Tinker Crate Subscription Box Review – December 2014
Tinker Crate is a brand new subscription for kids ages 9-14 from the makers of Kiwi Crate. Like Kiwi Crate, it comes with everything you need to complete multiple projects based around a central theme. Unlike Kiwi Crate, however, these projects are less craftsy and more based on STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) learning and enrichment.
My Subscription Addiction pays for this subscription. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes).
The Subscription Box: Tinker Crate
The Cost: $19.95 per month (free shipping)
COUPON: Use coupon code MSA30 to save 30% off your first month!
The Products: STEM-based crafts and DIY projects for kids, with supplemental learning kits, booklets, and activities. Projects are designed to enhace children’s critical thinking and problem solving skills through activities that are exciting and fun!
Ships to: Anywhere in the United States, including Hawaii, Alaska, Puerto Rico, US Virgin Islands and APO addresses
Check out all of our Tinker Crate reviews!
Every box comes with a copy of TinkerZine magazine, which includes articles about that month’s theme, as well as smaller projects and experiments. This month’s theme is Ready, Aim, Fire!
Here’s a peek at the table of contents from this month’s TinkerZine. In addition to the large project that Tinker Crate sends, the magazine has several articles plus smaller projects you and your child can undertake to gain a deeper knowledge of the scientific principles of that month’s topic. This month includes instructions for three smaller projects – including a marshmallow shooter! Awesome!
This month’s big project is building a trebuchet! OK, I didn’t know what a trebuchet was, either – it looks like a catapult to me. It turns out that a trebuchet is a type of catapult used in the Middle Ages. A catapult uses tension to launch objects into the air, whereas a trebuchet uses a specific type of tension: a counterweight. We learn something new every day!
For those of us who are used to our instructions being on a little card from Kiwi Crate, this is a big change! Fortunately, the instructions are fairly straightforward and easy to follow. I do wish the drawings and instructions were just a little clearer, though.
These are the materials for the project. The instructions say we shouldn’t need to supply anything else to complete it!
Here’s the finished product, a working trebuchet! The instructions said to load the counterweight bucket with rocks, but we thought marbles would look cooler. The object just to the left is the firing pin.
Here it is loaded to fire. You can see that the pouch with the ball has been looped around the firing pin, which has been loaded into the trebuchet. You just pull out the firing pin and it slings the ball into the air!
Also included every month is a set of tokens your child earns as he or she completes each activity. This is similar to the stickers that are included in every month’s Kiwi Crate.
Verdict: We had a big problem with Tinker Crate this month. Aside from the fact that it didn’t arrive until December 31, it also was missing all the strings! I had to guesstimate on the lengths of the four different strings. I also only had twine on hand, so every time I cut it I had to cure the ends or it would unravel. I also had to cure the knots or they would come undone. All this equals a lot of lag time for my son, and to me, kid lag time is the true litmus test of whether a kids’ craft box is a success or not. He got bored waiting! Of course! In any case, he was able to put it all together except the strings almost unassisted, and he enjoyed that. The only assistance I gave him was that I put a drop of super glue here and there so it wouldn’t fall apart. It’s actually pretty sturdy, but my boys are tough on toys. TinkerZine was a big hit with them, as always. This is a great subscription and a super value – as long as they include all the parts! Hopefully they will get it straight by next month. My older son is eight years old, and I think once he is a little more firmly into the 9-14 age range he will enjoy this subscription even more!
What do you think of Tinker Crate?