Frequently Asked Questions
What is Letterbox Lab?
Letterbox Lab is like a science magazine, science kit and science club all rolled into one. It is the World’s only series of science kits. You can subscribe to them so they arrive automatically thourhg your letterbox every month or buy them individually. Each box contains a whole bunch of activities, experiments and creative projects that engage your child with science for hours on end. We send you everything you need to play with science – no extra materials needed, except water.
How does Letterbox Lab work?
- Choose between the Explore box or the Investigate box.
- Choose if you want to pay monthly, pay every 3 months, make a one off payment for as many months as you like or just purchase the boxes one at a time.
- Every month you get a box off awesome science experiments through your letterbox.
If I order now, when will I get my first box?
All orders are shipped within three working days by Royal Mail 48. When you start a subscription your first box will be added to our next shipment, so you’ll get it within a week. We have the option to upgrade to first class post at the checkout (50p) if you’re in a hurry. If you want to know when our next shipping day is just ask.
Some customers like the first box in the subscription to be delayed so that it arrives close to a special day. If you would like us to aim for a certain date please just let us know in the notes section of the checkout – we will do our best to make it happen!
How many boxes are there?
There are twelve boxes in each of the Explore and Investigate Box series.
Do I have to subscribe to all of them?
Your subscription can be cancelled at any time, although if your latest box has already shipped we will ask you to send it back to us if you want to be refunded for that one. See our terms and conditions for more details.
I got the first box as a one-off, will I get it again if I start a subscription?
Please let us know at the checkout if you’ve already had the first box (or the first 3/6/whatever). There’s a little box at the checkout that you can put notes into just say in there that you want to start at whichever box. You can do this for any subscription: monthly, three monthly or pre-pay. Please note that if we are low on stock of that particular box it might take a little longer than usual to dispatch it – feel free to get in touch with us and ask.
Can I start a subscription on the second (or third...) box?
We don’t recommend skipping a box. Our kits are designed to work as series so it is best to start at Box 1. If you’ve already had some boxes as a pre-pay subscription or one-off purchases then let us know at the checkout which box you want to start the new subscription at.
Where do you ship to?
We ship to the UK and Ireland. We ship by Royal Mail 48 to UK addresses and Royal Mail International Standard to addresses in Ireland which can take up to 15 working days.
Are these science kits accredited?
Yes, both the Explore Box series and the Investigate Box series are accredited by the British Science Association. Your child will get be awarded the BSA’s CREST Award on completion of either series.
Can you ship the first box to me and the rest to a different address?
Absolutely! Just tick the box at the checkout to let us know that you would like the first box delivered to the billing address (or email us an alternative address, it’s up to you!).
Can I skip a month?
You can suspend your subscription at any point. This means that you will prevent any more payments (and subsequently any more boxes) until you re-activate your subscription. When you re-activate we’ll send you the next box in your subscription as usual.
So I get the same boxes regardless of when I sign up?
That’s right. There are 12 boxes that will always arrive in the same order. There are lots of reasons why we offer the subscription this way, the key one being that it allows us to gradually introduce and explore a range of scientific concepts, building your child’s skills and knowledge incrementally. It also means that we can send you lots of different equipment that you can use to turn your home into a laboratory.
You probably don’t want to end up with loads of petri dishes because we send you one every time you need to use one. Instead we send you enough petri dishes to do all the experiments in the subscription, and then send you other stuff like test tubes and gadgets!
Do you really send everything we need?
Yes! Say goodbye to the days of buying a science kit for your child only to open it and find a shopping list inside! You’ll never have to buy anything extra to do the activities in the box, and you won’t use up any of your own supplies. We supply “everything but the kitchen sink” – so the most you’ll ever have to grab is a bowl or a cup of water.
Are the boxes safe?
Yes they are. In developing the Investigate box we’ve closely followed the regulations set out in EU 71-4 (Safety of Toys: Experimental sets for chemistry and related activities) so that even when we include reagents that you wouldn’t find on the shelves of your local supermarket, they are weighed out and packaged in such a way that they cannot harm your child. We supply safety goggles and gloves to handle these reagents too.
The only consumables in the Explore box are foodstuffs – although we should point out they are not being prepared in a food-grade environment, so they should be used for science not for eating! All equipment that we put in the boxes is carefully vetted to ensure meets the Toy Safety Directives (EN71) and that it cannot cause harm.
I don’t have a science background, will I have trouble helping my child?
Not at all! Each box comes with a full colour booklet with illustrated instructions and a link to a set of videos that show each activity being performed. We design experiments in such a way that your child will discover concepts for themselves by performing them, and provide explanations for the scientific phenomena that they discover. On top of all this, parents have access to a “cheat sheet” to fully brief them on the phenomena in advance!
Can my children share a box?
Every box is crammed full of stuff, and a lot of the activities can easily be performed by two children together. For those that can’t (for example, the ones that require safety goggles) we supply enough materials that they can be repeated, allowing siblings can take turns.
Can my child use these kits on their own?
These kits are intended only for use under adult supervision. The degree to which a supervising adult needs to be involved will vary from child to child and is left to your discretion.
Do the boxes support the curriculum?
Yes! Regardless of whether you are in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales, both subscriptions are rooted in the skill development and knowledge range of the Key Stage 2 / Second Level curricula. We provide a list of relevant links to each curriculum in your Member’s Area before the box arrives.
What’s the difference between Explore and Investigate?
Both Explore and Investigate are 12 month (no-commitment) subscriptions that put everything you need to play with science straight through your letterbox. There are a few things that distinguish the boxes:
- The Explore box is for those who like to tinker, containing 3-4 activities that will entertain your child for 2-3 hours.
- The Investigate box is a bigger, more involved box containing between 6 and 8 activities that will engage your child for 6 or more hours. Generally you will find all of the activities from an Explore box in the corresponding Investigate box, but with additional activities that take your child’s discoveries further and require a more extensive collection of lab equipment (which, of course, is included).
- The Investigate box is an experimental set containing a range of chemical reagents, and as such is only recommended for children over 8 years. The activities in the Investigate box include scientific demonstrations, experiments and creative projects.
- We don’t generally think of the Explore Box as the younger box, the difference is mostly the number of experiments you get and the cost.
How will I find time to do all these science activities?
The boxes are very modular, so if you don’t have the luxury of a long Saturday afternoon to mess about with science you can pick it up and put it down at your leisure, much like a magazine. Each activity in the Investigate box arrives separately packaged in a very satisfying paper bag, ready to grab and go!
If you already have a tightly packed schedule, you can opt to receive your Investigate box once every two months instead of every month – that works out at just £12 and a couple of hours per month!
Do the boxes really fit through the letterbox?
We have based the dimensions of the Investigate box on the average for UK letterboxes. The dimensions are 200mm x 35mm x 400mm (yes, it’s pretty long!). The Explore box is slightly larger than a large letter, so again will fit through most letterboxes. If your letterbox is particularly small the box may not fit, but you can specify a “safe place” where the box can be left for you.
How did you fit so much stuff into such a small box?
Good question. We put a lot of time and effort into taking a mixture of classic and highly innovative science based activities and incrementally tweaking them so that they were flat-packable. Why? Because we wanted to make science an easy and convenient thing to do at home – no trips to the supermarket, chemist or sorting office, just opening a box and getting stuck in.