Tinker Crate is a subscription box for kids and tweens ages 9-14 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.
This review is of KiwiCo's Tinker Crate (for ages 9-14), which costs $19.95 per month.
This box was sent to us at no cost for review. (Check out our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we review boxes.)
I was definitely intrigued by this month's box and I was curious to see how it would work! I knew my kids would be eager to check it out, too!
What's Inside This Box
Our Tinker Zine is full of educational information related to our project. It looks like our Biomimetic Grabber was inspired by nature and several different animals!
The directions for our project come on a separate sheet with illustrated steps broken into different sections. They always include helpful troubleshooting information as well.
All of our pieces came neatly organized with a mix of wooden and plastic parts, foam, plastic string, a cord, springs, and some rubber bands. There were also some plastic parts for our grabbers, a ball, and some tubing.
Part A: Assemble the Base
The first step in building our grabber was to assemble the base. This was pretty simple since it was mostly a matter of fitting the wooden pieces together and holding them with rubber bands. Then adding the little sliders and foam pieces to it.
Then my son attached the arm panels with the tube fittings and nuts.
Part B: Build the Arm
Then it was time to add the rubber tubing to the arm panel and layer our large vertebrae and springs onto it.
Part C: Add the Grabber
We chose to use the pincher grabber and after adding the black rubber rings to it, we used a nut to secure it to the end of our tubing. The blue cord slid down the center and then we attached it to an orange finger ring at the arm panel. We used a cable to attach the second finger ring. These got tightened in place with some orange thumbscrews.
Part D: Add the Cables
The last set was adding our cables for the sliders. I definitely needed to help him with this part and it was even a bit tricky for me, but in general, it was a simple process. One finger ring controlled the grabber raising and lowering while the other controlled the opening and closing. The sliders controlled movements to the left or right.
Here you can see my son trying to operate it. Your thumbs control the sliders while your pointer fingers slip into the finger rings to control those. It took a bit of learning, but I think he got it.
Here is our grabber in action. He is still learning here, but once he gets the hang of it, our Tinker Zine provided some ideas for a few fun games we can try!
Value - Was This Box Worth It?
The Cost: $19.95
Our grabber is pretty cool and I love that they also provided a second style grabber to experiment with. I do wish that they had included some extra vertebrae pieces because one of ours already snapped (definitely user error), but without it, it definitely affected the way our grabber works! This project is cool and definitely educational, but I think just one extra item or activity would have really helped the value here!
My son loved learning about biomimicry and he thought the grabber was very cool. I love that we can take it and play with it now that we've figured out how to use it!
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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.
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