Little Hands Learning | Mission to Mars box

Space activity box, including a book, oil pastels, straws and roll of washi tape

 “A monthly subscription box, inspired by the magic of books.”

As I mentioned in my last post, I have plenty of Little Hands Learning box reviews to post. Tonight, I’m sharing our October box – but I bought two one-off boxes in the Black Friday sale (Superheroes and The Last Chip) – and I also ordered two of the Christmas boxes this year. Last year’s The Reindeer Express has returned, but I’ve ordered the other two options (Winter Treasures and Pick a Pine Tree).

Back to tonight’s post and October’s box, which had a space theme – inspired by the book Bee’s Mission to Mars, written by Jonathan Horden and illustrated by Adam Walker-Parker. It tells the story of a little girl called Bee, who has a dream and big ambitions – to become the first girl to walk on Mars. While she plans her mission, her dad explains that “your dreams can take you anywhere,” so she puts on her spacesuit (pyjamas) and climbs into her spaceship (bed), before the countdown and whoosh… It is a really lovely story, with bright, vivid illustrations. I loved that the main character was a girl, a STEM role model.

The four activities in this box were:

  • Build your own Mission to Mars diorama
  • STEM space rocket
  • Create your own aspiration space mobile
  • Become the book’s illustrator

Cardboard box with a space scene drawn on, and cut-out figures

5, 4, 3, 2, 1… Blast off!

The rocket activity was so much fun, and while it was the one that I prepared first, Alfie experimented after playing with the small world. It was great to have everything provided – including the washi tape. I cut the rocket out and Alfie helped stick it to the straw. We then threaded the thinner straw inside – and it was as simple as that! Alfie loved seeing how far the rocket would go – first playing in the kitchen and then in the living room (where there was slightly less space), while I cut out the other figures. I keep meaning to create some other rocket figures (and some spaceships too) to see if different shapes have any impact on the flight. It was good to experiment with different angles.

The Mission to Mars activity allowed us to be creative, imaginative and storytellers. First up was designing our space backdrop, using the lid of our box. I then found a paint tray to pour the red sand in (I was worried it would seep through the holes in the sides of the box) and we each took a character – also swapping over once we’d finished. Not only could we retell the story – from when Bee lands and meets the Martian family   we also got to make up our own story and adventures, and it’s something we can go back to again and again.

Boy drawing a space scene on black card, using pastels

Out of this world!

More creativity was sparked by being the illustrator, which invited us to create a space scene using the fabulous oil pastels, which were provided in the box. A chance to colour mix, experiment and make a masterpiece (of sorts), this was definitely teamwork! Alfie drew earth and I coloured it in, before drawing some stars, while Alfie drew some planets. He then grabbed the white pastel to draw some clouds (or maybe it’s some kind of forcefield, who knows). He was so proud of his picture and has loved using the pastels since.

You can be anything!

The aspirations mobile hangs proudly in our dining room, even though it’s only half-finished. In hindsight, we could have created a family mobile – although there’s still time for that! I asked Alfie questions such as “what do you want to be?” and “what would you like to be good at?” and wrote his answers word-for-word on the stars (also dating them so we can look back in the future). We only used three stars in the end, but the leaflet recommends revisiting the activity.

With the Black Friday sale now over, all eyes turn to Christmas and while the Pick a Pine Tree box has sold out, there are still some festive boxes, as well as one-off boxes available. And don’t forget the subscription service too. What better time to get a Christmas gift to remember, and one you can do with your child at the weekend or after school? All orders will benefit from a discount by using the code LUCYLOCKET at checkout (and mentioning that I sent you).

For sneak peeks of future boxes, as well as other crafty and educational ideas, follow Little Hands Learning on Instagram.

Love, Lucy xx

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Love, Lucy xx

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