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

(183 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!

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

BristolMum96 Wed 22-Apr-20 11:05:51

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?

I thought it was fun and playful, quite interactive and something to bring the letters to life.

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

Unfortunately, my child really wasn't too interested! I think its just not believable enough. She knows the post comes through the door by the postman so putting it under the sofa as recommended didn't fly with her.

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

Yes but I wasn't keen. I'd rather it was written by Banjo to keep in the same style. It's hard to add something pretending to be Banjo when that's not how you normally write.

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

It was fun (for me), and fairly educational. My child was interested in the world map but not interested in the extra info supplied about the countries yet.

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

Not sure, sorry. I think it's really specific to a child. If they like it, they like it. If they don't, they don't.

Freshstart40 Wed 22-Apr-20 13:36:06

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

It was ok. The children aged 5 and 7 didn't show a strong reaction when I read the story. It was difficult to maintain their attention. I think if it was a slime ball or dog who popped! Something a bit cheeky.. they would have been more interested. A child who loves cats though would likely love the character.

2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo?
They liked the bits of the letter which referred to them but wern't interested in the rest. Which was a shame.

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

I did and this was the bit they loved!

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

I'm afraid it's not something my children were interested in.

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

Perhaps different variations of the letter for different age groups.

alamyellie Wed 22-Apr-20 13:47:32

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character? A bit boring, maybe could have been something a bit more exciting.

2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo? They enjoyed the personalised part, but it seemed hard to read other wise.

3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature? I wrote a PS for the first letter but i got the email too late for the second one.

4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else? The Sketch pad was too small, but my son enjoyed colouring it in

5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be? Its expensive for what it is really, maybe more exciting things, like a pencil to write back with

GeorginaEstonia Wed 22-Apr-20 13:47:50

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character?
Cute, nice description
2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo?
She was totally freaked out about the idea of a cat or person knowing all about her and being able to get into the house while she was asleep.

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

Yes I liked it but it didn’t go down well with my dd for the reason stated above.

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

I loved the map and stickers, the gamification while learning.
5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be?

I’d get rid of the pen pal element - too much like fairy doors, too much work - and just make it a subscription learning pack.

Klh88 Wed 22-Apr-20 13:52:29

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

My son really engaged with the character, he is quite into cats which helped.

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

He loved it, was really excited to get post, sat and read the letter, put the stickers on the map and straight away wrote a reply.

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

I did, i thought it was a good idea to be able to refer to what my son wrote in his letter to make it more believable. I don’t think my son remembered what he had written in his reply by the time letter 2 came though.

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

I thought it was good reading and writing practice, which is good at the moment. The reading level was just right for my son.

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

We live in Wales and my son noticed that Wales and the UK weren’t referenced on the map - it only has England and Scotland. That put me off a bit to be honest as I think it needs to be accurate.

Mumcicle Wed 22-Apr-20 13:57:11

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character?
Fun and exciting.
2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo?
She loved it, she was so excited to receive mail, couldn’t wait to open it and reply. And then kept bothering our cat with requests to deliver her letters. 😆
3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature?
I didn’t, she wrote all her letters herself. PS feature is quite educational, children don’t see a lot of those.
4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else?
Mostly fun.
5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be?
I’m not sure. It might be a good idea to simplify the letter for younger kids so they are able to read it themselves. My 5 year old did quite well but still needed help.

Cosmia Wed 22-Apr-20 13:57:59

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character?
Nice, sweet and compelling to (my) kids.
2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo?
Loved it - she never gets post so it was massively exciting!
3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature?
Really good, helps to personalise.
4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else?
All of the above and more. Both my kids enjoyed it with DS helping DD read the harder bits and both of them spending ages looking at the map (now on DDs wall).
5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be?
Nothing, works really well for us (and I have subscribed too - it's definitely a great resource and distraction in the current situation.

cupofteaplease Wed 22-Apr-20 13:58:44

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character?
He was a friendly and a bit cheeky.

2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo?
He loved receiving the letters! His eyes lit up when he saw his name on the envelope, and he was keen to post the letters back quickly.

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

I did, and this was clearly his favourite part of each letter to be honest!

4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else?
I loved the map, my ds hung it straight up in his room. He needed support with reading the letters as they were quite complicated for him, but he was very keen to write replies so that was a big benefit.

5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be?
Perhaps a simpler version of the letter for younger children, but that is probably specific to my child as he is not the strongest reader yet. Other children his age might cope well.

Overall we enjoyed it and I've used the discount code to sign up again for another 3 months whilst his interest is still there! It also ties in with work he is doing at home about geography being set from school.

SDM88 Wed 22-Apr-20 14:00:18

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

My little boy really liked the idea of a magical globetrotting cat! He loves animals and so this really made him smile.

