail at £14.99 and they are available to buy direct from Wannabees. You will also find them on Twitter and Facebook.

 Wannabees 4 Wannabees 5

Dessineo Learn to Draw

The Dessineo learn to Draw is a new product from Jumbo's educational range. It aims to teach young children to draw in just 4 easy steps by using the included projector box and slides. Included are 30 slides, each of the transparent discs has 4 different steps of the drawing to complete. Once you have chosen the image you want to draw you simply attach the slide on to the turntable inside the projector box and then shut the lid. You then choose a background sheet, there are 10 included but they are A4 size so you can also use plain paper. There are guides on the projector box to help the paper stay in place.


At this point the turntable with the slide on needs to be set to 'step 1'. The steps are clearly marked at the front of the projector box and you simply click round until you reach the first step. The on/off switch lights up the image so that the child can start drawing over the lines shown. Once all of the lines have been completed the disc can be moved round to step 2 and you continue on in the same way until step 4 is finished. Once all the steps have been done you can colour in the brilliant drawing you have created!


The slides have an assortment of images including animals, vehicles and fantasy characters, the background sheets also have good variety to choose from. The Dessineo Learn to Draw comes with 1 black marker pen and instructions. It requires 4 x AA batteries (not included). It is aimed at ages 4+ and this is reflected in how simple it is to use. The slides are effortlessly placed on to the turntable and can be worked by a child with ease once they have been shown how. The images are easy enough for children to draw over accurately, but they also produce great pictures. The Dessineo Learn to Draw features a carry handle and all of the slides and paper can be stored inside it, with another compartment for the pen. This is a great 'learn to draw' product and the simple steps given to follow encourage children to try and re-create the images by themselves after they have used the slides a few times.




qixels refill


Qizels Kingdom: Castle Attack

Qizels are a unique concept - simply make, spray and play. There are plenty of sets to choose from, for girls and boys but I do think this one will have especial appeal to boys. Bugs, pirates, dinosaurs, monsters and racing are just a few of the many other themes. Once created, these pixelated characters can be used as individual toys to play with or make great  bedroom decorations. The Castle Attack pack comes with all the parts needed to make a Kingdom Castle; assemble the castle from the pre-formed plastic shapes (there are 1000 cubes in this set), which slot together cleanly; different configurations are possible, so plenty of scope to be creative. Then it's time to add your own touch, by assembling the Qizel cubes (which come in an array of bright colours) onto the base plates (there are 2 of these, so one can be drying while another is being assembled) - create your own design one Pixel at at time, which is a super way for children to express themselves. When you are perfectly happy with the design, simply spray with water, wait half an hour and you have your completed masterpiece - no heat, no glue and no mess! You may wonder if the finished creation really does stay together - well, we did too, but I promise you it does, but do make sure the Qizels are totally dry. Qixels are totally safe to use; this set is recommended for 4+, but at this age, children will need adult help (but that will be a pleasure for any creative adult!); older children can be left to their own devices in total confidence that Qixels are perfectly safe. The Kingdom Castle Attack Play set allows the user to build their own fortress, create an army of trolls, kings and dragons.and forge mighty weapons. Young players can use their imaginations to prepare for battle and defend the kingdom; other sets can also be used with this to extend the imaginative possibilities. Hopefully, your child might also take an interest in medieval warfare, and learn more about history. It is a great way to encourage boys to enjoy creative activities; it will extend imagination and also enhance concentration skills - a superb toy, highly recommended. Qixels can be purchased from (price £29.99 May 2017)- you can see the whole range here and purchase Castle Attack here.  The themed sets are £9.99 (May 2017) and can be purchased here.  Play value and imaginative possibilities can be extended even further with the Qixels 3D Maker - once they have mastered the technique of Qixels children can take their designs to the next level. There are a variety of 3D characters to create including aliens, bugs and jungle characters. (RRP £24.99 May 2017) Theme Packs - There are so many cool designs to create including Dinosaurs, pirates and even monsters!  (RRP £9.99) There's also the Mega Refill Pack – the fun is as endless as your child’s imagination with the Qixels refill pack which includes 1500 cubes including 750 glow in the dark cubes (RRP £12.99 May 2017). The variety of sets is impressive and combining them together makes them even more fun and productive. Unusual and innovative, providing hours of fun.
 QizelsQizels  Qizels

Letterbox Lab logo





Letterbox Lab! Science Experiments

The Letterbox Lab box is a new science subscription box for children. There are 2 different boxes to choose from; the Explore Box for ages 6+ which contains 2-3 experiments and the Investigate Box for ages 8+ which has 3 hours of science fun along with collectible equipment.

