Koala Crate is the toddler subscription box offering from KiwiCo, featuring 2-3 fun DIY projects designed for hands-on learning and fun every month! KiwiCo offers boxes for different age groups and this is a review of the $19.95 a month Koala Crate, for Pre-K kids ages 2-4.
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.)
Opening The Box
Though I've been admiring KiwiCo for years, this is my first time actually getting my hands on a box to explore with my daughter, Lorelai. Lorelai just turned 3, so she's right in the middle of the 2-4 age range for which this box is intended. In the photos above you can see what the unboxing experience looks like, with lots of exciting parts to put together.
Here's What's Inside
This booklet shows step-by-step instructions for how to do each of the three projects. They're definitely meant for adults to read, but they also include images so I was able to include Lorelai in the instruction-reading process so she had some sense of how that works, and could loosely follow along. On top of the how-to-make instructions, they also give a couple of suggestions for play. I think this touch is exactly the type of thing that sets KiwiCo apart from other subscription boxes for kids.
The second little paper booklet that's included is this "Imagine!" magazine. It shares a couple of simple fun facts about medieval times, a cute tale of three animal friends who decide to act out a medieval story, a seek-and-find game, a page showing inventions that came from medieval times, and a pipe cleaner crown DIY. We actually already had a pipe cleaner crown lying around, that we made with a similar technique, and Lorelai put it right on when she saw the castle pieces that came in this box!
The three projects included in this month's box are a simple castle with a drawbridge, a flinging catapult, and what we are affectionately calling a "dragon wagon." The pieces fit together easily and intuitively, but they do all require at least one smaller part.
Pictured above are a variety of parts that are needed to make the DIYs, like wooden dowel axles and wheels for the cart, a clothespin and popsicle-stick-style piece for the catapult, and paper decorations for the pull cart.
Finally, the box included the three characters from the "Imagine!" magazine storyline, with little foam squares to make them stand up. They fit perfectly inside the parapets of the castle so you can have your "guys" perch in various places during play. Pictured with them is the string that you add to the castle so you can manually pull the drawstring up. I really love that one of the activities included in this box was a really simple project that you barely need instructions for, paired with these little characters that are perfect for open-ended imaginative play. That's Lorelai's favorite type of indoor play!
Koala Crate Building Time
Here Lorelai is building her dragon wagon, which she named Twinkle Toes. I was really impressed and pleased with how toddler-friendly each step of this project was. With my direction and a little help making things sturdy, Lorelai was able to put the wheels on herself. Her favorite part was sliding the brown foam stoppers on the wheels so they wouldn't fall off. But she also had a blast decorating the dragon with the orange "fire" and little paper dots that were included. We had some colorful sticker dots lying around the house and she decided to decorate the cardboard-colored inside of the wagon while she was at it.
I inserted the drawstring drawbridge pull for Lorelai; she could've done it herself with some patience but was too eager to play and asked me to do it. That's the only moving part of the castle, though there are lots of windows that make it fun for her characters to peek through. Really, nothing more complex is needed to get some great play going. And, I really appreciate that the castle can be taken apart with ease to be stored flat (except for the turret*).
*I definitely Googled "parts of a castle" for this review. Haha!
The catapult was the one project that was a little advanced for Lorelai at age 3. As you can see above, she was able to manage some steps, but others required a smidge of force or precision, like jamming the popsicle stick into the opening of the clothespin and centering the bottle cap's sticky part on top of the popsicle stick. Once it was made she had a grand old time flinging the included pompoms and other random small objects around the house.
Each of the three projects in our first Koala Crate was really fun and continues to be enjoyed. But nothing could compare to the dragon wagon! When Lorelai proposed taking it outside for a walk I thought for sure it would get beat up pretty quickly, but it actually withstood being paraded around the neighborhood quite well. Since the head is just inserted in a slot and not fastened, we did lose it and made our own replacement out of green paper (I even cut up some pink tissue paper for the "fire" and glued googly-eyes on), but then we found the original head. So now we have some head options, which is fun.
Value - Was This Box Worth It?
The Cost: $19.95 a month + free US shipping. Save with longer subscriptions.
Value Breakdown: For $19.95 per month, Koala Crate's three DIY projects break down to $6.65 per activity. That is absolutely, positively worth it in my book, but when you consider the countless hours of play that can't be quantified, it's through the roof an amazing deal. These projects are unique, well-engineered, made out of quality materials, and they're educational.
After just one month's experience, I can say I am already a die-hard Koala Crate fan. In addition to being really fun and age-appropriate for my kid, these projects saved me the work of planning novel activities for my daughter to do to keep her off a screen. As a crafter and artist myself, I had fun with them, too!
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
Other Things You Should Know
Can I still get this box if I sign up today? From KiwiCo:
Crates are assigned each month based on availability and your crate history – not all subscribers receive the same theme each month
What do you think of this month's Koala Crate?