I live in a family full of amateur astronomers – I’ve been fascinated with astronomy and astrophysics since I was a kid, and my three older sons all have some level of interest in outer space (I pretty much assume the baby will too, as soon as he figures out that it’s out there). And as a kid, my husband wanted to be an astronaut when he grew up. He even attended the Space Academy. But at some point, he realized his dream was not to be – I’m not sure exactly when his dream was crushed, but I believe it was in his early teens as he hit and then passed the maximum astronaut height restriction of 6’4. (He didn’t stop growing until he hit 6’8).
My 9-year-old son, Braeden, doesn’t necessarily want to be an astronaut, but he has a huge interest in space. One of his favorite videos is the “I’m a Spaceman” song from the Giggle Bellies, and he can rattle off the planets – in order – like nobody’s business (despite that fact that he’s primarily nonverbal – he won’t have a conversation with you, but he’ll totally recite all the planets in a single long word). So when I heard about the Space Scouts Subscription Box, I knew he’d love it. (Space Scouts are from the same company that offers the Animal Trackers subscription service that I recently reviewed and which Braeden was also a big fan of).
Space Scouts is a monthly subscription club for kids ages 6 and up. Roxy and Jett are the guides as each month kids explore new places in space and learn about space exploration, space science, and astronomy. Each monthly package contains toys, games, magnets, stickers, and lots of educational fun! (The sheet in the background is not included; we just happened to already have that – go figure – and I thought it made a fitting backdrop for the pictures).
The introduction to the program includes a metal Space Scouts Lunch Box where the monthly magnets can be stored, a solar system poster to map and mark with the monthly exploration sticker, the Space Scouts constellation card startup kit to hold the monthly constellation card collection, and several fun activities and worksheets. Braeden immediately latched onto the sticker scramble, where you take the numbered stickers and put them in order on a card to create a picture. As soon as he was done, he rattled off the planets and pointed to each one as he said it.
He also enjoyed the Wikki Stix activity – Wikki Stix are like wax coated twisty ties – they’re bendable and stick to paper for a fun new way to do a connect-the-dots activity. They can also be used to make 3-D creations! I can already tell we’re going to be investing in more Wikki Stix in the near future.
I was especially impressed with how quickly Braeden worked out the coded message, as I’m pretty sure he’s never decoded a message written in symbols before – he had it completely decoded in under two minutes).
He also did great with the word scrambles, and moved right on to the next activity without any prompting or assistance from me. That activity has instructions to put certain letters in specific numbered spaces to discover the meaning of the word CONSTELLATION. What’s interesting is that rather than following the instructions step-by-step as most kids would do, Braeden started with the empty space numbered 1 and scanned the instructions to fill in each blank in order from 1 to 13. (And he did it quickly too – even though I KNOW how smart he is, he still surprises me sometimes with how quickly he catches on to new things).
We also received the first monthly pack – each monthly packet includes a Space Scouts exploration plan describing the place to be scouted; a Space Scouts magnet to add to the Space Scouts lunchbox; a Space Scouts sticker to add to the Space Scouts solar system poster; a Space Scouts activity sheet loaded with puzzles, games, and activities; another sticker scramble (Braeden was THRILLED); a Space Scouts souvenir toy to use in learning activities; a Space Scouts constellation card to add to the card collection (this month was Ursa Major); and a Space Scouts constellation activity sheet that includes the mythological stories and other learning activities to help your child identify the constellation in the night sky.
I love that the constellation activity sheet includes the mythology about the constellation. I’m actually going to save the monthly constellation sheets and keep them in a 3-ring binder for future reference, as the stories are fascinating. It’s also fun for kids to hold the constellation card up to a light to see the “stars” in the constellation light up!
Braeden, being less interested in mythology than I am, again gravitated straight towards the sticker scramble. I did decide to withhold the Bionic Claw toy from him, as toys like that tend to get pulled apart, inspected, and then thrown away. But for kids who have a slightly lower need to figure out how things work, the idea is that astronauts often use robotic arms to help them work, and it’s suggested that kids try to use the bionic claw to do different things. The kit also came with two astronaut figures, and kids can try to pick them up – one at a time and then both at the same time – using the claw, and try things like turning off a light, turning on a water faucet, and making their beds. I discovered that I can very successfully pick up a chocolate chip cookie using the claw and carefully set it down within easy snacking reach.
My final opinion? This is a really fun subscription service, and Braeden really enjoyed it (although he burned through the worksheets and activities – both the introductory ones and the first month’s worth – in about twenty minutes). To me his level of interest alone is enough to make it worth a subscription.
And the prices are quite reasonable – $11.95 per month (plus $3 shipping), with discounts for multi-month purchases. So if you have a kiddo who’s fascinated with space, head on over to the Space Scouts website to order your subscription! You can also connect with Space Scouts on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.
And if you have a younger child, the Animal Trackers Club from the same company is designed for kids ages 3-6 (although, as I mentioned, my 9-year-old with autism also really enjoyed it – you can read my review here). And if you’re considering an Animal Trackers subscription, I have a special offer for you: Animal Trackers is offering the first box for FREE when you purchase a 6 or 12 month subscription ($14.95 in savings)! Just enter HOLIDAY at checkout for the discount!
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.