We have been reviewing the Explore Box, my mini scientist is very nearly 6 so he is the perfect age to get stuck in. Our box was called Hidden Rainbows. Inside the box you get a bag of science materials and an instruction booklet. The booket is printed on high quality paper, it is full of bright colours, fun illustrations and easy to follow instructions. We started off by making Rainbow Spinners, everything we needed for these was in the box, including scissors (I was very impressed as my mini scientist is left handed and they worked perfectly for him). Each instruction has an accompanying illustration and a simple to read explanation which makes them easy for young readers to follow. There are questions after each experiment so you can record what you have found out and a 'What Did You Discover' page which goes in to more detail about the experiment you have done along with some science facts. These are all written in a way that a 6 year old child would understand, showing well thought out continuity across the product. The questions keep children thinking and learning, they are not just making something and not knowing anything about it.

We did the other 2 experiments (Rainbow Glasses and Incredible Inks) and had great fun. Once the Explore box is completed you earn your first sticker, when you complete another box you level up, and on your third box you get a reward.

The boxes support the curriculum with the skill development and knowledge range of Key Stage 2, you will also recieve online resources to supplement each box before it arrives. The Explore Box is £7.68 and the Investigate Box is £21.26. You can choose how often you get a box and you are not tied in to a contract, and they really do fit through your letterbox! Head over to to take a look for yourself!

 Science 1   Science 2




Wild Science Perfume Factory

I wonder how many of us remember trying to make perfume from rose petals and landing up with a soggy brown mess that was anything but fragrant? Well, for anyone who wants to make perfume, I promise you this will be far more successful! With this Wild Science kit, you can extract and blend your own secret formula scents using the special pressure filtering tools. With an assortment of real base notes and top notes the possibilities are endless, so you can make a very personal perfume for each lucky recipient. And to make a lovely gift, the perfumes can be presented in the beautiful stained glass bottles. The set includes five small bottles for experimenting with different scent combinations and these can be labelled with the stickers which are included. As well as perfumes, the kit allows you to make perfumed Ruby Gel Pot Pourri to make your room smell lovely. Keep all the bits and pieces neat and tidy and ready for the next experiment in the pink storage unit. This kit contains all you will need, and the instructions are clear and easy for children to follow. It gives a different slant on science and this kit will obviously appeal especially to girls, encouraging them to enjoy science and helping to make them aware of the huge potential and variety of science. Using a kit like this is excellent for showing children how to follow instructions to echieve the desired result and the end result will really be something of which they can be proud. You can see the whole Wild Science range here.  All the kits are available from Smyths - the price of the Perfume Factory March 2017 is £14.99. The kit is suitable for children of 8+. When you buy one of the wide range of kits, your child can enter the Global Science Challenge - see below for the superb prize on offer.

Wild Science


The Wild! Science Global Science Challenge is giving families (2 adults and 2 children) everywhere the chance to win:
• A trip to Orlando Florida,
• Entry to Disney World,
• Accomodation t a 5-star resort for 7 days
• Care hire for 7 days
• A full set of Wild Science products
• Entry to the Kennedy Space Centre to meet a real astronaut!