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

Having the letters personalised was great, my son felt as though the character really knew him and genuinely wanted to write to him.

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

We didn’t use this feature

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

The illustrated map was one of my son’s favourite things about the experience as he loves travelling. He really enjoyed how personalised the letters were and was also really excited to find his letter had disappeared from under the sofa!

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

Maybe add some coloured pencils to help with the educational activities

GhostsToMonsoon Wed 22-Apr-20 14:00:26

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

My daughter liked him, although I think she had trouble recognising him as a cat at first.

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

She liked the personalised sentence at the end referring to her.

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

This was the best bit as it enabled me to add personalised information.

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

My daughter enjoyed getting the letter, putting the stamps on the letter she had written and looking at the map.

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

Vary the letter (easier letters for younger children to read alone, harder letters for slightly older children). Banjo's letters could refer to something the child said in their letter to him.

kingkuta Wed 22-Apr-20 14:01:47

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character?
Daughter loved the character, thought he was a lot of fun
2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo?
She was excited though a bit shocked he knew so much detail ie colour of sofa
3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature?
Really liked this, really engaging for the child and they were happy to read it
4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else
Fun and excitement of receiving letters. Loved the educational element of learning about new places
5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be?
Only thing was that daughter found it a bit 'creepy' that he knew details about the house.

Bez33 Wed 22-Apr-20 14:05:05

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character? Very cutesy, didn’t really draw my son in though
2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo? He liked it, to an extent - a bit long winded though, and too ‘wordy’ really
3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature? Yes, he liked this - banjo referencing things he was proud of worked well
4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else? Liked the reading and writing practice, but it just didn’t grip his attention enough
5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be? A shorter letter, and more quick activities

Sam1904 Wed 22-Apr-20 14:14:24

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character?
I thought it was a lovely little character

2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo?
My son was so excited to receive the letters and write back.

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.. my son was gobsmacked that Banjo knew things about him.

4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else?
The delight and fun my son got from writing the letter and waiting for the response. He also loves the world map and stickers.

5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be?
The subscription is a bit expensive.

Puddlelane123 Wed 22-Apr-20 14:36:29

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

My 5 year old seemed to quite like him but not to the extent that other characters have captured his imagination in the past. I can’t put my finger on what but he lacked a certain ‘something’ I felt. I think a dog would appeal more but then I am not a cat person and nor is my dc particularly. My instinct is that good old ‘Banjo’ needs a bit of character development to make his appeal broader and more lasting.

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

This proved very exciting for my dc and was wonderful seeing the delight when he saw his name on the envelope. He was thrilled to get some mail just for him, and loved the contents, especially the map. I do wonder though if it would have proved quite so exciting were we not in lockdown though. I’d like to think it would.

The initial letter from Banjo states that return letters will be collected from under the sofa, and this was an element that he (and I) struggled with. He is 5 years old and as we have no pets of our own / have no cat flap etc he really couldn’t understand how the mail could be collected from inside our house by a neighbourhood cat (as the tale goes) and he questioned me constantly on this. This suspended belief for him a bit although I did try to rescue it. I can imagine for some children it might also be a source of anxiety and feel a better alternative would be to suggest leaving it on your front doorstep before bed or something similar.

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

I did, and this was by far my dc’s favourite element. He loved that Banjo knew so much about him and it created a bit of magic. I will just have to be restrained with the PS facility and not use Banjo as a convenient mouthpiece to get him to behave nicely / tidy his room etc!!

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

Educational, encouraging a bit of old fashioned letter writing and correspondence and the letters will be a nice keepsake to show him in future years.

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

The letters were too long and verbose and I found that my son’s attention started to wander. I would make them much shorter and using simpler language or to have different versions of the letters depending on the age of the child receiving them. The second letter in particular detailing Banjo’s adventures in Sri Lanka was difficult to follow and not appropriately pitched for a 5 year old I felt.

YesIDoLoveCrisps Wed 22-Apr-20 14:38:35

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

He’s a good, colourful character. We liked him.

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

Overall it was a great experience. I am lucky as it came at the perfect time with the lockdown! It helped keep his mind occupied. He loved the personalised letter. During FaceTime with my parents his told them about it and showed them the map.

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

My son loved this. He said ‘wow how did he know that?’ about the personal detail 😊.

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

My son liked having the letters, his face was so sweet when he saw them. I liked watching him do the reply and concentrate on the colouring in.

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

I don’t think I would change anything.

FloatOn Wed 22-Apr-20 14:45:34

What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character?

It was fantastic my ds really engaged with him

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

He was so excited to get the letters and was eagerly waiting on the next one.

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

I did, its a good feature and I could probably use it in future to help with behaviour etc.

