KiwiCo Tinker Crate Hydraulic Claw Review + Coupon
Tinker Crate (from parent company KiwiCo) is a subscription box for kids and tweens ages 9-16+. It arrives every month with all the materials and instructions needed to create innovative hands-on STEM projects along with a Tinker Zine full of educational information and additional activities.
KiwiCo offers boxes for different age groups: Tadpole Crate for 0-36-month-olds, Koala Crate for 3-4-year-olds, Kiwi Crate for 5-8-year-olds, Atlas Crate for 6-11-year-olds, Doodle Crate and Tinker Crate for 9-16+-year-olds, and Eureka Crate for ages 14 and up. There really is something for every age with this company.
This review is of the $19.95 a month Tinker Crate, for ages 9-16+.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out the review process post to learn more about how we review boxes).
About Tinker Crate
The Subscription Box: Tinker Crate
The Cost: $19.95 per month + free shipping
The Products: Detailed instructions and materials to create innovative hands-on STEM projects along with a Tinker Zine full of educational information and additional activities.
Ships to: U.S. for free, Canada for $6.95 per month
KiwiCo Tinker Crate “Hydraulic Claw” Review
In our box, we received this Tinker Zine which is full of educational information related to the month’s project. This month’s theme is Building with Hydraulics to go along with our Hydraulic Claw project. They included some information on a few different types of hydraulics as well as some information on the role water plays.
There were also some extra project ideas for using hydraulics to make a plastic cup squirt gun and an elevator as well as a section on Animatronics that was really interesting. This zine was full of so much information this month and it all involved ways to use our hydraulic assemblies that we would be building.
Our instructions for our hydraulic claw came on a separate sheet and as per usual with KiwiCo, they are incredibly detailed and include pictures for each step by step direction.
We received several of these cardboard construction pieces, which seemed to be coated with something to make them somewhat water resistant, as well as a set of brads and a page of small foam adhesive pieces.
The first step was to take one of the larger fastener pieces and slide a brad through the center and then add two of our foam stickers to it on either side of the brad.
Then we stuck it to one of the plastic syringes that they provided, placing it right underneath the handle.
We used two zip ties to secure it and keep it flush against our syringe.
Then we added a brad to one of the smaller fastener pieces and this time we used two foam squares on top of each other and added it to the end of the piece.
This was to ensure that it would fit onto the end of our syringe handle which was slightly skinnier than the rest of it.
I secured that with another zip tie and then cut off the ends of the ties.
I got a glass of water and we practiced drawing water into the syringe and then pushing it back out.
Then we added a piece of tubing and practiced drawing the water all the way through the tubing.
We filled up our tube and syringe with water and then connected the open end of the tubing to our syringe assembly that we had made.
As we pushed in our plain syringe, the inner piece of our assembly syringe would pop out and it would fill with water and then it would be drawn back into our plain syringe as we pulled the handle back on it. Pretty neat to see!
Next, I added an elbow piece to a straight piece and pushed two brads through and opened the ends to secure them.
I then added another straight piece to extend that arm. Then I repeated the steps to connect another elbow to a straight piece and then attached those to my first piece to form the claw shape. This was super easy to do as long as I paid attention to which holes all of the brads went through on each piece!
Then I attached our tubing syringe assembly to the claw by just pushing the brads through the correct holes and then opening up the brad ends to secure it.
After this step, we were kind of left on our own to tinker with our pieces. There were some vague instructions on the back and a link to a video for help, but I opted to work through it on my own just using the detailed pictures to guide me. I began by creating two more tube assembly pieces out of the leftover fasteners and the remaining four syringes.
Then I started extending my claw and attaching the assemblies to it at the holes that were used in the photos. I actually miscounted at one point and had to go back through and troubleshoot, but I enjoyed the process because I do enjoy tinkering!
They also included these clothespin type pieces and a semicircle piece to help keep our claw upright.
Then I used our box (points for recycling! yay!) and poked a hole in it using scissors and stuck the end of the clothespin into it to hold it steady on top of the box. I stuck the rectangular piece with the holes into the crack on the opposite end of the box.
Then I added the syringes to the holes and then using a smaller rectangle and some foam squares I secured them in the holes so that the handles would pull back easily.
Now each syringe would move our claw in a different way. One syringe moved it back and forth, one opened and closed our claw and the other made it move up and down. It was really cool to see it work and fun to figure out how to actually make it do what we wanted it to do!
We started easy and picked up a balled up napkin using our claw. We tried some heavier items but weren’t quite successful yet, so we definitely need to play around with it more!
Visiting their website gave us a few more ideas to tinker around with!
Now that we understand hydraulics and how they work, they provided several design challenges in our Tinker Zine that we could go back and check out. They even gave some instructions for how to create a stuffie puppet whose arms move through hydraulics. I think we will definitely have to check this out because my kids will think it’s so cool! I love that we can take our knowledge and use it to experiment at home with other objects!
Verdict: This hydraulics-themed Tinker Crate was pretty cool! What I like about this box, which I think is unique from their other subscriptions I’ve tried, is that they give you the materials and some ideas but they really let you do the “tinkering” to play around with it using the tools they provide. It makes it the perfect STEM subscription for a kid who likes to learn by doing. This box would be so great in teaching cause and effect as well as perseverance and how to learn from your mistakes and even not be afraid to make them in the first place since that’s how you learn. I think that’s an important thing that some kids struggle with and this box would be great for building their confidence in that area. This was another great learning experience for only $19.95 + free shipping!
To Wrap Up:
Can you still get this box if you sign up today? It is possible you might get this crate, but it is not a guarantee. From KiwiCo:
Crates are assigned each month based on availability and your crate history – not all subscribers receive the same theme each month.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
What do you think of Tinker Crate?