a picture of a subscription box from Kiwi Co
Share
Ages:
all

Activities

Your Guide To Six Popular Kids Subscription Boxes From A Mom Of Two

May 6, 2019

I remember receiving a magazine subscription as gift when I was a kid.

At the beginning of every month, I’d eagerly run to check the mail after school, awaiting my very own piece of mail. For my kids, personal mail still holds so much excitement and I’ve recently been considering a subscription box service.

Aside from the excitement of mail for the kids, I love the idea of having monthly activities delivered to our family, tied to a theme to explore together. The prospect of me not having to run around to different craft, book or dollar stores to curate these activities myself is a bonus, allowing me to spend more time enjoying them with the kids.  However, as I’ve never delved into this world of subscription boxes before — not even for myself — I had no idea how expansive the options are, even for kids! I started perusing site after site, fascinated by boxes focused on inspiring curiosity about the world, arts and crafts and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math).

Below is a round-up of six unique subscription box options for kids, with a focus on children under 8 (I used my own kids’ ages of three and six years as a guide). After narrowing down the companies that I thought would be most suitable for my kids, based on their ages and what might offer them experiences and activities that could expand their minds.


Below are six subscription boxes that I reviewed with my kids:


A Box of STEAM

Curiosity Box is a themed crafts and activities box with an educational focus, incorporating some elements of STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math).

We reviewed the Discovery Box (2 - 4 years) themed “Down on the Farm” and the Creation Station Box (5 - 7 years) themed “Tea Time.”

What’s in the box:

  • 3 themed crafts
  • 1 STEAM activity
  • Various activities including sticker sheets, activity sheets
  • 3 or 4 novelty items, plus any necessary supplies for crafts (i.e. scissors, glitter and glue)
  • Instructional brochure with activity instructions, fun facts and other activity ideas
  • Upgrade option: a book aligned with the theme

My thoughts:

This subscription is for craft-loving kids (like my own) and it includes a good mix of activities the kids could manage on their own and activities they could do with a parent. So, it was perfect for both family time and times when I needed the kids to occupy themselves. 

The themes resonated well with each of my kids. For the Creation Station especially, I found the crafts had longevity and were actually useable. My daughter continued playing with things, like the purse, necklace and the picture frame she created, even after we had made them.

What the kids thought:

The kids loved the novelty items and had lots of fun putting together the crafts. My three-year-old really enjoyed making the animal notebook and handprint animal, and my six-year-old loved making the purse, frame and chain the most. My son likened the box to “the best lootbag ever” because of its collection of activities, trinkets and stickers.

Who it's for:

Ages 2 to 8+.

Cost:

Starts at $25.95/month (including shipping in Canada).

Click here to pick another box!


A Box of Science and Vegetables

Kiwi Co.’s goal is to inspire kids to see themselves as makers! It wants kids to try engineering and creating their own innovative designs and outcomes. Crates focus on STEAM, art and design, imaginative play and both fine and gross motor skills activities to spark a child’s curiosity and creativity.

We reviewed the Koala Crate (Ages 3 - 4) themed “Farm” and the Kiwi Crate (Ages 5 - 8) themed “My Body and Me."

What’s in the box:

The Koala Crate includes

  • Creative materials for two to three activities
  • Parent guide for parents to support inquiry-based learning
  • Imagine! magazine with stories and games
  • Online DIY ideas

The Kiwi Crate includes

  • Maker project which is a hands-on activity exploring art, science and engineering
  • Creative learning activity with materials and kid-friendly instructions
  • Explore! magazine with comics, experiments and games
  • Online DIY ideas

My thoughts:

The creative activities in both crates are clearly well thought out and unique, and — a value bonus for me —  they’re not crafts I’d easily be able to organize myself. 

The activities themselves included high quality materials and tools, and the techniques and concepts were easy to follow. At the end of the day, this means finished crafts are likely to last longer in the playroom.

While the Koala Crate indicates parent support is needed, I found my six-year-old needed some guidance with the Kiwi Crate as well. That said, she was able to do most of it on her own. The educational content in the crates was something I really liked and the magazines really piqued the kids’ interest in their crates. I also appreciated that the Koala Crate has a messiness and grown-up involvement meter for each activity, so you can choose the activity depending on how much time you have and how big of a mess you're willing to make/clean up.

