Letterbox Lab is a science subscription box available in the UK and Ireland. You might have heard of subscription boxes – they might bring to mind an image of themed stuff in a box that is a nice monthly treat. You might not have heard of subscription boxes and just hear the word subscription as “locked in”. Either way, Letterbox Lab is unlike any subscription you’ve seen before.
It’s a series of science kits
There are two versions of Letterbox Lab – the Explore Box and the Investigate Box. Each is a series of 12 incredible science kits that go through your letterbox with everything you need to play with science. There are 78 different activities in the Investigate Series and 49 in the Explore Series, and a whopping 270 different components in total across the two series. Our friendly lab assistants Meg and Pico are there throughout to guide our Explorers and Investigators through the series to become graduates. The kits work well as one-offs (although we do advise working through them in order) but we offer the option to subscribe to get the whole series over the course of a year, with no commitment and the ability to pause or cancel at any time.
Beyond the box
It’s not just a box of awesome science fun you’re getting. You also get exclusive access to the members’ section of our website. This has videos of every experiment in the science subscription box, so you can see exactly how to do every experiment. It also has instructions for extra activities and (with the Investigate Box) a science-themed, and sometimes delicious, recipe to try at home. You also get a grown ups’ cheat sheet sent to you giving you a heads up about what to expect. Most of all you get the support of the Letterbox Lab team. If your child has a question about an experiment you can’t answer, get in touch with us. If you get an unexpected result, get in touch. If your child needs help with their science homework, get in touch. You’re not just buying a product from us, you’re joining our club.
Why a series?
Both the Investigate Box and the Explore Box are series. So, if you sign up you start on Box 1 and work your way up the series to Box 12. This is a great way to do a science subscription box, it means that you can collect equipment over time to use in later boxes. Equipment such as safety goggles, a measuring cylinder and a test tube rack come in early boxes for you to use throughout the series.
Most subscription boxes send all their subscribers the same items every month, but sending you every piece of equipment you need for the experiments every month would really limit what we can offer, and also be quite wasteful. Of course, if you ever break or lose a piece of your Letterbox Lab equipment you can just get in touch with us and we’ll get you a replacement.
It’s not just practicality that motivates us, though. Our kits work like a series of novels, each one builds knowledge based on what has come before and weaves one long story about the wonders of science from Box 1 to Box 12. Meg and Pico know what your child learned in each box, so they can refer back to it in later boxes.
Why only twelve?
We are all about quality over quantity. We don’t want to just send people a box of random stuff each month. Our science subscription boxes are carefully designed and curated to work as series of high-quality science kits, all of which were planned in advance to fit a neat story arc.
In order to be included in a box, each experiment, demonstration and thingamajig had to go through a rigorous series of tests. Is it safe? Is it fun? Is it reliable? Does it spark curiosity, excitement and wonder? For every idea that became an activity, at least 5 ended up on the cutting room floor. We could extend the series to more than 12 but we don’t want to lower our high standards and 12 boxes that come once a month just seemed very neat.
As it happens we still have a lot of ideas that didn’t make it into the series. They weren’t quite the right fit for the themes of the boxes, or they literally weren’t quite the right fit for the boxes, which are no more than 35mm high. Our goal was always to produce a science subscription box series that would fit through letterboxes, because nobody wants a monthly trip to the sorting office. So we’ll be putting these ideas to good use in the future. Watch this space.