KiwiCo Tinker Crate Buzzing Circuits Review + Coupon
Tinker Crate is a subscription box for kids and tweens ages 9-16+ created by kids subscription box company KiwiCo. Each monthly Tinker Crate contains all the materials and instructions needed to create innovative, hands-on STEM projects, as well as 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 KiwiCo’s Tinker Crate (for ages 9-16), which costs $19.95 per month.
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: Innovative hands-on STEM projects for kids, plus the materials and detailed instructions your child needs to complete them. You’ll also get a “Tinker Zine” full of educational information and additional activities.
Ships to: US for free, Canada for $6.95 per month
KiwiCo Tinker Crate “Buzzing Circuits” Review
The theme of this month’s Tinker Zine is Switched on Alarms to go with our Buzzing Circuits. This zine is full of educational information about alarms and their history in addition to some extra projects we can try using our finished project.
Our instructions come on a separate sheet and they include detailed directions along with color pictures for each step. They even include a section on troubleshooting each month which I find to be helpful!
Part A: Build the Buzzer
The first step in our project was to place the thick foam stickers onto the marked circles on our circuit board. We simply had to peel off the adhesive backing and stick them into place.
Next, we flipped our board over and used a thin sticker to attach our buzzer piece to our board. The spot was marked for us and we just had to make sure we had our holes lined up.
Next up was adding the battery pack. They included two AA batteries and some instructions for inserting them. This was a big teaching day for my daughter as I instructed her on how to install the batteries. Then my son added the sticker to the back and placed it on the marked spot of our board. I inserted the wires from our battery pack and our buzzer into the holes so they would be accessible.
Next, we had to add the clothespin to our board. My daughter got our sticker ready and then I used two zip ties to secure it to our board by threading it through the holes and through the sections of the clothespin. I trimmed the edges once they were secure.
They provided two flat end wires and I used the tiny rectangle stickers to stick one to the inside top of the clothespin and one to the inside bottom with the wires facing out in opposite directions.
Part B: Build the Game
Now that our buzzer was finished it was time to work on our game. My daughter got to work placing the foam stickers in their marked spots.
I added a sticker to the bottom of the ring at the end of this green wire and then stuck it to one of our black foam circles and threaded the wire through the hole.
They provided a long metal rod and a smaller one along with two little straws. I placed the straws on the end of the longer rod and inserted it into the center of the black circles and stuck it through to the bottom. Then I bent the rod ends under.
I clipped the shorter wire with the alligator clip at the end to the left end of the rod.
They provided two green LED lightbulbs and I stuck one into the hole in the center and secured it with a foam square. Then I bent the ends of the lightbulb with the longer leg going up and the shorter leg going down.
I then connected this red Y wire and the green ring wire from the top side to the ends of our lightbulb.
I then turned our shorter rod into a wire loop and secured it around the longer rod. Our longer wire with the alligator clip got hooked onto the end of this one.
The last step was connecting the wires from our buzzer to our game wires. This was easily done thanks to the detailed directions and pictures and different colored wires.
I then bent the wire rod into a curvy shape so that we could play our game. The object is to get the small metal loop from one side of the larger rod to the other (left to right) and then end on the ring of our green wire to light up our LED light.
Here is an example of our buzzer and light working.
My daughter had fun playing with it, although I think she was trying to make the buzzer go off since that’s much more fun!
Part C: Make a Buzzer Alarm
We could also use our buzzer to make a buzzer alarm. After disconnecting our buzzer from our game unit, I rewired it by connecting our red wires and slipping our other wires through the holes in the board and connecting them.
Then I added these two elastic bands to either side of our board by inserting them into the holes and making sure the metal piece was sitting sideways so it wouldn’t pull through. These were meant to help secure our unit once we set it up.
They included this little tiny plastic tab that I almost lost since it is easy to miss. They also provided two little packs of thread and this red spool for us to use. I unwound the thread from one of the white spools and then tied one end to the hole in our plastic tab and the other end to the hole on our red spool. Then I placed the little plastic tab inside our clothespin. The plastic kept our metal pieces from touching which kept our buzzer silent until our wire was tripped.
We set up our tripwire and then turned on the battery pack and had some fun testing it out. My daughter thought this was the coolest thing and kept wanting to set it up around the house. This was definitely a fun way to play with our buzzing circuit!
Verdict: This month’s Tinker Crate was the perfect project for a box with tinker in the title! It was fun to build our buzzing circuit and then “tinker” with it to use it for different purposes including a game and also a tripwire alarm. These were two very different uses, but both of them will appeal to kids, especially those with siblings who they’d like to keep away from their stuff! This was a great cause and effect learning experience with the way the trip wire worked and I thought the magazine had a lot of educational and useful information about alarms and also some fun extension activities! As usual, everything was well organized and easy to follow, thanks to the clear and detailed instructions they included. We had a lot of fun playing around with this month’s project and for us, the value was there in this $19.95 + free shipping box!
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?