Just before my son’s fifth birthday, I started looking for more experience-based gifts. It’s not that I’m opposed to stuff. I like stuff, and it’s no secret that I’m a fan of Christmas present piles and going all-out for big occasions.
But after spending the better part of 2020 stuck at home (for obvious reasons) and desperate for unique additions to our arsenal of at-home entertainment, I went looking for new ways to challenge my kiddo’s creativity.
Enter KiwiCo crates.
I first started seeing ads for KiwiCo a year or two ago, not paying much attention to them but intrigued by the concept. I had tried a different subscription box before (Sago Mini), and while that box was fine, I thought it was a bit pricey for the contents. Hesitant to invest in another box of potentially overpriced crafts I could do myself, I put off KiwiCo for a long time.
I suspect that I’m not the only parent to finally break down and try a kids’ subscription box during the pandemic. Call it virtual retail therapy, but there’s something satisfying to me about ordering up a new thing and having it delivered to your door. Plus, there was a sale, so I got to try the KiwiCo box for $12 and that seemed worth the risk of a dud.
Wondering if KiwiCo is worth it? I’ll share my thoughts here. This isn’t a sponsored post, so I won’t be sharing any affiliate links or anything. Just some honest thoughts about one of the more well-known subscription boxes for kids.
(Spoiler: My son loves it, and I think it’s a good deal.)
Trial Box: Arcade
Our first box was called Arcade, and it included a project to build a wooden claw and a set of pom pom monsters for grabbing. In other words, it was an arcade-style “claw machine” activity. Per the KiwiCo website, the purpose of this crate was to promote mechanics, building, games, and taking turns. I was impressed right off the bat.
The instructions were straightforward, the pieces were well designed, and everything in the crate had a purpose. It even included a little comic book featuring a cast of animal friends to reinforce the theme of the crate. The only thing I had to supply myself was a pair of scissors for the pom pom monsters. I signed up for a 6-month subscription shortly after we finished the project.
What I Like About KiwiCo
First and foremost, I love the crates. I think they’re designed well and include enough projects and ideas to justify the cost. Each main project seems, so far, to be age-appropriate for my five-year-old since he can do most of it himself. In fact, if he could read, he could probably do it all on his own. As it is, the pictures make the steps clear enough that he’s usually a few paces ahead of me as I’m reading the instructions out loud.
I also appreciate that it’s not just a box of craft supplies and an instruction sheet. The Kiwi Crate is designed with STEAM in mind, and it offers not only a couple activities but some basic explanations of the science involved. I think it has the right balance of fun and education.
The included materials and supplies are also high quality. So far, everything we’ve made with these crates has held up pretty well. Some of the boxes include a few extras of some of the pieces, too, which is just a nice touch.
Speaking of the box, each Kiwi Crate is shipped in a small box that can usually be incorporated into another activity. For the trial crate, we turned the box into the claw machine itself using plastic wrap and the included supplies. One crate suggested using the box to make an “oven” for s’mores — and explained the science of why this should work. Minimal waste is always a plus, and my kid and I are both suckers for a good box.
And finally, on a personal note, I love the design and branding of the company. I know this has nothing to do with the crate itself, but I love good, cohesive marketing. It’s cutesy without being patronizing. I actually ended up buying a plush of their mascot, Steve (a kiwi bird), because it was adorable and on sale. (The plush, too, was high quality and bigger than I realized.)
What I Wish Were Better
Your mileage may vary here, but I have not been impressed with KiwiCo’s customer service as a whole. I’m opposed to picking up the phone if I don’t have to, so maybe it’s my fault for relying on email. But I’ve had a few email exchanges that soured me on KiwiCo’s customer service department. No issues with overcharging or billing, just a few hiccups with orders or questions that I found frustrating.
I also wish the website were a little easier to navigate. It’s not particularly mobile-friendly, and even when I’m on a desktop, the site just seems clunky. User experience on the parent end doesn’t seem to be a concern of KiwiCo. But I can’t deny that the product itself is good quality, so take these critiques for what they’re worth.
Curious about KiwiCo? Go for it — but find a deal first.
We enjoyed the trial box enough that I signed up for a 6-month subscription that started last fall. Our last box will be next month, and I plan on renewing it. Once my kiddo is older, I’ll look into the other crates since this one (Kiwi) is designed for kids ages five to eight.
The company has a range of products, too, including standalone sets you can buy outright without signing up for a subscription. (You’ll save money with the subscription, though.) And if you click around the website a bit, you’ll find stuff like this, a roundup of at-home resources for kids.
I do recommend poking around for a discount code to try it out yourself. There’s usually a sale or a special available, and chances are that someone you know could give you a referral code for $10 off your first box.