I’m always trying to find ways to help Leo learn through the activities and play we participate in together to help stimulate his inquisitive mind. September born,he will be one of the oldest children when he starts school this year and I feel he needs to be kept occupied and stimulated to prevent him from becoming bored which is not always an easy task. He enjoys learning and seems to be able to absorb and retain information easily, often leaving us astonished when weeks later he comes out with a random fact or two! I am always on the lookout for fun activities that fit the bill and recently discovered First Wonder Box, a children’s subscription especially designed to help support Early Years and Key Stage 1 learning.
Aimed at children aged 4-8yrs the themed boxes designed by the folks behind First News, the Uk’s only National Newspaper for Children, are delivered fortnightly direct to your door. They are designed by experts to help children learn about the world by putting a fun and exciting twist on things. We were kindly gifted the Castles themed box to road test and review and as soon as it arrived Leo was keen as mustard to get it open and get started.
The brightly coloured, eye-catching, themed box our activities arrived in was letterbox sized, always a bonus as you don’t need to be home when it arrives. The box is very well designed, folding out to reveal a castle scene and becoming central to the activities inside instead of being discarded as a piece of packaging. I was genuinely surprised how much was packed into such a small box! Our Castle box included:
- Fold out Castle scene box
- Jester’s Mask plus Lolly stick
- Two collectable Fun Fact cards
- Grow in Water Knight on a Horse
- Activity book
- Castle/ Knight themed pencil with rubber topper
- Stickers to add the finishing touches to your Castle scene
- Castle to build
Predictably the first thing that caught Leo’s eye was the Castle! Supplied in a ‘flat pack’ format the foam Castle pieces slot together – this needed a little assistance from Mummy – and once constructed slots easily into it’s green base. When we finished building it was time to use the numerous stickers provided to personalise the castle. The leaflet showed a completed castle and being his Mother’s son Leo decided to put the stickers in the same position as the image showed! Completing the castle took quite a long time and I was really impressed with the quality and robustness. The stickers supplied finished the scene off nicely and we spent a long time playing with the removable characters and talking about the knights and dragons which were of great interest to the little man!
We decided then to make the Jester’s mask which simply needed to be cut out and the lolly stick provided attached. Simple you may say, however I hold my hands up that my cutting skills leave a lot to be desired, even in my 30’s! Lucky for me Leo didn’t seem to notice and was more than happy with my shoddy attempt!
We read the Fun Fact cards before deciding to have a look at the activity book. Leo was amazed to read that Windsor Castle has 1000 rooms and has been telling everyone who will listen ever since – even random people in the shop! The activity book is jam packed with activities along with plenty of facts and information about castles. The activities range in difficulty and being only four Leo did need some assistance when it came to completing some of them, but he learnt so much in the process. There was too much to finish in one go so we spent some time over the next few days completing it. Massive thumbs up for the fact that the pencil was pre-sharpened, it’s so frustrating when they aren’t as I can never seem to find a sharpener when I need one!
The last item in the box, and I think Leo’s favourite, was the growing Knight. We have had a number of these kind of toys before and never really had much success, usually ending with some slimy, unusable lump of goo at the end, so I didn’t have high hopes. I couldn’t have been more wrong! Over the course of a week we religiously changed the water and watched the knight grow before our very eyes. Leo and I were both in awe of how much it grew, and I’m thrilled to report that after a week there was no slime in sight!
Leo loved this box and has played with his castle scene every day since which I personally love as often boxes of this kind contain items that are only designed to last in the short-term. As a parent I feel the box is perfectly pitched offering the right mix of fun and learning – Leo certainly learned plenty of facts which he keeps reminding me of!
Boxes cost £7.99 per fortnight which I feel is great value for money, especially when you consider a kid’s magazine can cost up to £4.99 nowadays and is often discarded once everything has been plastered with stickers! Plus, if you decide to sign up your first box is half price at only £3.99! BARGAIN!
We were gifted a First Wonder Box in return for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are our own.