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Read what Mumsnet users and their children thought of Banjo Robinson’s personalised pen pal experience

(184 Posts)
LucyBMumsnet (MNHQ) Wed 22-Apr-20 10:19:18

This is the feedback thread for the Mumsnetters who tested Banjo Robinson’s personalised pen pal experience with their children aged 5 to 8. Banjo Robinson is a magical, globetrotting CAT who sends proper, paper post (and creative activities!) to children twice a month, from exciting destinations around the world!

At the same time as giving feedback on the thread below, Banjo Robinson testers also completed a survey. Results from the survey are now in and:

- 88% said they were satisfied with the service, and
- 89% would recommend to a friend or family member

Find out more or subscribe for your child here.

Testers received an initial introduction pack which includes: a personalised letter introducing Banjo and his travels, a world map, stickers to track Banjo’s progress, personalised stickers to use creatively, two sketch pages to colour, a reply page to draw and write their response, a reply envelope with postage stamp stickers and a recipe cards. Banjo then wrote each child a follow up letter detailing his next stop in his travels and including more goodies.

Here’s what Banjo Robinson has to say: “Banjo Robinson is a magical, globetrotting CAT who sends proper, paper post (and creative activities!) to children aged 5 to 8, twice a month, from exciting destinations around the world! Children can write back to Banjo and leave their replies under the sofa for overnight collection by 'Cat Mail’. Our website allows parents to add a paragraph to the end of the next letter their child receives (PS message), so that Banjo can answer their questions, reference their recent achievements, or simply send love and encouragement.

Each delivery includes a personalised letter from Banjo (now written by children’s author, Anna Kemp!), reply stationery, a colouring-in activity, personalised stickers, country facts, and a recipe from each country. Children also receive a big, beautiful map of the world poster with their first letter - they can add country stickers to this as they follow along with Banjo’s world tour!"

Testers, please answer the following questions as well as completing the short feedback survey which we have emailed to you:
1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character?
2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo?
3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature?
4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else?
5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be?

All testers who leave the required feedback will be entered into a prize draw where one MNer will win a £300 voucher of their choice (from a list).

Non-testers, if you’re reading this feedback and think that your child would like to receive letters from Banjo, you can get 50% off a 3 month subscription using the code BANJOLOVESMN at the checkout, on the Banjo Robinson website. This includes a big, beautiful map of the world to follow along with Banjo on his travels and six deliveries!

Thanks and good luck!
MNHQ

Insight Terms and Conditions apply

OP’s posts: |
JustineBMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 13-Jul-20 13:54:04

Thanks all for giving your feedback. The winner of the prize draw is @SecretScaryFriend smile

Anusia86 Sun 24-May-20 14:39:07

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character?
My 7 years old didn't believe it, especially that it comes during the night to collect letters, she said straight away that parens do it.

2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo?
She loved it, she checked the map straight away and put stickers on it.

3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature?
Yes I did, she loved it she couldn't believe he knows so many things about her. That was the most impresive thing for her.

4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else?
Everything except that idea that cat will come to your house and collect letter, I think it will be better for them to attach a stamp so they can learn how and post it back.

5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be?
how to send letter back.

Helen2385 Sun 17-May-20 23:44:29

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character?
I really liked the idea of Banjo Robinson I thought it was a really fun way to engage with kids to learn a bit more about the world.
2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo?
My 7yo was quite excited when he received his letter from Banjo. He loved reading it out to his little sister. He really enjoyed finding the countries on the map and putting the stickers on and after a little encouragement he wrote a fantastic reply.

3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature?
Yes I did write a Ps message, I thought this was a great way of making the letter more personal to my son and engage with his replies.

4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else?
It was fun, it encouraged my son to get writing which is fantastic.
5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be?
I really think there should be different age ranges and letters tailored suit these.

Blink1982 Thu 14-May-20 19:27:10

1) i loved the character, so did ds, 8.

2) he initially loved it, the envelope is eye catching and bright, but as soon as he opened it and saw how long the letter was he completely lost interest sad he did read it and loved that it mentioned our cat. But he didnt care about replying or what the 2nd letter said. I must say this is my son all over, any other kid would probably be ecstatic about this, and i thought it was an amazing idea. I did think some of the words were too long for him to understand though.

3)i did use the ps bit for the first letter and i loved it added extra personalisation to ds' life. The reminder email to add a ps for the next letter came before we had even recieved the 1st letter though so perhaps that schedule needs rejigging.

