Creative learning for kids with My Gecko Box
I discovered My Gecko Box when I went to Spain for some extreme me-time a couple of months ago. It’s a great little company run by four British mums living in Spain. They saw a need and started filling it both there and in the UK.
I don’t know about you, but I have Pinterest boards filled to the brim with activities to do with my daughter, but I could count on one hand the number of them I’ve actually got round to trying. I play with her of course, but preparing and setting up these activities never seems to be top of the priority list. There’s always cleaning, or cooking, or work, or appointments to contend with… As a busy mum the list goes on.
So what drew me to My Gecko Box was that you get craft based learning activities delivered straight to your door. Not only that, but everything you need is included. And I mean everything. You don’t even need to go in search of a pen! So it’s perfect if you’re as disorganised as me, or if you’re going out of the house somewhere and want to take something to keep the littles busy. They’d even make fab gifts!
Take a look inside our My Gecko Box
We got a Discovery Box which is the largest size and comes with a whopping four activities. Each activity is in it’s own bag complete with absolutely everything you need, including instructions!
I love that each activity has a messiness rating and and indicates how much grown up help is likely to be required. Of course, with Dee being only 3, she needed help with all the activities. Slightly older children would have been fine to crack on solo, but to be honest, I enjoyed doing the activities with her. It was a good excuse for some quality time together… if I needed an excuse!
Each box has a theme, and our box’s theme was Mini Beasts. The activities are geared around the theme but there’s also some fun information included to enhance learning. I have to admit Dee was more interested in the wobbly eyes and pipe cleaners in the activity packs than what the info sheet had to say. When she’s older though, if she’s anything like I was, she’ll be reading everything cover to cover I’m sure!
Having fun with My Gecko Box activities
So you can get an idea of the kind of activities that are included in your My Gecko Box, I’ll give an overview of a couple of the activities included in ours…
Caterpillar to Butterfly
The first activity we tried was caterpillar to butterfly. This was a very sweet activity and an easy one to get us started. Dee was excited to open the activity bag and discover what was inside, and was especially pleased with the googly eyes!
Also inside the pack were two wooden pegs, some small multicoloured pom poms, a circle of blotting paper, a piece of pipe cleaner, a cardboard tube and some off white cord. The box also came with its own tub of mini felt tip pens which was a nice touch.
One of the pegs had pre-stuck double sided sticky tape on which just needed peeling to stick the pom poms. (No glue required, woop woop!) The googly eyes had their own sticky backing, and the rest was put together using the gripping capabilities of the peg.
We coloured in our pegs and stuck the pom poms and some eyes to the green peg for our caterpillar. Next we used our pens on the blotting paper to make a colourful pattern for the butterfly’s wings. We stuck on the butterfly’s eyes, folded the wing paper into a concertina and gripped it inthe middle with the peg along with a piece of pipe cleaner for the antennae. Finally, we wound the cord around the cardboard tube until it was secure, folding the last thread underneath to make our ‘chrysalis’.
Then we were ready to let our caterpillar transform! Hiding the butterfly inside the chrysalis, the caterpillar then crept along, into the tube, and out emerged a butterfly. Just like magic!
Busy Bee Game
We loved this activity. It involved making a bee from a polystyrene ‘egg’, some pipe cleaners, some pre-cut wings and colouring it in with the felt tip pens. We also had some string and a stick to hang the bee from, and a piece of velcro to stick to it’s belly.
We made our ‘honeycomb’ from pre-cut and scored strips of orange card which folded into hexagons and stuck together with sticky pads.
Next, Dee coloured in a picture of a flower, and we scattered some little plastic bits of ‘pollen’ on the flower.
The aim of the game was to use your bee to pick up the pollen from the flower and deposit it in the honeycomb.
The velcro was supposed to attach to the pollen pieces although this needed a bit more force than just touching your dangling bee to them. Dee still had so much fun with it, and I think she enjoyed sticking the pollen to the bee herself. She was so excited to show her bee to Dave and we left it out so she could keep playing with it for the next few days.
I love that this was an actual game with a purpose rather than just making something for the sake of it. Although making things for fun is great too, this seemed to keep Dee engaged for much longer because it was so interactive.
Opportunity to learn
The butterfly activity was a great opportunity to talk to her about metamorphosis and how some animal’s babies look different to how they will look when they grow up. It’s so much more tangible to understand the concept when seeing it in this way. I often talk to her about these things when we see a caterpillar or butterfly in the garden, but seeing it happen, even in peg and cardboard form, can really start to make those concepts come to life.
We also watched as the blotting paper absorbed the ink from the pens, examined the springs in the pegs, and practised our dexterity by peeling the back off the sticky tape and handling the small pompoms and googly eyes.
The bee game offered an opportunity to talk about how bees collect nectar and take it back to their hives to make honey. Again, this is something we’ve talked about to her before but I love that she was able to visualise that happening, and help her bee collect it’s own pollen.
The other two activities are fab too. We are saving them for an indoors day but already looking forward to it. One of them involves decorating a little flower pot and planting some tomato seeds. With the other, we get to make a bug hotel using the box itself which is a really lovely use of materials. For these two we do need to provide soil and scissors respectively, but everything else is included, including the seeds. The box even has guides drawn on it for where to cut to make the bug hotel, and pre-placed double sided sticky tape to stick on the mesh.
A heads up…
They say never work with animals or children… Although Dee started off full of enthusiasm, we had to take a two hour break in the middle of these activities. She was over tired and had a bit of a melt down! (You might notice the lighting change part way through the video when it’s uploaded!) But with a good long nap under her belt, she was in a much better place to carry on. So just a heads up when playing with your My Gecko Box with particularly little people… Perhaps make sure they’re well rested. (I know that’s obvious – rookie mistake!)
My Gecko Box isn’t just for rainy days
We’re using our My Gecko Box to keep us busy on rainy days, but they would be great for so many different occasions.
The new, medium sized Explorer Box would be fab to take on holiday or for a weekend away. Great for those moments when you just need a bit of chill time.They’d also make fab gifts, coming in at around £10. Great for classmates – affordable, fun and no danger of getting the same as someone else!
There’s also a smaller version called the Little Explorer Box which would fit neatly in a backpack for day trips to grandma’s house.
Win an Explorer Box with My Gecko Box
My Gecko Box have very kindly given me an Explorer Box to give away to one of you lovely lot!
It’s the Mini Beast theme and has two great activities included for your littles to enjoy.
If you’d like a chance to win a My Gecko Box, enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. The giveaway will run from 16th May – 12th June 2018 – full T&Cs below.
Terms and Conditions
My Gecko Box “Explorer Box” Giveaway. No Purchase Necessary. Giveaway starts Wed 16th May 2018 at 00:01 GMT and ends Tuesday 12th June 2018 at 23:59 GMT. UK entrants only. Entrants must be 18 years old or over. There will be one winner. The winner will be selected at random using the random winner generator within Rafflecopter. The prize is one Explorer Box from My Gecko Box. The winner will be contacted by email and their name will be displayed on the giveaway page using the Rafflecopter widget. Where possible, I will also tweet the winner and/or announce on Facebook. The winner will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. No cash alternative. The prize will be fulfilled by Letters to my Daughter and will be posted within one week of the winner’s response to notification email. I will not share or sell your information and will use any information only for the purpose of contacting the winner. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ are in no way associated with this giveaway. Please note that in order to qualify for the Twitter entries, a valid account that clearly identifies the holder as being a Twitter user is needed, and any entrants found to be using multiple accounts to enter will be ineligible.