On Friday we arrived home from a busy morning catching up with our old Makaton group at a play gym session to find a Weekend Box had been delivered for Toby. Cue great excitement as he raced to open it (I had to intercept it briefly to get a quick photo of it first). We’ve been fortunate enough to have been sent Weekend boxes in the past for review and have always found them to be great fun, but this one was particularly well suited to our little geologist/palaeontologist Toby as it was dinosaur themed.
I had planned an hour of cleaning and tidying in preparation for friends coming over to help us pack for our house move, but who could resist a tiggering Toby bouncing up and down and insisting on doing all the activities right this minute? I am the queen of speed vacuum cleaning, so I decided to take an hour out to spend some quality time with our littlest.
First he took out all four activity packets, opened them carefully and inspected the contents. I managed to convince him not to eat the rice crispies, chocolate buttons and mini eggs straight from the packet as he would be needing them shortly. Then he looked through the information and instructions book supplied in order to decide which activity he wanted to start with. This booklet replaces the loose instruction cards that previously came with the box, and we liked the new format as it had extra information and activities in addition to the instructions.
Toby decided that the peg dinosaur activity looked fun and, with a little help reading the instructions, was able to accurately follow the photos showing him what to do to make a fun toy.
Next he made then a dinosaur hatchling with a hinged shell. He made a couple of changes, adding an extra split pin from our making cupboard so that the hatchling could move as well as the egg shell, so it’s great to see that the activities can be adapted and extended with each child’s own ideas.
I love the little face he copied onto his dinosaur and he was very proud of himself that he didn’t need any help with drawing his shapes or cutting them out because the images in the instructions were so clear to follow.
The third activity Toby chose was making dinosaur claws. This was a big hit, so we used the templates provided to make more claws with Ollie as well. The paper packets that the activities are packaged in make a handy resource as they can be cut up to be used to repeat some of the activities or to include other children in a family if you don’t want to subscribe to more than one box. The only tricky part of this activity for me was trying to take a photo of Toby playing with his claws in a part of the house that wasn’t junked up with moving boxes! When almost everything is finally packed away in a couple of weeks, a ready-made box of activities would be particularly welcome! At 8 years old now, Ollie mostly just wants to read or write stories at the moment, but 6 year old Toby loves his making activities so it’s been a real boost to have new ideas to try out with him.
Finally Toby got stuck in with the cooking activity as he wanted to save the best for last. He loved making the two chocolate rice crispy dinosaur egg nests in the pack so much that we ended up making a whole extra batch from ingredients we had in our store cupboard. Sprinkles were heavily featured in Toby’s version of the nests. It was an ideal cooking activity because you could easily differentiate it for different ages of children. Toby is used to cooking, so he was able to stand on his step at the cooker and stir the chocolate as it melted in a bowl over a pan of boiling water (under close supervision), but with younger children you could melt the chocolate for them and then let them stir in the rice crispies away from the cooker.
Each activity came with most of the materials we needed to complete it, with the exception of things like scissors which hopefully everyone already has at home. The activities and the packaging have a high percentage of recycled and recyclable materials, so you won’t be left with a stack of plastic rubbish. I was impressed by how confidently Toby took on each activity, needing very little assistance to complete them. Peeling the back off the sticker to make tiny teeth for the peg dinosaur and tying the ribbon for the claws were about all he needed help with, although the aim of the Weekend Box is to provide fun activities to do together with your child, so you won’t want to leave them to it while you go and do other jobs.
The glue stick wasn’t great and we substituted it for our own PVA glue, and we used our own cup cake cases as Toby preferred the bright patterns on ours to the white cases supplied, but apart from that we didn’t need to hunt around for extra resources to complete anything. The instructions were clear and the activities well thought out. Toby really enjoyed putting the stickers supplied in the instructions booklet for each activity completed. He whizzed through and got everything done in an hour, but we could have easily spread the activities out over the course of the weekend. The Weekend Box is always a joy to receive, and a guarantee of some great (screen free) family time.
With the rest of our weekends being taken up with running club, tennis lessons, digging the allotment, skateboarding, forest school and a swath of other outdoor activities (with the emphasis on the ‘active’ part of that word), I particularly appreciated the chance to sit down together and do something peaceful!
Notes: We were sent the Weekend box for free in order to produce a fair and honest review. Opinions, images and small cheeky boys are all my own. We received a bumper box with four activities (usual cost £8.95 per box) but if you’re short on time there is also a mini box available which has two activities in it (at £5.95 per box). From information on the website, you aren’t tied into a contract for a set time or number of boxes so you can cancel at any time, and delivery is always free.