Thursday, 15 September 2016

MEL Science Subscription Kit Review, Now with MEL Codes

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Science is a really fun topic to explore with your kids at home. It can also be daunting when you are not a scientist yourself. The internet is a great resource to find fun and accessible science activities.

However, as we have found, sometimes it can be difficult and time consuming to source everything you need to carry out an experiment. Recently we have noticed a number of science subscription services available for families. One such product is MEL Science Kit, which, once signed up, sends you two chemistry sets in the post every month to try at home.
Disclaimer: MEL Science sent us a Starter Kit and two subscription packs to try out for this review. As always our opinions are our own.

When my teen was younger we liked spending an afternoon doing a science experiment. It often took quite a bit of preparation to get all our resources and find out how to do the experiment. When I first saw MEL Science at the London Toy Fair, I thought a subscription chemistry set is a really good idea. Everything you need, sent to your door, and all you need to do is have fun doing the activity with your kids.

MEL Science Chemistry set is targeted at older children. We were really impressed with the quality of the equipment and materials. It made my teen feel like a real scientist in a lab. We will be looking at science kits for younger kids in the coming weeks, so subscribe to the mailing list to be informed.

MEL Science Subscription Kits are available from their website at £38.90 per month.

What's in the box?

MEL Science is a education subscription service. This means you sign up and they send out kits on a monthly basis. The first month, you will receive your "Starter Kit" and two experiment kits (Tin and Monsters).

The Starter Kit contains the main equipment you will need to carry out the experiments. In each chemistry set you may receive more equipment specific to that experiment.

We were really impressed with the quality of the equipment, packaged safely in a sturdy box for safe keeping. The glassware is laboratory standard, the safety goggles look and feel like the ones a real scientist would wear. There's also syringes, plastic cups, a funnel, plastic tray, solid fuel stove, and smartphone stand. We loved the smartphone macro lens and VR goggles included.

You can learn more about each of the equipment on the MEL Science website.

Chemistry Set

The experiment sets are packaged in a smaller box, hopefully so they will fit through the letterbox and you don't have to wait in for a delivery every month!

Each set contains the chemicals and additional equipment to complete the experiment. There's also beautifully designed experiment cards with basic instructions and information about the experiment.

MEL Science have a comprehensive online guide for each experiment including instructions, videos and scientific descriptions. We highly recommend setting up a mobile device or tablet (using the smartphone stand) when you conduct your experiments for a full learning experience. Here's an example of the online guide for the Tin Experiment we tried at home.

VR (Virtual Reality) and Photography

We really liked the inclusion of a Google Cardboard type VR goggle in the kit. It was amazing to see the molecular structure of the substance we used in the experiments. The VR goggles come flat packed, and are very easy to make. We had to use some super sticky glue dots for the final joint. Once you've got your VR goggles, they will work with all other Google Cardboard content. Try this 360 VR film about the natural parks in America.

The macro lens in the starter kit is fantastic. It clips onto nearly any smartphone or tablet and turns your device into a microscope.

We tried it on my Sony smartphone and daddy's iPhone and both worked fab. The macro lens suddenly opened up a whole new macro world and the kids went around the house and garden taking photographs of many things, like grass, the wooden floor and our Ruby dog's soft black fur.

Mobile App and MEL Codes

MEL Science comes with a free mobile app. When we tried the kit over the summer we thought it could do with some improvements and better usability. However, MEL Science have announced today, they are updating their mobile app to improve the experience.

The mobiles app allows you to see the molecular structures of the substances in 3D using the VR goggles.

What's more they will be adding new propitiatory MEL Codes to all their chemistry sets. This will enable you to hold a substance bottle near your smartphone and it will display the molecular structure of what's inside the bottle. The MEL Codes aren't QR codes, so hopefully you will not have the frustration of trying to get a code to focus in order to scan it.

We'll be testing their improvements soon.

Age Recommendation

MEL Science recommends their kits for 12 year olds and over. The content is definitely targeted to older kids and teens. However this doesn't mean younger children can't benefit from the experience.

MEL Science is perfect for our family with an older teen and two younger siblings. We spent an afternoon where my teen conducted the experiments whilst his younger brothers watched and learned and squealed with excitement when our experiments worked!

Younger children can also benefit from looking at the molecules using the VR goggles, watching the video content and taking photos using the macro lens.

We highly recommend adult supervision, as MEL Science sets use real chemicals and open flame. If you have younger siblings you may also like to purchase them their own science goggles, as only two safety glasses are included in the Starter Kit.

Tin Hedgehog Experiment

I can honestly say, doing this tin experiment with my 3 boys was a great family experience. Everyone enjoyed it and learnt a lot. We followed the instruction as per the online guide and didn't have any issues. Below are some photos of our results.


We were very impressed with the quality of the kit. There is a good range of experiments, with 38 different ones, your child is sure to learn a lot of chemistry. We really think a science (and in this case proper chemistry) subscription service is a brilliant idea. MEL Science helps families explore science whilst saving time and effort in preparing the resources themselves.

We love the combination of tech and science, with the VR goggles and macro lens. The VR content of the molecular structure of the substance gives a real wow factor to the experience. My eight year old's exclamation when he put on the VR goggles says it all. "Wow, I feel like I'm inside the molecule!"

MEL Science Subscription Kits are available from their website at £38.90 per month.

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