What the kids thought:

Both of my kids really enjoyed their respective boxes and the play ideas that accompany each activity extended the kids’ interest as I saw their creations incorporated into playtime. My three-year-old especially loved making the vegetable garden and has been playing with it since, and both the farm animal finger puppets and the barn tote were fun for him to assemble and also great for make-believe play. My six-year-old was enthralled with building the stethoscope, likening it to some of her more complex lego sets, and she really enjoyed learning more about the topic through the magazine. She also now proudly displays her handmade felt organs snuggled between her other bedtime stuffed animals. 

Who it's for:

Ages 0 to 104+.

Cost: 

Starting at $22.61/month (plus shipping). There is also a one-time 60 per cent off discount on their website for the first month of any crate.

Click here to pick another box!


A Box For Little Activists 

For Purpose Kids encourages children to become global kid-izens, one act of kindness at a time. Their toolkits inspire active learning for kids around topics like helping people and communities, animals and the environment.

We reviewed the Do Good Starter Kit.

What’s in the box:

  • The Giving Book, an interactive discussion book that encourages conversations with kids about the world
  • Starter Kit Guide, which introduces the five For Purpose friends that are used in the toolkits to help teach kids about doing good and helping others
  • Welcome Guide for Champions, which provides the benefits of inspiring kindness in young kids and shares ways parents can help support their efforts to do good in the world
  • Journal of Purpose and Action, for kids to write down their thoughts and ideas about being kind and doing good to make the world more awesome
  • For Purpose Friends paper cutouts to encourage creativity, kindness and acceptance by putting real faces to the characters in the Starter Kit
  • The monthly toolkits build on the starter kit and focus on specific causes with books, activities and other add-ins related to the theme

My thoughts:

The theme of For Purpose Kids is one that resonates with my parenting goals as I try to find opportunities throughout the year to teach the kids about giving back to the community and environment. As the kit is geared for five- to ten-year-olds, I just worked on it with my six-year-old. We began filling out the first few pages of The Giving Book together and I was impressed with the simplicity with which charity and giving was described, making it easy for my daughter to grasp these concepts. I also loved the conversation that the activities in the book sparked around the different ways to give back. I’m looking forward to completing the book together.

What the kids thought:

While I thought my daughter would gravitate towards the paper cut outs, as she is a craft lover, I was surprised with her immediate interest in The Giving Book and the Journal of Purpose and Action. She carefully listened as I read out the instructions and information in The Giving Book and it inspired her the next day at school, where she helped clean up her playground at recess and came home to write about it in her journal.

Who it's for: 

Ages 5 to 10.

Cost:

$53.29 per quarter, including shipping in Canada. (There is also a 15 per cent off discount for your first order with the code BEKIND.)

Click here to pick another box!


A Box of Rocket Science

Green Kid Crafts intends to support growth of the whole child and the boxes marry arts and science with a focus on STEAM creations.

We reviewed a Junior Discovery Box (Ages 2 - 4) themed “interesting insects” and a Discovery Box (Ages 5 - 10+) themed “rocket science.”

What’s in the box:

  • Between 4 - 8 STEAM projects and quality supplies included
  • A STEAM magazine about the box’s theme featuring activities for kids, resources for parents and lots of information to help explore the theme further
  • Upgrade option: a book aligned with the theme

My thoughts:

The STEAM projects in both of the kids’ boxes got me excited to help out — they are all unique, fuel creativity and inspire STEAM-based learning. They also inspire discovery and excitement about science, technology, engineering and math, and reminded me of some grade-school science projects I worked on as a child. I also loved that the kits came with quality supplies, including real lab tools. While each box we reviewed was very age-appropriate in activities and content, both themes sparked so much conversation between both of my kids that we ended up all focusing on one project at a time.

What the kids thought:

The kids both found the projects tied to their themes very interesting and it generated lots of discussion and further exploration. They found the activities very unique, and noted that we’d never done anything like this before. My three-year old’s "interesting insects" box was full of fun age-appropriate activities that were still challenging enough to keep him focused, like a chromatography butterflies kit, hanging beehive kit and a DIY bug magnifying jar kit. The projects sparked all kinds of insect questions that we ended up researching together. My six-year-old has been really into experiments lately and enjoyed the ones that came with her box, including the air pressure experiments and observing the weight of air. She had a lot of fun launching the rubber rockets as well, but it was the scale of the solar system that excited her (and me!) the most.