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

My ds is really not interested in writing or reading, he loves numbers but anything language related is a struggle. With this he really wanted to write back to Banjo and it was a fantastic learning tool especially with our current homeschooling.

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

Even a monthly letter is enough for my son tbh

TimeForCableTies Wed 22-Apr-20 14:54:59

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character?
great idea and seemed to engage her. he seems to be written as a little bit bonkers which i liked.

2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo?
She loved it, and it's been great for her writing (shes dyslexic). Shes spent ages on her letters. I will definitely be subscribing after this.

3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature?
Yes and found it a vital part of the service as she might not have believed it otherwise, she's 7. she enjoys that the hamster does the post.

4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else?
The map poster is great, we've been learning where different countries are. Doing lots of writing was the main draw for me as she needs the practice. She is definitely enjoying it.

5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be?
Would like a same-but-different service for siblings. Or even one they could share, and it would address both of them? Slightly regret not using this trial on the nearly 5yo as she would believe in it for longer.

mommamonkee Wed 22-Apr-20 14:58:25

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character? CUte
2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo? Initail woop i got a letter to oh right and its still sitting on the table
3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature? to be fare i don't think he got that far in the letter it was way too long for him ( 6 years ld)
4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else? GOod idea maybe need to be modified for a bit older
5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be? shorter letter and more info on what kid is supposed to do

hanliying Wed 22-Apr-20 15:01:58

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character? My daughter loves it as he is fun and knowledgeable.
2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo? Excited and very engaged
3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature? Really important to make the experience more personalized
4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else? great and safe pen pal experience
5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be? more activity in the pack

papiermaches Wed 22-Apr-20 15:06:48

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

I thought it was fun and playful, and the kids seems to think it entirely plausible that a cat might be venturing around the world! Although they know an adult has had a Hanson it somehow.

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

Excited, a little surprised - she was convinced we’d written ourselves at first. Loved all of the bits and pieces and immediately wrote back.

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

It really added to the personalisation- my daughter was surprised that Banjo knew some facts about us.

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

The excitement of getting real post was the highlight for my daughter.

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

Nothing, it was all excellent.

Cotswoldmama Wed 22-Apr-20 15:13:16

1) What did you think of the character Banjo Robinson? He was cute. I don’t think my son really thought anything about him.

2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo? He was really excited about it. He wrote a reply straight away but couldn’t be persuaded to write much. He was excited about getting a reply but hadn’t bothered replying.

3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature? We liked it and we thought it was funny to hear about our cat helping to post our letter to Banjo.

4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else? I was hoping it would encourage him to write more but it didn’t, we was interested in the map.

5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be? more activities maybe word searches, or crosswords.

Alex71 Wed 22-Apr-20 15:39:25

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character?
Both my daughter and I thought he was a very funny and engaging catracter 😂
2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo?
She absolutely loved it , especially in these exceptional circumstances. I took a video of her it was lovely to see her so exited.
3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature?
I really really enjoyed the reaction on our daughters face , as if banjo actually knows her and our house.
4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else?
Just the whole package it brings joy and encouraged writing and reading .
5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be?
I can not think of anything that we would want to change !
Thank you for having us take part in the trial . It brought a whole lot of joy into our house

morethanacondiment Wed 22-Apr-20 15:42:21

) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character?
We are not a cat family, but my DD loved him! It took her a while to get the hang of his name, but she invested in him really quickly.

2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo?
She loved it - really excited to get her letters, and persisted with her reading where she normally gives up on harder words.

3) Did you write a PS message in your child’s letter(s)? If so, what did you think of this feature?
Yes, I'd added a postscript in each, and DD was so delighted to read them! She was amazed that he knew so much about her, and I'd encouraged her to write something specific in her first reply to match the second postscript. It was a really big deal to her.

4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else?
DD loved the magic of this, and is really interested in the map on the wall. She's been googling countries, which makes a real change from Tic Tac Toy YouTube videos hmm

5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be?
I think it would be easy to add in a few puzzles - it's a comparable price to a magazine, which I think would probably keep her busy for a bit longer.

We loved this - thanks MN!

MsMiaWallace Wed 22-Apr-20 15:58:52

1) What did you think of Banjo Robinson, the character?
The Character Banjo was very cute, perhaps a little young for my 8 year old.

2) How was your child’s experience of receiving the personalised letter from Banjo?
He enjoyed receiving his letter through the post. Especially the 1st one with the map etc.

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. He loved it as he included this in his reply to writing back to Banjo.

4) What stood out for you with Banjo Robinson? Delight and fun, educational benefits or anything else?
It is bright, easy to read. Appeals to children.
5) If you could change one thing about Banjo Robinson, what would it be?
Perhaps include a little more information about the country he visits . Also state where he is going next.

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