Banjo Robinson is a magical globetrotting cat who writes letters to children in the UK regaling them of his numerous travels and adventures. Last month he took up my daughter as a penpal who has now been the happy recipient of two of his wonderfully informative letters.
The idea is a fabulous one. Banjo Robinson is a subscription service specifically aimed at children aged 5-8. Each month you receive a package of goodies from Banjo. This includes a letter from a different country packed full of stories and geographically accurate information; a map upon which you can stick a sticker from the country Banjo has just visited; stationery which your child can use to write a response and stickers and stamps to stick on the map, letter and envelope.
Banjo Robinson is the brain-child of adventure-loving Kate Boyle, who came up with the idea when travelling around the world. The letters that she wrote to her friends to keep them abreast of her activities were shared with their children who were absolutely fascinated by her tales and couldn’t wait to hear where Auntie Kate travelled to next. It struck her that this was the perfect way to influence a child’s thirst for global cultural knowledge as well as encouraging reading and writing.
My daughter, aged 4 and three quarters, is currently a sponge for information. Having started school in September, she returns home daily with a headful of new knowledge that she spews at me across the kitchen table. Banjo Robinson is ideal for her – the magical element of a cat that makes friends with birds and lizards and travels far and wide makes it even more enchanting in her eyes.
The first letter she received was an introductory one from England mapping out what Banjo’s hopes were as a travelling cat and giving a feel for what we could expect. My daughter was instantly captivated by his tale and, when we uncovered the stationery inside, she was desperate to tell me everything that she wanted to relay to him. Within Banjo’s letter he also asked for a drawing of somewhere that she would like to visit. She drew the Magical Faraway Tree, as that’s what we’re currently reading, and Father Christmas because she’s obsessed.
Our instructions from Banjo were to seal the envelope, address it and place it under our living room sofa where a local cat would pick it up and deliver it to Banjo. Another win for my daughter whose mind was (pleasantly) blown at the mention of a sneaky cat entering our house uninvited.
After receiving the first package I went online to fill in a form to inform Banjo and his friends at HQ of what my daughter is up to over the next few weeks so that he could incorporate it as a PS in his next letter.
Banjo has since travelled to Easter Island where he’s visited the Moai heads and hand-glided with Moko the lizard. The personalised PS went down a storm as she couldn’t understand how a cat on the other side of the world could have known about her nativity play and the fact that she played a camel (brilliantly, I might add.)
To me, Banjo Robinson is such a wonderful idea – not only does it feed a curious little mind, it also gives me and her time to sit and chat about the new stories told in the letters whilst also providing a lovely creative forum through which she can express her thoughts and ideas, which I can keep in a secret box for years to come.
Banjo Robinson is £4.99/month for a 12 month subscription, £6.67/month for a 6 month subscription and £8.45/month for a 3 month subscription.
A Banjo Robinson subscription would make the perfect Christmas gift for anyone aged 5-8. For more Christmas Gift ideas, visit our article here