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KiwiCo Tinker Crate Review + Coupon – Parabolic Microphone

Brandi D.
ByBrandi D.Dec 30, 2020 | 0 comments

Tinker Crate by KiwiCo
4.3 overall rating
12 Ratings | 3 Reviews

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: 

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

ACTIVE DEAL: Get 50% off your 1st month! No coupon needed - just use this link.

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: The U.S. for free, Canada for $3.95 per month, worldwide from $4.95-$6.95

KiwiCo Tinker Crate "Parabolic Microphone" Review


The theme of this month's Tinker Zine is "Sound Science" to go with our parabolic microphone project. This zine is full of educational information about sound along with some great activities that we can do with our microphone such as a sound hunt. They even give instructions on how to turn our microphone into a hand-held or wearable one. The back has a section with suggested reading materials for further engagement.


Our project instructions come on a separate sheet and they include detailed directions along with colorful illustrations for each step.

Part A: Build the Base


The main piece for our project was this parabola base made of flexible plastic.


They also provided a battery, a circuit, and some foam stickers to use to stick the unit to our base. They even included some instructions on how to use our battery.


My daughter stuck our circuit onto the base then hooked the battery up to it.


We received a small microphone with an auxiliary cord at one end along with a set of headphones. These both got plugged into the circuit board.


After everything was plugged in, we set our parabola base inside our box on top of the crumpled tissue paper that was used to pack our materials. The battery rested in a slot at the top of our base. Then we covered it with the cover piece which had a little notch for our cords to come up through and a hole for our power button.

Part B: Hook Up the Microphone


Now it was time to get our microphone in place. My daughter slid the two plastic dowels through the slots on the foam holder.


We taped the microphone to the end of the short dowel and then stuck the ends of the longer dowel into the notches on the side of the base.

Part C: Find the Focal Point


This next part was a bit more technical and introduced us to the idea of a parabola. They provided this cardboard parabola, a reflective strip, an LED light, a paper tube, and some foam stickers. We needed to get a pencil, paper, and ruler from home.


First, we taped the LED light to the end of the paper tube with the foam sticker. Then we placed the reflective strip inside the curve of the parabola.


This is where our pictures get a bit clunky since I had to help my daughter at the same time. We basically shined the light onto different areas of the reflective strip and my daughter traced the lines until we found the focal point which was where all the lines met. Then we used a ruler to measure the distance from that spot to the parabola and this was how far up our microphone should have been from the bottom of our plastic parabola in the box.

Then we tested it out to see what we could hear!  We aimed it at different areas of sound around the room to see what it picked up.

My son was excited to test it out, too. I have a feeling the kids may be doing some spying with this contraption!

Verdict: While we haven't tested out our microphone for really long distances yet (it's been so cold outside!), my kids are excited to take this Tinker Crate project outside and see how well it works. This was another simple project thanks to the clear and easy to follow instructions and now we have something that we can use to explore sound on our own. I love the idea of turning this microphone into a wearable or hand-held microphone so that we can really explore different sounds with it. While this was a great box, I do feel like the value is kind of subjective because there wasn't too much to this one and it's somewhat limited in what it can do. One of the challenges in our zine is to do a game of Ear Spy and hide a ticking timer somewhere in the room and use the microphone to find it which is such a fun way to explore, so maybe including a little timer would have made this box feel more complete!

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. 

ACTIVE DEAL: Get 50% off your 1st month! No coupon needed - just use this link.

Check out all of our Tinker Crate reviews and the best subscription boxes for kids!

Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!

What do you think of this month's Tinker Crate?

Starting at $22.95
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Tinker Crate inspires kids to explore and learn about science, engineering, and technology—and have fun doing it. Every month, a new crate to help kids develop a tinkering mindset and creative problem solving skills. Suitable for children ages 9 and up.
Brandi D.
Brandi D.

I am a homeschooling mother of four. I am a former educator and have taught both elementary art and Special Education.

I have been reviewing boxes for MSA since January 2018 and have reviewed everything from activity and clothing boxes for kids to clothing, beauty, and pampering boxes for women. I have also reviewed boxes focused on home goods and even some men's boxes with the help of my husband! 

I love to discover new brands and try new things!

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