4) i loved the hidden geography lesson, and the encouragement it SHOULD give children to write back. The idea of hiding the letter under the sofa is cute too.
5) the length of the letter and some of the language needs simplifying for the younger kids.

HomegrownAlligator Thu 14-May-20 16:55:27

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character?
Good, fun and interesting character, my son thought he was funny and wanted to engage with him.

2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo?
He absolutely loved it, it was magical!

3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature?
Yes, I thought it was a great idea, but could be about half the length again to allow you to make the most of it.

4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else?
It was an easy way to get him to engage with writing. It’s been a struggle to get him to write at home for schoolwork, he did all his writing to Banjo with no complaining from him or bribery from me. He finds the whole thing magical, which is greatly needed and appreciated at the moment.

5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be?
Mainly to make the ps section a bit longer so I can answer his questions (that he wrote to Banjo) and ask some back.

Belmo Thu 14-May-20 13:09:13

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character?

She loved the idea of him.

2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo?

She was thrilled when it arrived. She did however think it strange/suspicious that the website was printed on the return envelope (although not that a cat was writing to her...)

3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature?

Yes - a lovely feature

4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else?

I love the tooth fairy magic of it - as much as possible in childhood! - and the geography education.

5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be?

I’d love it if the map was a proper map, with countries, capitals etc.

mummyofcutetwo Thu 14-May-20 10:34:14

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character?
He’s quite endearing.

2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo?
He loves getting post so was very excited. He loved all the bits and pieces.

3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature?
I’m not sure about this feature. It could really freak my son out as he wouldn’t feel happy that someone knew things about him. But it’s optional, so everyone is happy.

4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else?
I liked the educational benefits as they’re presented in such a fun way. However it was nigh on impossible to get him to write a letter back.

5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be?
My son is wary of cats as I’m allergic to them. Maybe offer a globetrotting dog as another option?

Lols3 Wed 13-May-20 22:16:10

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character?
I liked the character and that he was an animal. My child was a bit confused though and wanted to know if you could meet him in person.
2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo?
They were very sceptical about the letter at first and thought it was a bit strange that he knew his name and details about our sofa.
3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature?
Yes I did but again led to confusion as to how Banjo knew stuff about him when he’d never met him.
4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else?
He loved the map and getting the stickers / it helped him learn about new countries. I also loved the writing aspect which we’ve struggled with in the past.
5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be?
The way you have to leave the letter under the sofa -this just didn’t work for us & led to too many questions lol - it might be because my child is older.

idleweiss Tue 12-May-20 22:12:10

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character?
i thought he was very likeable and cute.
My DS describes Banjo as 'cute, cheeky clever and fun'. smile

2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo?
My DS loved it! I had not told him it was coming, so it was a complete surprise. He loved receiving a letter, writing the reply, waiting for the cats to come and collect the letters by 'cat post' from under the sofa. He really liked the map, putting on the stickers, learning about the countries (we actually did our own further research as he wanted to know more about them!) and doing some of the suggested activities included with the letter.

3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature?
Yes, I did.I thought it was a lovely way of engaging with the child personally and encouraging them to write about their likes, family and recent personal events.

4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else?
it was colourful, engaging and fun. My DS really enjoyed doing all the activities and it was nice to see him so enthusiastic about Banjo's adventures, learning about the different countries and keen to write his replies.

5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be?
Get rid of the plastic packaging. I was disappointed to find the first letter to arrive in plastic and found it unnecessary. A large paper envelope would be better.

sharonad01 Tue 12-May-20 17:29:16

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character?
We all love Banjo’s personality, he’s that kind of guy cat that you can always count on to hear a good story/adventure! He’s traveling all around the world and that’s something I wish to do one day when I’ll have the time and money. He’s approachable, adventurous and fun to be around!
2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo?
My DD absolutely loved the idea! She was very excited to receive her letter! She wasn’t sure how can a cat speak or write (that’s where I stepped in!).She loved the personalised bits and this what made her believe that Banjo does exist. Her younger brother believed straight away!
3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature?
Yes and I loved it! It was the only point we could refer to her younger brother (and maybe softer the upcoming meltdown!). It helped us get in some more personal details which made the experience more realistic to DD! I didn’t realise there was a limit of how many letters I can I fit in and unfortunately some of my message was cut!
4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else?
The fact that it is personal and that it encourages the child to write back (with the stamps and envelopes). I also liked the fact that it teaches children about the world/countries and different cultures!
5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be?
I’d make the letters a bit shorter and easier to read. Just to keep it simple and easy to understand with more explanation about the countries in a way that young children can relate to!

