STEM Product Review: Kiwi Crate Plus #Giveaway
Updated: Dec 26, 2018
As we make plans for the new year, I want to encourage everyone reading STEM Spark to include STEM or STEAM activities into their 2019 plans. And I think one of the best ways to do so is with a STEM/STEAM subscription monthly subscription box like Kiwi Crate, Mel Science or Green Kid Crafts! Now, we've only tried out Kiwi Crate in our house (thanks Auntie T for a subscription; you know us well!), but Mel Science and Green Kid Crafts look like they'll be just as fun as Kiwi Crate!
And we really enjoyed our Kiwi Crate! Technically Jack got the Koala Crate as a gift for his 4th birthday, and the Koala Crate is totally the right learning level for preschoolers. But I'm getting a head of myself a little. If you're not familiar with Kiwi Crate, they offer monthly science and art projects for every age and interest-- so for the oldest of kids you'd order them an Eureka Kit and for the youngest (aka babies) the Tadpole Crate! And there's also many options for how long you want to keep receiving the subscription (1 month, 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months). So for Jack's birthday, our friend ordered him a 3-month Koala Crate subscription.
Jack received his first Koala Crate in October, and I have to say it was really cool -- it was all about rainbows! There was a little book inside that had scientific explanation of rainbows, a story about rainbows with the Kiwi Crate characters, and additional rainbow activities we could do outside of the 3 activities/experiments the crate included. The first activity Jack wanted to do was make the rainbow pillow, and it was easy enough for him to do. He stuck the 7 felt semi-circles in the different rainbow colors (these curved lines had sticky tape on the back of them for easy adhering) on top of a white felt cloud, and then we put pillow stuffing in the white felt cloud and velcro-ed it close (can Velcro be used as verb, like Google? I really need to know this info so I can forget some other important info like my Kiwi Crate login).
The other activities included a rainbow tissue paper stained-glass art project and a rainbow tie-dye reusable bag. Jack had to be convinced to make the tie-dye reusable bag (via the mom and dad start it, and then Jack takes over method), but overall he loved the rainbow crate. The next crate (in November) was a farm-themed crate, where he made a veggie garden matching game, animal finger puppets, and a barn and field box/stage for the animal finger puppets. Again the crate came with a book explaining the science of growing vegetables. Jack was not as enthralled with this crate as he was the first one, which I think is bound to happen with kids and their varying interests.
The last crate we received (just this month) was my favorite one-- it was all about music and the science of sound! Jack had to build his own xylophone, tambourine and stamp his own sheet music. He liked the tambourine and xylophone, but needed a little help with the rubber bands that were required to make these instruments ("help me mommy!"), so this one was probably his second favorite one out of the 3 he received.
I think crates are really great at encouraging creativity and the maker mentality, but if you don't read the accompanying books, you'll miss out on the science component/science lesson of the crate. So the secret ninja STEM skills are there, but you have to be on top of your ninja game to incorporate the accompanying lesson as you build your art/craft project. Although I guess building and making in and of itself teaches some engineering skills-- plus, it's just plain fun to use your hands to make something (says the engineer who wishes she built more bread boards or computers or something at work). I also think you get a good mallet bang ('cause Jack made a xylophone, har, har, har) for your buck with these crates as the end product you make is going to last (quality materials are used), and it's 3 activities with additional activity suggestions all for $19.99 a month.
So in summary, I give the Koala Crate by Kiwi Crate a 4.5 out of 5-- it's a lot of fun making and crafting stuff at a decent price, but the STEM skills are contained in the accompanying books. Plus, there were some minor build frustrations from the 4 year old, although he did most of it himself (yay!). Overall, I think it will be a great way to kick off your STEM/STEAM plans for the New Year! And to help you out with your STEM plans for 2019, I'm raffling off a $20 gift card to Kiwi Crate!
Wow, I can't believe this review and raffle is STEM Spark's last one of 2018-- happy New Year everyone! Oh, and just follow the Rafflecopter below (it's open to anyone in the world who Kiwi Crate ships to and also has a legitimate email address for me to send an e-gift card to) or click the Rafflecopter link here http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/5094d1c913/! All the best, many happy returns and all that jazz, and lots of STEM fun for your 2019! STEM Spark over and out!