How to enter:
1. Buy a Wild! Science Kit and send a receipt copy with your online application
2. Design and create an awesome new Wild! Science Kit
3. Write and illustrate a basic instruction book to show other kids how to use your awesome Wild! Science Kit.
4. Closes 31 December 2017.

sound kitsound kit

Build Your Own Edison Style Phonograph by Science Wiz

Just look how much you can create with with the projects in this amazing sound exploration kit! The main project is to build a working Edison Phonograph and all the parts for this are included, but there are 20 projects in all, which allow children to explore sound vibrations. These projects require simple materials and tools which can be found around the home. And here are the projects: Build a working Edison style phonograph; Record and play back your own sound recordings; Vibrate your vocal cords and visualize your voice print; Measure sound with a decibel meter; Use an audiometer to test your hearing; Hear and transmit sounds many adults cannot hear; Make a kazoo and a banjo; Play a tune on water glasses; Play the sound location game; Transmit sounds through solids, liquids and gases; Determine if sound waves travel through a vacuum; Use a slinky to model sound waves; Bounce, absorb and amplify sound waves; Listen to your heart beat and explore how your ear works; Discover whether fish have ears, what dogs can hear and how dolphins, whales and bats use sound; Spin a sound tube to Doppler shift sound. The instructions are clear, take you through step-by-step, and they are highly visual (see the image below which shows this) so that they are easy for anyone (8+) to follow, encouraging maximum learning potential. The 40 page Sound booklet splits the experiments by type eg sound through materials, sound waves, musical instruments and the speed of sound. This works well alongside he curriculum, allowing children to develop their learning in a practical, hands-on way. As well as instructions, the booklet has informative text about various types of sound and this is well supported by the practical activities which really do help understanding. This is an excellent kit, well explained by the booklet and with a real working model to enjoy at the end of it.
sound kit  sound kit

Ready Steady Dough Nick Jr Cupcake Carousel Set

Cook up a feast with this colourful Cupcake Carousel. It's perfect to encourage imaginative and creative play as children create all manner of wonderful treats, and then present them to their favourite adults at a tea party. Cupcakes are all the rage and with this box full of tools, moulds and shapes, children can create colourful cupcakes that look just like the real thing. The piper/plunger is an especially clever device which enables the cup cakes to be decorated just like real ones. This kit includes 5 medium pots of dough (white, brown, purple, yellow and red), plus 2 plates, 2 modelling tools, cupcake mould trays (these have a variety of different shapes for excellent detailed results), a three-layered cake display, 2 cupcake cases and a piper with plunger. The dough is excellent quality - soft and malleable, with vibrant colours; they mix together well to produce other colours too and it's a good idea that a key to this is included on the pack. Once the cupcakes are finished, show them off on the pretty three tiered cake stand which is included - a lovely way to showcase children's creations, and one that will make them really proud. Of course, your child doesn't have to be limited to cupcakes - they will soon be creating all manner of teatime treats, including sandwiches and other cakes. I like the way the set encourages creativity by offering such a wide range of shapes to use, and then allows children the chance to display them beautifully on the carousel. An excellent set which has been well though-out to offer plenty of play value, inspiring creativity and imagination. Buy yours from The Toy Shop.
 dough   dough

Ready Steady Dough Nick Jr Lots of Pots Set with Cutters

This bumper set contains 10 pots of modelling dough in a range of colours - red, yellow, pink, green, orange, purple, turquoise, blue, black and white.. Plus lots of tools so children can cut, squish and shape the dough to their hearts' content. I am really impressed with the quality of this dough - the colours are really strong and vibrant and the dough is soft and very easy to mould and shape. This will make a great gift for ages three and up, with so many colours, as well as a mini rolling pin, 8 assorted shapes, a zig-zag cutter and two pipers with plungers, children will be creatively occupied for many hours. Of course, children can have a more limited set of colours and blend their own, but that won't be in any way as appealing as this lovely set of pots with their multi-coloured lids - and they store tidily if you keep them in the box which has a cut-out card insert to keep the pots in place. Of course, the colours can be blended, and they blend easily, and there's a handy guide on the box - a great way to teach children about how colours are made. This set will really encourage imaginative play, with its endless possibilities; playing with dough is also great for enhancing fine motor skills. A lovely collection of colours, complemented by an excellent range of modelling tools - this really is a good set. Highly recommended. Buy from The Toy Shop.