Arriaga Tue 12-May-20 16:46:05

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character?
My son thought he was fun but he did not seem to realise that Banjo was a cat as he kept asking 'who is Banjo?'

2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo? My son loved receiving some mail addressed to him as he hardly gets mail. He was very excited and that was so nice to see. We loved opening the letter and reading it together. His older brother also enjoyed reading the letter with him and said he would have liked it if he was younger.

3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature? This was great as you could tailor the letter to each child and add bits of info about the child. I added that Banjo had seen my son on TV when they read out his birthday card recently on CBeebies which he was surprised about!

4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else?
My son really liked the map and we have stuck it by his bed. That was probably his favourite bit. He liked writing the first reply but was more reluctant the second time but I think he would be more engaged with it all a lot more if he was 6 or 7 years old.

5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be? Whilst it is good to expand children's vocabulary, maybe the second letter could have been more simplified for younger children as he did not know a lot of the words (we looked up what a loris in the dictionary as I was not sure myself!)

Just to add a big thanks to Mumsnet and Banjo for giving us the opportunity to review this product! It came at a great time during lockdown - some nice post for my son and something different to do. I think the map is great and I'm sure it will be up on the wall for a long time. We will use the stickers as well. Thank you!

barricade Tue 12-May-20 14:12:36

Feedback has already been left, but just thought I'll share the drawing and letter our son composed.

The drawing depicts his dream holiday.

🔅🔆🏖️🌴🌊🔅🔆 Golden sands and royal blue ocean, birds soaring in the distance. 🔅🔆🏖️🌴🌊🔅🔆

It can only be a dream holiday, as he explains, "No one can go anywhere" due to the lockdown.

arktis Tue 12-May-20 07:21:42

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character? - it was really cute! lots of hard words for my (now 6 yo) to read but I liked that. She's bilingual and easily put off by long and unknown words so Banjo's letter was a fun way to at least try.

2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo? It was really nice. We have lots of neighbours' cats visiting our garden, and we were observing them all and thinking which one is Banjo's friend. Leaving the letter outside (under a stone in the garden for example) would be more believable for my child. She knows we don't let the random cats is!

3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature? I wasn't sure about the PS, especially not knowing what was going to be in the next letter from Banjo. I added too many random questions with no link to the rest of the letter, so that could be improved so the letter flows and is still personalised to each child.

4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else? It was educational benefits for me, including the really cool map and info about various countries. For me 6 yo it was pretty stickers and the stationery for replying back. She liked reading and interacting with the pack, but writing back was a struggle for her (she dislikes it in general).

5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be? - Various level of difficulty depending on the child. I imagine my child when she's 7 will fly through the letter from Banjo, understand it and enjoy it, whilst now she stumbles a bit, and I need to explain the meaning of words and sentences. The writing back pad is tiny and hard to use for little fingers.

SpottyBrolly Mon 11-May-20 21:06:16

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character?
Really cute and good fun.

2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo?
Very excited! He loved having post addressed to him and really enjoyed opening up the letter and reading the contents.

3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature? No.

4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else?
It was lovely and colourful. We really enjoyed the recipe card and making the biscuits, which were delicious.

5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be? I think it would be nice to know where Banjo is heading next.

llewejk Mon 11-May-20 16:15:50

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character? We aren't a cat family, but she loved him.
2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo? My daughter was delighted to get most, and even more so when it was personalised. Straight away she laid everything out on the floor
3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature? Yes, loved the personalisation.
4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else? Loved the educational side with the map
5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be? More activities, maybe a puzzle. Maybe modified by age group. A seperate letter or email to parent explaining what to do.

Bemystarlord Mon 11-May-20 09:37:21

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character?
I thought he was fun and magical.

2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo?
She was really excited when she opened the pack and i explained what it was and who it was from. She was confused at first and asked alot of questions wanting to know who he was, how he knew to write to her, how he posted the letter, why he was telling her things.

3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature?
I did write a p.s and i thought it was the best part of the letter as it felt most personal.

4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else?
The magic was the best part of it for us.

5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be?
For my 6 year old the letters were too long and wordy and she lost interest. I think for a younger child the letter should be simplified and made more interesting. She found the second letter quite boring but liked that he had written.

ursuslemonade Sun 10-May-20 23:15:01

What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character?
My daughter found it funny, sweet and friendly.

