MEL Kids is a monthly augmented reality (AR) powered science subscription box for kids ages 5-10.
Each box will contain a different science-themed project that will cover topics such as hydrodynamics, electricity, light & optics, human body, space, sounds, energy, and more. To help children better understand the scientific principals involved in each project, there’s also an augmented reality component of the box, which is easily accessed via the MEL Kids app. This helps to bring the project to life and explain how everything works.
Disclosure: Box was received for review purposes. Post may contain affiliate links.
Subscriptions are $24.90/month with free shipping within the US.
Let’s see what’s in our MEL Kids Crystal Screen box!
Everything was packed into a colorful box with the name of the featured project on the side.
A peek in the box!
A glossy, full-color booklet included all of the step-by-step instructions for building our crystal screen.
The first page listed all of the components needed to build the screen, along with helpful images of each one.
The red & white packet contained all of the wooden pieces for building the body of the crystal screen, as well as an axle, rubber dials, polarizers, and rivets.
The blue & white packet contained cardboard screen covers, transparent circles, crystals, string, and tape.
The second page of the booklet began the story/comic which went right along with the project.
Every box will include a different series of these adventures with Zac and Newt — courageous explorers of a faraway planet.
They even work in the actual packets shown above right into the comic.
The next series of pages featured simple, easy to follow instructions for building our crystal screen.
We started by opening our red & white packet and laying out all the pieces.
The first step was inserting the rivets into the wooden gear backing as shown above.
Next, we attached the front wall and first polarizer screen.
The wooden gear was put in place over the polarizer.
We then added the rubber dials using the wooden axle and attached the side walls & backing piece.
Next, we inserted the rivets into the back wall and attached the second polarizer.
The back frame was added, followed by the wooden gear. At this point in the booklet, the characters go on a hunt for crystals and instruct us to open the second (blue & white) packet.
Following along in the booklet, we were then to dangle the included crystals in between the screens to see how they changed colors depending on how the light hit them.
Next, we took one of the cardboard covers and secured it over the crystal screen using more of the provided rivets.
Then it was time to “decorate” the transparent circles using the included tape.
We inserted the first circle and looked inside…
As we turned the gear, the colors inside changed. So pretty!
We used more tape on the second plastic circle, which resulted in even more colors!
Once our mission was complete, we were able to attach the included sticker to the Mystery Planet map poster that comes in your first box.
The booklet showed us exactly where the sticker should be placed.
The booklet also included information on the nature of light, as well as examples of polarizers in everyday life (sunglasses, smartphone displays, etc).
The augmented reality portion of the project was accessed by scanning the above image with the free MEL Kids app.
My husband used his phone so that I could take photos with mine. The AR portion was really neat and brought the world of photons to life right on our dining room floor.
The highlight for my kids was watching all of the colorful photons running around while they learned how they work.
The MEL Kids Crystal Screen box ended up being a fun activity that our whole family enjoyed. My girls liked how the story in the booklet corresponded with the actual components inside in the box and they thought the AR portion was really cool (so did I!). Assembling the screen itself was very straightforward, thanks to the easy to follow images in the booklet. Overall, a great educational subscription box for kids at an affordable price! 🙂
What do the stars mean?
★ = Crummy ★★ = Just Okay ★★★ = Good ★★★★ = Awesome ★★★★★ = Extraordinarily Awesome