LEGO Star Wars 75155 Rebel U-Wing Fighter Building Set

If your child loves LEGO and loves Star Wars, then they are going to be over the moon with this super-sized model. It's a magnificent and amazingly detailed model which reflects the high brand values of LEGO and Star Wars; there's everything the most ardent Star Wars fan would expect - four big engines, an opening minifigure cockpit with transparent lower observation window, opening side doors with pull-out stud shooters, dual spring-loaded shooters at the front, rear storage hold, huge wings that sweep back to create an even bigger model and 3 blasters and 2 blaster pistols (plus extra ammunition which is great as it can be frustrating when small pieces go missing. With so many moving parts on the model, this really does offer excellent imaginative play value once the fun of creation has been enjoyed; play is enhanced by the inclusion of five minifigures: a U-wing Pilot, Bistan, Jyn Erso, Cassian Andor and a Rebel Trooper - a great selection. Children can recreate scenes from the film, or make up their own adventures. This set offers an age-appropriate building experience for ages 8-14. The impressive finished fighter measures over 10cm high, 44cm long and 20cm wide with wings closed, opening up to over 38cm long and 64cm wide with the wings open. For ease of construction, the parts are packed in five separate bags, and these are correspondingly used in the instructions. The full colour instructions are fantastically detailed - every step of the way (all 202 of them!) is pictured and shows the exact piece(s) to use; this means that even children at the younger end of the advertised age range can tackle construction confidently, giving them a huge sense of satisfaction. LEGO have to be commended for producing what must be considered the ultimate in instructions. Of course, being LEGO, it all clicks into place perfectly and the finished product is sturdy enough to withstand plenty of play. I am not a Star Wars fan, but am assured by those who are that the model has excellent accuracy and attention to detail, and will satisfy any fan. A wonderful model that is great fun to build and which offers plenty of play value. Buy direct from LEGO - and see the rest of the Star Wars range.

Peppa Pig Picnic Softee Dough Playset

I really like the way this set gives children a focus for their modelling activities; you can give children Play-doh but they can quickly get bored, not knowing what to make; this set gives them an activity on which to focus. With this colourful set, children can make all sorts of picnic food as they use a range of techniques - moulding,  rolling, patting, cutting and sculpting. The set includes 5 pots (85.05g each) of colourful dough (pink, green, blue, yellow, red of dough - and don't forget, you can blend them to teach your child about making colours). The dough is, as it says on the packet, soft, and  it is easy for little fingers to model. There is lots of play value in this well designed set - the dough pots have moulded lids with Peppa and her friends for extra value. It includes a play mat which is perfect to show off the finished picnic, 4 dough cutters, a moulding tray and modelling tools, plus a moulding extruder and a selection of cutters to form a variety of shapes. There is lots here to ensure children are happily occupied for a really good length of time. Buy this super set from Character Online and give your children many happy hours of creativity - and you will probably be invited to a picnic at the end of it! Children will probably want to get their teaset out to play with alongside the picnic - and the whole lot comes neatly packed in a carrying box with a handle which is ideal to transport the finished picnic - a super way to encourage and develop role play. It is excellent value at £12.99, and the recommended age is 3+. Of course, Peppa Pig is hugely popular with pre-schoolers, so they will love to 'entertain' Peppa and friends to a picnic.
softee dough

Box of Shocks Magic Set from Drumond Park

Get your friends gasping and screeching, oohing and aahing with this fun-filled box of magic, mystery and mayhem. That’s what you get with the fascinating and hilarious Number One best-selling Box of Shocks (8 to adult, rrp £19.99)! Irresistible to tricksters of all ages, this sparkling and witty magic set is one of the foxiest, most shocking collection of pranks and tricks for playing on friends and family that has ever been put together. The kit comes with excellent move-by-move instructions, and inside is just what it says on the box. Here's a taster of the activities - The Shock Glass - Pour water into a cup then toss it over your victim (without them getting wet); Deadliest Creatures Booklet - Show some of the world's deadliest animals and amazingly make one appear totally shock your victim; The Crazy Ketchup Pen - "Squirt" tomato ketchup over their new shirt (without staining it); and the Magic Disappearing Pen - "Draw" a black line on another victim's sleeve (without leaving a mark). and you’ll have just a whiff of what you’ll find in this top-selling compendium! Perfect for a not-so-quiet family evening in.
box of shocksbox of shocks



Sign in