My Pretend Place Review + Coupon – July to September 2016
My Pretend Place is a 3-month subscription cycle for kids who love to dress up and play pretend which is one of my kids’ all-time favorite activities. My Pretend Place lets you choose between boy, girl, or neutral costume categories to receive in your subscription box. They also have a Build Your Own option where you select themes in the order you wish to receive them.
This box was sent to us for review purposes. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes).
The Subscription Box: My Pretend Place
The Cost: $50 total for 3 monthly shipments (includes free shipping)
COUPON: Use code pretend to get 30% off your first theme!
The Products: Every month, My Pretend Place sends a shipment that centers on a theme and includes a dress-up costume, books, crafts, activities, and/or sometimes even food! The first month you receive the main box and each of the next 2 months you receive a follow-up mailing with ways to build on the first month and extend the fun. The subscription automatically renews and you can cancel at any time.
Ships to: U.S. only, via UPS and USPS
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
First Month: July
Our theme is Chef! One very cool thing that My Pretend Place does is include a letter to the child with every shipment. The letter is from a fictional character and helps initiate the play/pretend scenario. This letter welcomes the chef-in-training to culinary school and gives an idea of what is ahead. I like that it gives kids some practice reading, too. My 8-year-old daughter, 6-year-old son and 5-year-old daughter all love this theme!
Melissa & Doug Chef Role Play Costume Set – Value $19.73
This is a chef costume with realistic accessories. It includes a chef’s jacket, hat, oven mitt, three wooden utensils, plastic measuring spoons, and a name tag that can be personalized. The costume is machine washable.
The costume set says ages 3-6, but my 8-year-old daughter can still easily wear it.
It is important that this mitt comes with this warning tag to remind parents (and kids) that the mitt is a toy and not to be used with hot flames. The other utensils and measuring spoons can be used normally.
The Donut Chef – Value $5.64 on Amazon (retail price $7.99)
We love getting books in subscription boxes! This is a fun book that keeps kids’ attention throughout and teaches that sometimes simple is best. Here is Amazon’s synopsis:
In this tasty tale, a baker hangs out his sign on a small street, and soon the line for his donuts stretches down the block. But it’s not long before the competition arrives and a delectable battle of the bakers ensues.
Reading the book.
Melissa & Doug Make-a-Meal Sticker Pad – Value $6.90
This sticker pad lets kids pick different place settings, for example, picnic or cafeteria, and then build their meals. There are 15 tear-out backgrounds and 225+ stickers to build almost any kind of pretend meal kids can think of. My kids save the different background/meal combination pages after they make them to reuse again next time they play.
I love that this subscription box allows kids to use their imaginations to learn while having fun.
Here is a sample page.
My daughter carefully placing the stickers.
Sample completed pages.
Melissa & Doug Felt Food – Pizza Set – Value $16.99
This box comes with a durable plastic pizza pan, felt pizza, and cardboard delivery (storage) box.
Toppings, etc., in the pizza set.
Extension activities help kids further build their skills.
My Pretend Place includes a significant amount of Melissa and Doug items in their subscription boxes which is great because these are always well-designed and built to last.
Chef Pesghetti presents … her pizza!
Extras – Value $2?
These are items that come standard with every theme from My Pretend Place: a thank-you card, a handle, and some stickers to decorate the box so it can be kept for storage.
We also received a magnet this time. I love that the box itself is reusable! My kids can easily keep their items for a theme together and grab the whole box to take on the go if they want to.
Second Month: August
Here is what My Pretend Place includes in the 2nd month’s shipment for this theme. This envelope arrives in the regular mail as a follow-up delivery to bring fresh inspiration and keep the fun going into the next month. Kids love getting mail!
This letter is again addressed to the child and tells that the activities will be around measuring, cutting, and learning about food groups.
ChooseMyPlate.gov is the USDA website that helps kids learn about healthy eating so they can build on this over their lifetimes. I never heard of this website before so I was happy to be introduced to it because there are a lot of good resources there.
My daughter really liked sorting the foods into their different groups and talking to me about how much we should eat from each food group.
She did a nice job and only asked for my help on a couple of the trickier foods, for example, water, which really doesn’t fit into any of the categories.
The second activity this month was to make your own playdough. I remember making this when I was a kid! We had to supply our own ingredients, but they were kitchen basics and we had everything on hand.
You need flour.
And salt. We practiced our measuring skills!
Along with oil.
Food coloring is optional. We put a few drops of food coloring in the water. We should have either used more or just left it out because our playdough turned out a very pale pink. We could have also split up the dough and made different colors. Next time!
Here is our finished product: playdough snowman!
Third Month: September
Here is what My Pretend Place includes in the 3rd month’s shipment for this theme. This envelope also arrives in the regular mail.
We have a final letter to the child from the same chef that sent the first 2 letters. This letter congratulates the child for their efforts, new skills, and progress and introduces this month’s activities: a chef ceremony and celebratory cookies!
The instructions give ideas on how to award the certificate of completion in a simple ceremony and the certificate itself.
Here is my daughter with her certificate.
What better way to keep those new skills in practice than by whipping up some cookies! We supplied our own ingredients again but had everything on hand.
We needed flour.
And butter. (I remember thinking that this seems like a lot of butter.)
Along with eggs.
At this point, it was clear that our cookie dough was way too buttery, at least compared to cookie dough I have made in the past. I am not sure if it was the recipe itself. It is possible we measured something incorrectly as well. Either way, at this point I decided that there was no way this dough was going to hold up to cookie cutters so I decided to start over with a different recipe I had made before. So I have to say try this recipe at your own risk or use another one. Here is a quick and easy one I recommend.
We decided to opt out of the lollipop sticks and just make regular cookies. Additionally, I skipped the fondant icing and let the kids decorate their own cookies. I did have star shaped cookie cutters but could have easily used a different shape or just let the kids carve their own shapes into the dough with a plastic butter knife.
If you don’t have a rolling pin, kids can use a bottle or canned good instead to roll the dough flat.
Our cookies are ready to bake!
Decorating some cookies!
The finished product!
Verdict: My Pretend Place is great! They are extremely consistent in delivering a wonderful, imaginative play package for children ages 3-6+. (My oldest daughter is 8 and she still loves this box.) The curation is excellent and stimulating and the contents are high quality. Based on Amazon’s current pricing for the items included, the retail value here is $51.76 which is just over break even with the cost of the box. This does not count the value of shipping they throw in, the time it would take to hunt down these items separately and put them together into a cohesive theme or the additional shipments a child receives for free in the months he or she doesn’t get a costume. Including those, the retail value is even higher. Their website also has more themed craft ideas and kid-friendly recipes. And My Pretend Place offers free returns so this subscription box is essentially risk-free. (I can’t imagine they receive very many returns. This is always one of my family’s favorite subscription boxes and they’ve done it again with the chef theme! And we have a ready-to-go Halloween costume for later this month! Love it!)
What do you think of My Pretend Place?