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 our editorial guidelines to learn more about how we review boxes.)
Opening The Box
My almost-four-year-old daughter and I always do a happy dance when we see our yellow box has arrived with the mail! The theme is printed on the outside of the box so we have the chance to let our imaginations soar before we open it up and see what projects we'll be completing.
In the past I've mentioned that these boxes are fantastic for the age they're meant for, but the small parts included aren't always super friendly toward baby siblings. My daughter has a baby sister who just turned 1, and typically we do these projects together when little sis is asleep, but this month we took our chances on having her "lend a hand." More details on how that went below.
Here's What's Inside
In every Koala Crate box, is a tri-fold pamphlet that gives instructions for the three activities. They provide both images and text so that the child can follow along with their adult helper. They also give some bonus project ideas on the back, which you can do with your own supplies at home.
They also include a booklet that starts with a short story about three familiar animal characters—including a koala, of course. The booklet gives additional age-appropriate craft ideas, has some games to play (like mazes and matching games), and offers some on-theme book suggestions to look for at the library.
Stuffed Snake Friend
Our first project of the month was making a stuffed snake. Koala Crate has had us make a pillow before, having sent a similar soft felt case, some stuffing, and some felt stickers for decoration. I appreciate that this snake has openings on both ends so that you can stuff along with your child to keep things moving. The ends are folded over so the stuffing will be kept inside—it's not necessary to sew it, though you could if you wanted to. The snake stuffie comes with the fun detail of a party blower that can be laced into two pre-made holes at the snake's head and blown in to extend a "tongue." Honestly, these party blowers could've been the only thing in the box this month. My girls had a blast playing with them and had a hard time being convinced to put them down to stuff the snake!
We're provided with plenty of stuffing to fill the snake fully, but the instructions suggest using a pencil or something similar to coax it toward the middle. Rather than getting up to grab a pencil, I just tried to squeeze some of the stuffing toward the middle, running my hand along the outside of the snake to encourage it along. In the process, I ripped the side seam, but actually, I realized that having access partway down was helpful. (I am also an amateur mender and have seen experts create holes for stitching access, that they then mend back up while they're at it—so this felt in the spirit of that concept.) You can see that we chose a contrasting color to quickly stitch it back up at the end.
Well, the baby was obsessed with the felt stickers meant to decorate the snake, and no sooner did big sister put them on than little sister took them back off and put them in her mouth. In the end, our snake was bare of scales and eyeballs. I've kept a few and am thinking I might revisit the snake decoration step with my toddler when it's just the two of us. She can choose what pattern she wants on the snake, and then I can do a crude stitch to hold each scale and eyeball in place. I may wait and see how much she connects with this stuffed friend before going to that effort! Something to keep in mind for other families who have little siblings in the mix.
Koala Crate often incorporates a simple game as one of the three projects, which I like. It's nice to have these simpler activities alongside the more involved DIYs, as they all serve their own purpose.
This one was very easy, you just squeeze the chameleon to make space for the party blower, add eye stickers, and then use the party blower as a tongue to try to "catch" three different types of bugs. The bugs are simply illustrations on cardboard stands that you catch by knocking over. My daughter didn't really connect with this activity, so I recycled the bug stands before long. She discovered that if you blow hard enough into the party blower it makes a hilarious sound, so attempting to make that noise was our activity instead.
Pictured above are the same two sheets of stickers that you saw in the photo of the Stuffed Snake Friend supplies. There are plenty to share between the two projects! Here you just have your kid decorate the cardboard container with a pattern to be the tortoise's shell, then stick the shell onto the felt turtle's sticky spot. And add eyeballs, of course. Koala Crate has heavy felt sticker usage, which is sometimes innocuous (in the case of decorating the snake or turtle shell here) and is at other times a little high stakes! The stickiness is strong and can be impossible to un-stick and re-stick on some surfaces without damaging them. So in the case of this box, I helped my child center the box onto the felt turtle body so it wouldn't be crooked forever.
I'd be curious to see if my toddler would've decorated her turtle shell differently if the hexagonal stickers weren't such a hot commodity among the sisters. Regardless, she is happy with her design! This project also includes enough Velcro rounds (the rough hook part) to stick to the turtle's head and flippers so that you can tuck it under into hiding, as shown in the second photo above. We have an owl puppet that we had fun having this turtle hide from. The box itself is tricky to open—the lid fits on tightly—so we don't currently have anything stored in it.
My toddler and I learned all about reptiles from this month's Koala Crate box! It was a bit of a chaotic month for us with an extra set of tiny one-year-old hands helping out—a creeping suspicion that had been on my mind was confirmed this month, which is that these are not baby-friendly projects. They include small parts for one, and they are also easily undone by determined hands. That said, the reptile-themed activities were cute and age-appropriate for 2-4-year-olds. Our favorites involved the party blowers, but we also had some great imaginative play sprout from the turtle box activity.
Value - Was This Box Worth It?
The Cost: $19.95 a month + free US shipping. Save with longer subscriptions.
Value Breakdown: Koala Crate costs $19.95 per month, meaning each of the three projects and activities breaks down to $6.65. I would easily pay that price and more to occupy my kid with these great screen-free and age-appropriate DIYs. We love connecting over our Koala Crate boxes, and with the activities and play paired together, we can fill a morning with their fruits.
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?