Friday, 22 March 2019

Mud & Bloom Subscription Box Review

Mud & Bloom are a fantastic subscription box company, that inspire children to get creative and develop their love for nature and the environment. Each month, subscribers can receive a box that is filled with fun activities and best of all, they can also fit through your letterbox, so there is no hassle of having to wait in for a delivery.

Each box contains everything that you need for some fun nature themed tasks, as well as providing very clear instruction sheets, nature news and educational games to help children learn to identify animals or objects in the world around them. When we were therefore offered the opportunity to review their February box, we jumped at the chance and Riley waited excitedly for his box to arrive in the post.

The boxes are aimed at 3-8 year olds, however my 11 year old son was also keen to take part, so my two boys aged 6 & 11 opened the box together. Inside our box was a whole host of activities, which have not only been created by qualified teachers, but they also support the National Curriculum with influence from Forest School, Steiner and Montessori education.

Our box contents included:
  • Make Ice Decorations Activity Sheet
  • Grow Your Own Aubergines Activity Sheet
  • Make Your Own Kite Activity Sheet
  • Grow Cosmos Flowers Activity Sheet
  • Flower Spotter Guide Sheet
  • February's Quiz Sheet
  • Compost Pellets
  • 2 x wooden sticks
  • Kite Material (Square Paper)
  • Twine
  • String
  • Paper Ribbons
  • Nature News Sheet
We also needed several other items for our activities which were not included, but are easily found around the home. These were an egg box for planting seeds, a cardboard toilet roll for the kite and a shallow dish for the ice decoration.

The Nature News sheet explained to us what was happening in February and highlighted what the first flowers were that we could expect to see growing at this time of year. It also advised that we might also start to notice leaf-buds on trees and this inspired my youngest son Riley to try and notice things on our walk to school. We didn't see any tree leaves starting to grow just yet, however we spotted plenty of daffodils and daisies.

There was also a Bird of the Month featured in the news section which for February was the Blue Tit. Riley enjoyed learning all about this beautiful bird and liked the blue and yellow colours of its feathers. We learnt a new fact that none of us had known, which was that the Blue Tit bird likes to drink milk, as well as eating insects, caterpillars, seeds and nuts.

Once we had read through the Nature News, we began our first activity. There was a bit of a debate between the boys as to which one we should attempt first, but in the end it was the Make Your Own Kite activity that won. 

I began reading through the instructions and made sure that we had everything that was required. The square paper, string and ribbons had already been provided, but we also needed scissors and a cardboard tube. Once we had found these additional items we began to make our way through the 6 step process of creating our very own kite.

We began by taking the paper and folding it along the pre-printed dotted lines as directed in the picture provided. We then made three holes in each of the folded triangles on the paper. These holes were for the string and ribbons. My eldest son was able to do this on his own with supervision, but younger children would definitely need assistance with this to do it safely. We then tied the string through the holes, winding the end of it around the cardboard tube. After this, we added the ribbons to the tail end through the remaining hole. 

It was really simple to create and something that we would have never thought about making ourselves before. We took the kite to a local field to get it flying and then experimented with the string to see how high we could get it to fly. It was lots of fun and great to have something that the children could play with once it had been made.

The next activity we chose to attempt was Grow Your Own Aubergine. Rather than simply telling us how to do this, the card also provided plenty of information all about aubergines. We learnt where they originally came from, how long they take to grow and how they are most often cooked and eaten. For this task we needed Organic Aubergine Seeds, Organic Compost Pellets and a plant label which were all provided. Additional items such as an egg carton or yoghurt pots were also required to plant the seeds.

Firstly we filled a bowl with warm water and placed two pellets in it. You then leave them to grow for around 10 minutes until they have completely expanded. My boys found this part interesting in itself and couldn't understand how it became larger. Once they had finished growing, we tore the netting off each one and poured them into two compartments of the egg carton. We then placed one seed in each pot. Ben labelled them up and we moved them to somewhere warm with natural light. The seedlings have not started to appear on ours justyet, but it has been less than the guide time of two weeks, so I will update this post accordingly once that time has passed.

The instructions advise that once they have become to big for their pots, then they need to be moved to larger ones that are approximately 5 inches deep. Once they have filled these pots, then they can be moved to their final positions and add support sticks if required. We cannot wait to see and eat our aubergines once they are fully grown.

We then moved on to planting our Cosmos Seeds. The seeds, compost pellets and label were all provided, but we did need either an egg carton or yoghurt pot for planting. We chose to use the opposite end of the egg carton to where we had planted the Aubergine seeds in the previous activity. These flowers grow to be a beautiful mixture of white and pink flowers, which can be up to 60cm tall. As with the aubergine seeds, we followed a similar routine with preparing the compost and then planted our seeds approximately a quarter of an inch down. We labelled them and then placed them in a warm place. We are hoping to see the seedlings appear in the next couple of weeks and the boys have been taking it in turns to water our seeds regularly.

At this point we decided to take a little break from the activities and attempt the quiz instead. All of the quiz questions were based around what we had learnt from the Nature News and the boys really enjoyed trying to remember the right answers to the questions. I am proud to say that they both scored 5 out of 5.

Our final task was to Make Your Own Ice Decorations, it wasn't frosty on the day that we received the subscription box, so we waited for a couple of days to see if the weather changed. During this time we collected some small leaves to put in our decoration, as well as finding some shallow lids and bowls to help with the creating process.

The weather didn't quite get chilly enough, so we decided to make use of the freezer instead, so we placed the leaves and stems we had collected on our lids and poured water over them. We then placed half of the loop of twine into the water, with the remainder of the loop over the side. It was then left in the freezer overnight. When Riley woke up in the morning he was very excited to see his ice decoration and we hung these on some branches outside.

Overall we really enjoyed all of the activities that came in our February Mud & Bloom Subscription Box and think that it is a great way to get children learning more about nature. A single box costs £9.95 with no long term committment and this can simply run on a month to month basis, which I think is value for money. Alternatively there are a range of plans which helps to reduce the monthly cost even more and further details on these can be found here:

For further information on Mud & Bloom you can visit their website or social media pages on the following channels:

Twitter: @mudandbloom
Instagram: @mudnbloom

*Disclaimer - We were provided with a complimentary Mud & Bloom subscription box for the purpose of writing an honest review of the product. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

1 comment:

  1. This is such a great subscription box. I love the idea of boxes that encourage a love of nature, get them gardening and create things.