What is it?
There's no shortage of subscription boxes for children, ranging from arts and crafts to science and cooking. The Mud & Bloom subscription box is designed to get children interested in nature.
It's designed for children aged three to eight-years-old, arriving through your letterbox at the beginning of each month. You can subscribe month to month, costing £9.95 per box or go for a 12-month subscription which brings the price down to £8.95 a box. A six-month subscription is £9.50 per box. You can also buy three, six or 12-month gift packages.
Inside each box is everything you need for four different activities based around gardening and nature crafts. Each box is seasonal, depending on the month, but each one comes with instructions, materials, seeds and some sort of activity or quiz. All the seeds are certified organic and biodynamic and come with organic peat free compost pellets.
The activities have been created by teachers and support the national curriculum with influence from Forest School, Steiner and Montessori education.
What's it like?
The Mud and Bloom box manages to pack a lot into its small size. It may be letterbox friendly, so you won't be left having to go to your local Post Office should you miss the postman, but there's plenty inside.
We tested out the March box which came with instructions and paints for making colourful wind chimes along with how to make a twig-covered pot. There were also some lovely cornflower seeds and wild tomatoes.
The design of the packaging is simple but attractive and our tester Eden, who is almost four-years-old, definitely saw the content as 'hers' as oppose to the rather boring packets of seeds we've planted in the past. She was very keen to get going - with everything - so there is a case for quietly putting some of it aside so you can concentrate on just one thing at a time.
As a budding gardener and a lover of being outdoors, Eden thought the set was very interesting and as with most children, wanted to try out the paints. So after a quick scout around the fields and woods near our house, we came back with the required sticks to make the wind chimes.
It's a simple but enjoyable thing to make and the quality of the set shines through here. The acrylic paints are very good and it comes with a proper brush too - there's no sense that this is a set that's thrown together with cheap products. There's plenty of paint too, so much so that we've been able to use it to make another wind chime and in other crafts too.
The seeds come with clever organic peat free compost pellets. All you need to do is put them in a pot with a little water and they expand (by a surprising amount) to give you enough compost to plant your seeds. It's a very neat and clever alternative to getting compost or soil from the garden and as it's less messy you can do it at the kitchen table if it's raining.
Should I buy one?
As a way of getting children out and about - and away from the TV or tablet - the Mud and Bloom is excellent. Our tester Eden couldn't wait to get her coat and wellies on go looking for raw materials. Plus she loved planting the seeds and watering them. Since then we've watched their progress every day and she very much sees them as hers to care for.
We think it makes an excellent gift as a subscription for a few months. While it may not be as exciting to open on a birthday as a big shiny present, we think the parents will thank you for something that's a bit different. And unlike most kids toys, not made of plastic. If you've got a budding gardener in your life, or want to encourage your kids to get outdoors, this is perfect.