My husband recently asked my 3-year-old daughter what her favorite planet was. She replied, “Earth! Because it has water and land and ice.”
We were both shocked that she even had an answer to this question, let alone an explanation that actually checked out.
It turns out, just a few, focused sessions of playing with this Montessori space box from Benedykt and Sylvester made a difference! But is this theme-based subscription box program for ages 3-6 worth the price?
What is Benedykt and Sylvester?
Benedykt and Sylvester is a mom-owned business out of Britain that creates handmade, wooden Montessori learning materials. (If you’re not in the UK, don’t worry – Brittany ships worldwide!)
You can also select the ever-popular Montessori Subscription Box service, which explores a new topic each month. Each box includes:
- Activity pack with 10-20 activities
- Tin of wooden topic words or equivalent wooden element
- Montessori learning tiles*
- 2-part Montessori learning tiles**
- Tin of Sight Words**
- Supplementary exclusive materials, like craft items and specialty educational equipment (dice, stencils, crayons, etc.)**
*with Advanced subscription
**with Premium subscription
We were lucky enough to get our hands on the Premium Space Box, but there are several themes, including:
- Land & Water
The Benedykt and Sylvester subscription boxes are on a 24-month cycle, so if you missed a theme you love, don’t worry – it’ll come back around!
You may also be able to snag a past box by shopping the Past Boxes page. If there were any boxes leftover from a prior month, you can purchase them here at a slight discount.
How much do Montessori subscription boxes cost?
For those in the United States, the Benedykt and Sylvester Montessori subscription boxes cost between $56-$115 per box.
Because the subscription boxes are coming from Britain, they are grouped together so that you receive three boxes every quarter instead of one box per month. This means you do need to purchase three boxes at a time, so your upfront costs are between $170-$345.
To bring the cost down a little bit, Brittany was kind enough to create an exclusive discount code:
- $20 USD off your first international subscription: Use code mamabear20
- 10% off your first UK subscription: mamabear10
There are three subscription tiers to choose from: Basic, Advanced, and Premium. I was able to enjoy a Premium box, and after pouring over the differences between each plan, my vote firmly goes to the Premium box. (That’s what I’ll be purchasing in the future.)
If you went with the Basic or Advanced box, I really think you’d miss the library of learning tiles, tin of sight words, and supplementary materials that really bring the whole educational theme to life.
Montessori Premium Space Box Unboxing & First Impressions
Brittany, the mom behind Benedykt & Sylvester, was kind enough to send me the Premium Space Box to try out and review. She said this particular box was very popular with her kids when they were around 3 years old, which is how old my daughter is.
If you also want to try the Premium Space Box, check the Past Boxes section of the Benedkyt & Sylvester website. If it’s not available, don’t worry – there are tons of amazing themes, and the topics are on a 24-month cycle, so it’ll come back around.
My first impression when receiving this box is the packing materials are so different in the UK than in the states! I haven’t seen packing peanuts in ages.
But everything was nicely insulated and arrived in perfect condition, despite the long travel distance.
As I started revealing all of the contents in this box, I got more and more excited. The colors of the wooden planets are so vibrant (I don’t know how she does it), the learning tiles are going to be SO fun, and the folder with all of the extra activities and instructions is very helpful.
It’s basically like saying, “I want my toddler to learn more about space this month,” and a teacher drops off a box at your house and says, “here’s everything you need!”
I couldn’t imagine having to develop any of this on my own.
Right off the bat, I knew some of the components in this box were too advanced for my 3-year-old, but that’s also part of what makes this amazing. I knew I could start introducing the concepts here – such as the names of the planets and how we live on Earth – but the information in the factfile and on the back of the learning tiles would be better to explore in the years to come.
This Montessori subscription box is going to be used in our home for years.
I like that in the folder, there’s a paper that says “START HERE,” because there are so many materials that you really don’t know what to do first.
Everything in the box is labeled and explained on this sheet along with pointers on how to use different activities.
Our Experience With the Benedykt & Sylvester Montessori Subscription Box
With over a dozen different elements to this box, I knew it’d take me a while to test everything with my daughter and compile this review. We’ve spent over 6 weeks – yes, 6 weeks – exploring this subscription box to really do it justice.
Plus, we’ll be playing with this box for many months (and years) to come!