How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo?
She loves receiving mail so it was a hit.

Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature?
I did and I thought it was a good feature.

What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else?
All the above, plus my dd is really into geography, maps and flags. The recipe card was a great addition. Plus who doesn't like stickers and colouring? smile

If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be?
I wouldn't really as I think it's great but I think my 8 year old is a bit old for the character itself.

Trinidading3 Sun 10-May-20 22:18:51

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character?
Really good idea, cute and friendly-looking.
2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo?
He was really excited and could not wait to get stuck in and see what it's all about.
3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature?
A great feature to have lots of fun with it.
4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else?
How detailed it was and how you could use it as world reference in relation to the Map of World.
5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be?
To add more exotic locations on the map, not just the normal run of the mill countries that everybody knows about e.g Trinidad, Mauritius,
Morroco, Switzerland, Guyana, Brazil, etc. This would expand the children's knowledge even further as they like to be challenged.flowers

KateOxford Sun 10-May-20 16:22:33

I had to come back to say my daughter wrote back to Banjo and was so excited to receive a letter back! I found a badge she’s made which says ‘Banjo you and me friends’! I think I’m going to have to sign up, she’s going to be upset if he doesn’t write back!

derbyshiremuminsurrey Sun 10-May-20 14:40:54

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character?
My son quite liked the character, he liked that he was adventurous
2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo?
He was excited to receive the letter
3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature?
No we didn’t
4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else?
My sons favourite part was the world map, he’s really enjoyed finding where countries are, he’s spent a lot of time with the map
5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be?
Nothing

biwinoone Fri 08-May-20 21:35:21

One more thing I would like to add is that as others have said, ps message at the end looses it's impact. May be add it as a paragraph in the beginning as a reply to kids letter ?

biwinoone Fri 08-May-20 19:28:56

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character?

My daughter likes cats so it was an exciting thing for her to get mail from a cat. However, she didn't believe it was an actual cat and she is only 5. She knew someone was pretending to be a cat. Don't think this will fly with older kids.

2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo?

She loved it. She was excited to see what was in the letter and learned a new thing, that you can take blink pictures. The stickers were a good touch.

3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature?

Yes I did but it didn't seem to add the full message for some reason. Don't know if there is a word limit to it or if we are not supposed to add paragraphs. Might be good to make it clear.

4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else?

It is an interesting concept. Especially for kids who like to write letters. My child loved getting mail and finding out what was in it. Learning about another country was a plus and it was fun to add stickers to the chart. All the materials are of good quality and it's not cheap flimsy paper.

5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be?

The price is too much. I don't think I will be able to afford to pay for a monthly subscription considering the cost. Also would be good to be able to add a long PS message. More information about the country they are talking about would be good too. We would have liked to know more about the weather there, the foods and best places to visit. Without it, it just seems like an ordinary letter.

rebeccall Fri 08-May-20 09:12:08

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character?
Great fun. My daughter loves cats, so was immediately interested.

2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo?
She was excited to receive it but saw the postman deliver, so we didn't go with the under the sofa delivery/collection. She also asked why have stamps if not being posted...

3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature?
Yes. This is what made it super special. She enjoyed the content of Banjo's letter but began to drift off towards the end, so the personalised element brought her back. It also gave her a starting point for her replies.

4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else?
Both. Provided a great starting point to learn about a country, and she completed every element including recipe

5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be?
Include some more activities - more colouring puzzles, or competitions so it takes up more of her time

Pics Thu 07-May-20 21:11:17

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character? I liked him, but his back story was a bit long and my daughter had lost interest in him by the time it reached the bit about him travelling.
2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo? She was quite excited, but a bit nonchalant - i dont think she quite 'got' why he was writing to her so did not really get that it is personalised. She really liked the map and stickers - she found these much more interesting.
3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature? Yes - she liked this, but it was at the end so it did not have the impact it could have.
4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else? The map is great and we googled the places and looked at the pictures. Something that ties the experiences he has in with her experience might be good - for example comparing the food directly with one she has at home, or that she could look for in a shop.
5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be? Make him a bit more relevant - despite the personalisation he feels very distant and there seems to be no good reason for him to be writing to my child - maybe ask her to do something, or ask something about what she likes doing.
It's a shame to have the colouring picture on the back of the letter as she can;t keep it - it would be nice for her to stick it next to her map on the wall.

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