Who it's for:

Ages 2 to 10+. 

Cost: 

Starting at $23.91/month (plus shipping). 

Click here to pick another box!


A Box of Dress-Up

Little Bookish Wardrobe focuses on the importance of imagination for learning and development, and was created to help inspire imagination through reading, dress-up play and crafts.

We reviewed the Penguin Box. 

What’s in the box:

  • A themed book
  • 2 - 3 costume wardrobe and accessories to align with book
  • Interactive play card
  • Arts and crafts related to the theme

My thoughts: 


My kids are all about imaginative play and they both love to read, so I was really interested in trying out this box. The kids enjoyed reading the book included and then immediately wanted to try on the costume. I found it to be the perfect fit for my three-year-old, while my six-year-old could fit into it but it was a little small. The craft was cute and simple — a little acorn penguin — which didn’t take long to assemble. Overall, I felt the box was more appropriate for my three-year old, even though the suggested age range is 3 to 8. 

What the kids thought:

Both of my kids found the book to be interesting and amusing and they have included it in our nightly rotation. My three-year-old loved playing in the costume and has pulled it out several times to use during play time.

Who it's for: 

Ages 3 to 8. 

Cost: 

Starting at $43.96/month (plus shipping).

Click here to pick another box!


A Box of Culture

Little Passports boxes focus on exploring different cultures around the world through papercraft projects, reading and other activities.

We reviewed the Early Explorers Traveller Kit (ages 3 - 5) and the monthly ocean-themed package (ages 3 - 9).

What’s in the box:

The Traveller Kit includes

  • Orange suitcase
  • Wall-sized world map
  • Activity booklet
  • Luggage tag
  • Stickers and photo
  • A welcome letter from new pen pals Max, Mia and Toby

The monthly themed package includes

  • Activity booklet
  • Fun souvenirs and toys
  • Trading cards
  • Letters and photos
  • Stickers for your suitcase, passport and map

My thoughts:

I loved the Traveller Kit! it was a great foundation for teaching the kids a bit about world exploration and travel and it got them excited about delving deeper. We went through the map together, identifying countries the kids already knew and talking about what would be interesting to learn more about. As the Early Explorers kit is geared to ages three to five, I wasn’t surprised that the activities included in the package were more suitable for my three-year-old. That said, my six-year-old still enjoyed playing along and reading through everything with us. I love the idea of exploring different cultures to expand my kids’ minds about the world around them, and the interactive components, such as the map, the passport and the suitcase, help keep track of the kids learning journey.

What the kids thought:

My kids were both intrigued by the fun orange suitcase and were very curious to learn about each of the components within. My three-year-old has been learning about continents at his preschool and took a keen interest in the map and the various stickers for the suitcase, passport and map. He also really enjoyed the fishing activity, going through the trading cards and doing the ocean-themed activity book. My six-year-old enjoyed going through the activity booklet in the Traveller Kit and doing the flashlight adventures activity. She also loved locating different world landmarks on the map, which is now centrally located in our playroom where it can be viewed during playtime.

Who it's for:

Ages 3 to 9+.

Cost:

$25.23/month (plus shipping)

Click here to pick another box!


The author was sent all subscription boxes for review, but was not compensated by any subscription box company for her opinions.

Article Author Jayani Perera
Jayani Perera

Jayani Perera loves to sing songs to her young children — to the wrong tunes, in an effort to simultaneously irritate and set them off in a tirade of giggles. Finding happiness in the day-to-day goes hand-in-hand with Jayani’s quest for balance after coming out of the new-mom fog that got thicker after her second child. A former foodie enthusiast, city event-chaser and lover of books, Jayani now fills free time mastering the Instant Pot, birthday party hopping and reading books that overuse the term “Pinkalicious” (one time is too much). And when she isn't doing any of the above, she keeps busy as a public relations consultant and a freelance writer. She is embracing this journey, with a loving spouse by her side, armed with humour, gratefulness and coffee, and trying to be mindful of the moments that matter.

Add New Comment

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.