Weekend Boxes. The idea behind the company is one close to my heart - helping families spend quality time together in the increasingly limited time they have together. The concept is that families receive a fortnightly mailed box containing four themed activities, including all the resources required (except the odd basic supply such as scissors).
This week we were very happy to review the Mini Weekend Box, inspired by families who weren't finding time to complete all four activities. Same great mailing but this time with two activities instead of four, and for a reduced cost compared to the original box. I have always been impressed by how the company listens to it's customers and reviewers - for example I mentioned after my last box that the glue stick provided didn't work well, and I see that in the current box the glue has been replaced by a much better one.
The first activity was a green-fingered challenge to grow our own rain forest. We received everything we needed except scissors and a plastic drinks bottle, but these were easily found in our craft supplies box (although our bottle may have been a bit big compared to the one on the instruction card).
Toby was in charge of opening the envelope containing the supplies and passing them to Ollie as needed. Ollie did the trickier bits such as cutting the bottle in half.
I loved the idea of using recycled materials to create something new and I have to say we immediately decided that if this works we are going to try to grow seedlings for our allotment in this way - no worries about seedlings running out of water or becoming too damp. I also liked that apart from a tiny plastic bag, all the materials for this activity were recycled or recyclable, which is part of the company ethos for Weekend Box.
The only thing I added was an extra piece of elastic from my sewing box to double up our mask making fun. We've found in the past that it is the case that an activity designed for one use can easily be extended for either more than one use or for more than one child.
Cream, pink and yellow card were provided, as well as some white foam, crayons, a length of elastic and a glue stick, but we also found the paper envelopes that the activities came in were a good additional resource when Ollie wanted some blue feathers for his parrot.
The activities provided were both engaging and fun, and would suit a range of pre-school and primary ages with differentiated levels of adult assistance. They have been designed to be educational, and from past reviews of their products I have found that they stimulated further discussion and activities for a long period after the activities were completed.
The box came with a selection of stickers, a fun facts card with jokes and information about the Rainforest theme, plus tokens to give to friends to try out a box for free. If you would like to try a box you can use the promo code MARIANNE59 when you sign up to receive your first box free.
The new Mini Weekend Box is £4.95 including free delivery, and all boxes are delivered fortnightly with no contract and no obligation to continue - you can cancel at any time. For this reason I can see it being something that could be ordered during holiday periods when parents often need a little help thinking of new activities to share, even if they feel weekends are too squeezed during the rest of the year to find an extra hour together.
I think the mini box was very suited to our uses because we already spend a lot of time making and doing, but being provided with a ready made kit which is often themed to match key celebrations such as Mothers Day is a good way to take the brain work out of planning activities on the weekend when we're in need of a rest. I think it would also be very useful for families who lack space for make and do box clutter (we're currently over running a double cupboard and a set of draws with paint, paper, boxes, bits of string...) - pretty much everything you need is provided in the box. This would also make it useful for children visiting extended family such as Grandparents and parents with shared access who are looking for a new tradition to start of doing projects on 'their' weekend together.
Note: I received a free Mini Weekend Box to try out with the kids in return for an honest review, and have reviewed two other boxes in the past, all of which have arrived on the expected day, all have fitted through the letterbox, and all been in good condition and with good contents. The opinions and images are all my own. If you have tried Weekend Boxes in the past, or have any questions or comments do let me know below, or on The Maz Shack's Facebook Page.