Come on the adventure with me to see how we used different elements in the box and what we ultimately thought of them.
Montessori Space Themed Learning Tiles
The first item we explored together was the box of learning tiles. Each wooden tile has a photo and the name of a planet on one side, and a fact about it on the other side.
At first, I just let my daughter look at them. She dumped them out of their container, studied them, and commented on their colors.
Then, I introduced a space-themed book from our local library, called Outer Space Bedtime Race (here’s a link to purchase on Amazon). As the book brought up a new planet, we found the matching learning tile and reinforced the name of the planet. We got a whole stack of space-themed books to go with this subscription box, but this particular one was, by far, our favorite.
And my daughter’s favorite learning tile was the sun!
Because my daughter is so young, I found that weaving in storytelling through books was a good way to introduce the topic of space. We had a lot of fun pairing items in the box with what we read about. I highly recommend this to any other parents out there.
Space-Themed Matching Pictures
Next, we had fun matching these little space-themed pictures. My daughter enjoyed identifying the silhouette with the matching full-color picture.
This activity was perfect for her current skillset – she’s pretty obsessed with matching activities.
- Alphabet Matching Printable – Montessori Letter Order
- Free Matching Shapes Worksheet for Preschoolers
- Free Dinosaur Printable for Toddlers: Learn Dino Names, Practice Matching, & More
Planets of the Solar System Tiles
As we talked about the planets and did different activities, we weaved in the planets of the solar system tiles.
One thing we had a lot of fun doing was having the planets revolve around the sun. We read about this in one of our books, and we reenacted it using these planets.
The planet tiles were great for taking more difficult concepts and bringing them to life!
Coloring Planets and Gluing to Solar System Poster
We LOVED the activities included in this Space Box. The first arts and crafts activity we tackled was coloring in the planets. We used the solar system poster as a reference for what colors to use, but ultimately, my daughter just used colors she liked.
Then, I cut out the planets, and she had loads of fun gluing them to the blank solar system poster also included in this Space Box. She didn’t glue them in their “correct” spots, but I didn’t really expect that from her at only 3.5 years old.
When we were finished, she was so proud that she asked me to put the posters up on her wall! We use these magnetic strips from Amazon to display her recent artwork.
My only wish was that the solar system poster would have small labels underneath each planet. Yes, I know my planets in general, but I would have loved to have that reference to make sure I didn’t mix one up and teach her the wrong thing.
Match the Middle to the Planet
On another day, we did the “Match the Middle to the Planet” activity. I cut out the planet middles for her, and she used her glue stick to stick them on the matching planet.
Once again, I really wish each planet had a small label underneath to make this activity a little easier on the parents! Some of the planets required me to pull out other activities and double-check myself. I’m a little embarrassed to say this, but I’m hoping I’m not the only parent in this boat.
In any case, my daughter loved this activity and while I thought it would be easy for her, it did prove to be a little bit challenging! She easily matched the cut-out to the planet, but she didn’t always rotate it properly. I worked with her to match the square up correctly, which is something we will continue working on.
Build a Rocket
My husband joined us for building the rocket, which was a little challenging for my daughter.
I cut out all of the rocket pieces and set them next to the photo of the real rocket for reference.
She had trouble figuring out how to line up the pieces, so my husband helped her place them correctly, and I instructed her where to glue the pieces.
By the time we were done, she loved the rocket, but it felt more like we told her what to do the entire time versus her learning and exploring on her own. I will say she added the fire pieces on her own and had fun choosing where to place them, so that was a win!
I’m thinking this activity might be better suited for ages 4-6.
In addition, there’s a wonderful rocket-building project that I think would be a great supplement to this box. It’s a 3D puzzle for ages 5+, though my 3.5-year-old was able to do this with assistance! You can also get 17% off of this puzzle with code twomamabears.
Space-Themed Coloring Sheet
You can’t go wrong with a coloring sheet that ties into the learning theme. It’s also an easy activity to set your child up with as you get other things done around the house.
I gave my daughter the coloring sheet with some crayons while I tidied up the kitchen, and she proceeded to color everything pink. 🙂
Count the Planets’ Rings
Another activity included in the Space Box is “Count the Planets’ Rings,” which asks the child to circle the number that corresponds with how many rings are around the planet.
