Monday, November 28, 2011

Kiwi Crate Crafts & Activities for Children {Review}

Kiwi Crate logoLike pretty much all kids, my girls love getting hands-on with nearly any activity presented to them. Whether that means digging in the dirt, gluing together a craft masterpiece, cooking our next meal (and even washing the dishes afterward), or building a carefully constructed tower, they're happy as long as they can be a part of the action.

So, I'd like to say that I give them those opportunities at every turn... but that doesn't always happen. Sometimes it's just easier if I quickly make dinner on my own or plant flowers in the garden without them ending up strewn about the yard, you know?

Fortunately, I've found a new win-win way for all of us to be happy. Thanks to Kiwi Crate, my kids can participate in entertaining, interactive activities that they'll be sure to enjoy, while I don't have come up with the idea or even try to find the materials. Instead, it all arrives in the mail perfectly designed to spark creativity, curiosity and imagination right out of the box.

Kiwi CrateA new subscription-based service for kids 3 to 6, Kiwi Crate delivers a monthly "crate" of hands-on activities (the themes are gender neutral and different each month) that provides the instant inspiration and materials needed for fun, hands-on learning — all in one box and right to your doorstep!

All of the hand-selected projects and materials included in Kiwi Crate are parent-designed (with input from early childhood educators), expert-vetted, and kid-tested to be sure that parents as well as their children can easily end up having a great time together building, exploring and creating.

Knowing that my girls would be thrilled to receive a "crate" of fun activities no matter if the theme was anything from Space to Gardening to Dinosaurs, I was already looking forward to their response when this cute green box arrived at our door.

Kiwi Crate reviewOpening it up, I was happy to find a nicely wrapped package waiting inside... and it even included scissors with a nice card from Kiwi Crate mentioning that they might come in handy. How thoughtful!

Underneath, the two included projects (each crate contains at least two projects ranging from arts and crafts to science experiments to imaginative play and more) were clearly laid-out with all of the materials and an instruction card that told me everything we needed to know.

I especially appreciated the diagrams at the bottom of the project cards that gave me an idea as to how messy each project was going to be, what category it was from (e.g. creating or discovering), the skills used, and more.

Big Sister E chose to start with the My Spinning Colors project and was extremely excited to get started creating her own tops!

This project was just the right amount of educational mixed with entertainment, as Big Sister E had no problem chatting along with me about mixing colors, balance, what happens when we tried to spin our tops on the carpet (and why they didn't move), the force needed for longer spins versus shorter ones, patterns, and much more.

At the same time, she loved getting to design her own tops and it was so easy for her to slip the new covers on and off to see what they would look like when spun. We ended up decorating both sides of the included six papers and I already know that it will be easy to use one as a template to create an endless supply to continue to do this project over and over again!

Even though we could have continued to do the My Spinning Colors project for quite a while longer, we decided to try our hand at My Stained Glass as well to see how much fun that would also be.

Adorable! This was yet another simple project that turned out to be a whole lot of fun! While I prepared the contact paper and frame, Big Sister E cut the colored film and tissue paper so that she could layer it right inside.

After we had all of the empty space covered, I applied the second piece of contact paper and the result was so colorful and cool! After we checked out her masterpieces by themselves, Big Sister E also wanted to look at them with the included blue glasses to see how they changed the colors of her stained glass as well as the rest of the world.

If both of these great activities weren't enough, we still had a bonus "explore more!" project waiting: a tissue paper dyed bag.

Using the supplied small canvas bag, we got it thoroughly wet before Big Sister E applied leftover tissue paper from the My Stained Glass project and covered them in water from the included dropper (which she thought was especially fun).

After leaving the bag to dry overnight, the next day we removed the tissue paper and found that although we could have used to layer on quite a bit more paper (particularly darker colors), that the unique tie dye effect was there.

The best part is that we can easily go back and add more at any time!

I'm not sure we could have had more fun with our Kiwi Crate! Not only were the activities entertaining for us to do together, the whole concept is the ultimate in convenience. All of the inspiration and materials needed to inspire creativity and curiosity were right there in the box... along with information about visiting the Kiwi Crate website for additional resources for each theme to encourage further exploration. This one crate could have easily lasted us through multiple afternoons of active learning through play!

Arriving monthly in the mail, Kiwi Crate subscriptions can be ordered month-to-month ($19.95), three months ($60), six months ($110), or annually ($220, which includes a free month) and includes shipping. If you're looking to provide a child on your holiday list with a gift that will keep on giving, Kiwi Crate is a great place to start!

To find out more about these innovative boxes of fun, visit their website and connect with Kiwi Crate on Facebook, Twitter and their blog.

(Other than the Colors Crate that I was sent by Kiwi Crate in conjunction with my membership to Team Mom, I was not provided with anything or enticed to do this review in any way. This review is solely my opinion of this unique website and their extremely fun product.)


blueviolet said...

I would have had a blast with the spinning colors, but I would totally tune you out when you started getting all science-y on me. Clearly I'm wired for lesser wattage than your daughter is. lol

Really fun kit though, and I especially love the stained glass.

Nichol said...

How neat is that service. I would benefit from this as I'm not a crafty mama;)