I was looking for a subscription box related to learning about the world in the past month and I was so close to signing up for one (I already had it on the payment page!) when Junior Explorers offered me their subscription box for review. I like to think that this is God’s way of providing for our family, and this is the direction that he has pointed me in terms of home-teaching. Needless to say, I put the other subscription box on hold for now till the Junior Explorers subscription ends.
Junior Explorers is a fun, educational subscription box for kids 6 to 11 that allows them to explore the natural world. They will learn about wildlife and ecosystems, as well as the importance of protecting them.
Each month, Junior Explorers sends your child on a new “mission”, which is comprised of both physical materials as well as exclusive online content. The physical materials include collectibles, activities, animal facts, and more. A password to access the online portion of their mission is also printed on the envelope of the Mission Kit. This will allow them to play games, solve mysteries, and even earn rewards. There is a “box” (which is supposed to be a trunk which the little explorers can decorate with provided stickers) that is included only in the first month. Subsequently, Mission Kits come in envelopes.
It’s really early in our journey with Junior Explorers and I’m excited to show you what we’ve received thus far to let you in on what Junior Explorers is about. Just before the September holidays, we received the Welcome Kit and the first Mission Kit – perfect timing! Technically, you should receive them a month apart, but for the purposes of the review, I received both kits together so I could give you a quick run-through of what this new subscription box is all about!
The Welcome Kit consists of a box (trunk) to store subsequent materials, a water bottle (because explorers need to stay hydrated all the time!), and a welcome pack of materials.
Included in the welcome pack is a checklist, a set of stickers to decorate the trunk, a wristband, a badge, a field guide (with some basic information about the biomes, types of animals etc.), a set of tattoos, a map and a name tag.
First thing my girl wanted to do was to decorate the trunk. Of course, meanwhile she sent me on a mission to wash her new water bottle 😀
They were thrilled to have the tattoos that very night after their baths:
There’s a whole set of tattoos given so we had tattoos for a few days. The tattoos come off rather easily though – so you don’t really need to use baby oil for removal.
Our first mission is to explore the Arctic and help two polar bear cubs find their mother. Every mission kit comes with a letter for the junior explorers. In our Arctic kit, we received four postcards for sharing with friends (each postcard has brief information about the picture), two mini arctic animals, animal cards, tattoos, a wristband, a badge, an information sheet, an activity booklet (which is more like an activity sheet) and a set of stickers to decorate the trunk. On the envelope, there’s a mission code which junior explorers key in when they go online to complete their mission.
We went through the animal cards provided as well as the bite-sized info on the postcards, and went online to find out more information about the new things we learned from the cards.
We read up about lemmings, the snow fox’s colours that change with the seasons, watched a video about aurora and listened to the sounds made by the Beluga Whale (who are known as “sea canaries”). With this extra knowledge, when we went online and logged in for the mission, she showed the ability to connect with what we had watched/read earlier to the mission.
There’s also an information sheet which we read in between while waiting for the mission to load. It took quite long each time, some longer than others, but we made use of the time in between to read the information sheet and work on the activity booklet.
Upon logging in, you can choose your avatar. Because there’s a mission, I’d say everything flowed very logically and systematically. It’s really quite impressive, and we spent about an hour and a half on the mission (including the reading up and watching videos). Considering she’s 7, being able to concentrate on a topic for such a length of time says something about the product.
There are interesting games and even packing for the expedition (choosing appropriate gear) is played like a game and for every objective completed, the junior explorers are given points. There’s a Flappy bird game (snowy owl eating lemmings) to reinforce what snowy owls normally eat, a kayaking game where explorers have to navigate the kayak without crashing into the ice floes, life cycle puzzle games, helping the ringed seal reach its breathing hole in the ice (by moving blocks of ice in a puzzle). When learning about animals (animals are explored one at a time), it is interactive – for instance, you have to click on different parts of the polar bear to learn the body parts and their functions. There’s also a Certificate of Accomplishment at the end where your child gets to type in his/her name.
One of the things that makes this subscription box stand out is this: “Mission Giveback”. As your child earns points online, they’re converted to dollars and at the end of every mission, the little explorer gets to choose which nonprofit organisations (such as World Wildlife Fund and the Nature Conservancy) receive the donation. At the end of our Arctic mission, we had 100 credits to give and we decided to split it equally between the two organisations.
What I really like about the subscription box:
- The online mission is excellent in terms of the crafting of the content. Everything flows logically, information is provided systematically and the games are engaging and tap on the interests of the target age group. You can go back and play any of the games at the end of the mission without having to go through the entire process.
- The kids are exposed to the biomes of the world and explore these one at a time. In each biome, they learn not only about the animals, the habitats that categorise the biome, they also learn more about the world – the continents, the oceans, geographical knowledge.
- Subscription covers everything that you need so there’s actually no need to look for extra information if you don’t want to. Extras to keep the kid engaged include tattoos, stickers, the collectible wristband and badge are also helpful to keep the hype up so interest is sustained through the month (till the next package arrives).
What I think can be improved:
- It’d be good if the online missions could take a shorter time to load.
- Some of the games had a time limit which I find rather short for younger kids in the target age group. I had to help my girl with the controls as she isn’t so tech-savvy to operate the laptop that fast.
- The volume of the characters speaking during the online mission swings to extremes. Some characters are really loud, while some are soft. I had to constantly adjust the volume.
For extension activities, I set up a super easy sensory bin for small world play using our Arctic Toob, cotton balls and white pompoms (check out our sensory bins on the blog). I’ve grown to be a little too afraid of mess so I didn’t get the salt out (like when I did up the Penguins small world play). I actually also have iridescent snow sprinkles which would have looked gorgeous – I took it out then kept it back into the storeroom. Till I gather enough courage for the mess, I think this box will do fine. Bonus – it can be played in the comfort of home too since it’s mess-free.
I also realised that we own a really neat book which would fit in nicely with our Junior Explorers subscription box so we use that for extra reading, but honestly, the information the box provides is enough. I just like to do a little extra, as always.
For more information about Junior Explorers and pricing, please check out their website.
I will continue to share the Mission Kits in the next few months. Keep a lookout for the social media posts detailing each kit!
Here’s the link to the review after several months!
Disclosure: We were provided with subscription for purposes of the review. No other compensation was received. All opinions are mine.