This was definitely not suitable for my 3-year-old as it was far too challenging. Because the rings are the same color as the planet (black), she did not understand the concept of them being rings. She counted the lines on each side, so even though the first planet has one ring, she insisted there were two (one on each side).
I tried to reference the Saturn learning tile to show her how the ring goes around the planet, but the concept still didn’t stick. This was even harder to explain in the images where there was more than one ring.
She also did not yet understand how to circle the correct number beneath the planet.
While I love the concept of this activity, I’d save it for ages 5-6. We ended up using this activity as another coloring page.
Space-Themed Sticker Sheet
Even my almost-two-year-old had a blast playing with the space-themed sticker sheet.
Peeling stickers off the sheet is a great way to practice the pincer grasp, and it was an activity both of my toddlers could do at the same time.
While the sticker sheet was fun, I do think there was room to make it a more imaginative activity. I would have created more variation in the stickers and provided a paper background where the kids could create their own space scene. For example, maybe the background is the surface of the moon, the inside of a space station, or just a blank sky.
My kids have done with this with farm backgrounds, for example, where they can make their own farm scene using stickers on a pretty plain backdrop. It allows them to explore their creativity, which this particular sticker activity lacked for me.
It’s My Birthday Sheet
My daughter doesn’t have a birthday for a while, so we’re saving this activity. This worksheet has the child paste a photo of themselves, write out their name, and include some information about themselves.
My 3.5-year-old isn’t old enough yet to dig into the space factfile, which features many index cards with space facts. While I’ve introduced it here and there, the more interactive activities are grabbing her attention at the moment.
The factfile is a bit more academic in nature and is probably better suited for ages 5-6. I’ll keep this stored away and we’ll bring it back out when the timing is right. It’s certainly beautifully done.
It’s also nice for the parent or caregiver to read through this so that as you play with the child, you can bring up relevant facts. It’s always nice to weave in information through play!
Is the Benedykt and Sylvester Montessori Subscription Box Worth It?
After testing the Space Box for nearly two months, I’ve gathered up my thoughts on this creative Montessori subscription box.
Do you really need the Benedykt and Sylvester Montessori subscription box? No.
So many parents get overwhelmed with how expensive Montessori toys can be, but the reality is you don’t need to spend your life savings to follow Montessori. I’ve learned that Montessori is more of a philosophy, and you can start practicing it without ANY fancy equipment or subscription boxes.
However, as with anything in life, there are shortcuts and “nice to have” things that make life a little easier.
The Benedykt and Sylvester Montessori subscription box is definitely a “nice to have” item that weaves educational topics into your day-to-day play. I think this would be incredible for homeschooling moms or moms who are keeping their kids at home prior to preschool or Kindergarten (me!).
At $115 per Premium subscription box, I do think the cost is worth what you get (those in the U.S. need to purchase three at a time, as a quick reminder).
The Premium Space Box took us two months to get through, and I’ve reserved a few things for when my daughter is a little older. Plus, several components in the box aren’t “use it once” items. We can keep pulling out the learning tiles to go over the names of the planets, as an example.
These are also items you can put into your toy rotation for years.
Will I Continue Getting Montessori Subscription Boxes?
As I said, it took us about two months to really get through all of the activities in the Space Box. Since these boxes are meant to be monthly subscriptions, I think we’d end up with more boxes than I can work through.
Plus, our family just got through the holidays and we have tons of new toys and activities to explore.
All that said, we will definitely be a repeat customer of Benekyt and Sylvester. I’m thinking in a few months, I may check to see if there are any other Premium past boxes we can purchase to explore a new topic.
If you think you’d be able to explore a new topic every month, I’d go for the regular subscription. For those in the U.S., you’d get three boxes shipped at once, and you can just work through one per month.
If you made it all the way to the conclusion, you are a trooper! I hope this review helps you decide if these Montessori subscription boxes are worth it.
If you do end up purchasing, it’s a good feeling knowing you are supporting a working mom. You don’t quite get that when you purchase from Amazon, you know? Also, be sure to save with this exclusive intro offer:
- $20 USD off your first international subscription: Use code mamabear20
- 10% off your first UK subscription: mamabear10
Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts! Leave a comment below and let me know what you think.
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