Kiwi Crate is a subscription box for kids ages 5-8 from the parent company KiwiCo. It arrives every month with all the materials and instructions needed to complete 2-3 crafts centered on a theme, plus additional materials to help educate young learners!
This review is of KiwiCo's Kiwi Crate (for ages 5-8), 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.)
A Quick Introduction
Hello there! I'll be reviewing this box with my daughter Lorelai by my side. We have long been enjoying Koala Crate, the KiwiCo box for ages 2-4, and Lorelai looks forward to her "yellow box" with great anticipation each month. Lorelai will be 5 this summer, and so we're taking an early start to exploring this next level up. Thanks for joining us!
What's Inside This Box
The materials included for this month's Kiwi Crate project were topped by two pieces of literature: a detailed instruction booklet for kids and adults to use together, and a magazine/activity book called Explore! This month we created two projects (though one is multi-part), and everything we need is included except for some scrap paper. The theme is Color-Changing Creatures, so of course a chameleon project is included in here!
Of the many things KiwiCo does well, they always nail it in terms of making their instructions booklets age-appropriate. There are detailed, clear directions for the adult to follow, and visuals so that the kids can follow along as well. There are also blurbs that teach introductory engineering and science terms and concepts that are relevant to the projects.
The Explore! booklet was so much fun to dig into both while waiting for our paint to dry and to keep the fun going after the projects have been completed. It has additional projects that you can make from household items, some activities, and really approachable learning opportunities. Again, we are already a KiwiCo family, and our transition from Koala Crate to Kiwi Crate was very smooth with this familiar offering that is just a little more advanced and detailed.
Activity 1: Mechanical Creatures
Our first project is to create two critters with mechanical components that make their tongues stick out. Here are the supplies needed for the chameleon and frog.
We got right to work, and I found that my almost-five-year-old was completely capable of doing all the tasks asked of her, with only minimal help from me—mostly stabilizing. In the second photo above, you can see a little hack we figured out—the yellow foam piece pictured in the instructions booklet for the chameleon machine was missing from our box, so we used two felt pads meant to protect your floor from furniture scratches, and they worked great.
After our creatures were built, we got out the provided art supplies and scratch paper, and got to decorating them. (Note: I took photos of all our supplies before we got started, so that's why the creatures look unfinished in the first photo.) The aligning and rolling of the cotton buds proved to be a little tricky, so I ended up helping with that. It introduced us to a cool painting technique! The instructions recommended having paint brushes from home handy, which we didn't end up using, but might have if we had chosen to paint the other sides too.
This last step is really just setup to put the mechanical creatures to use. (Again, the photo above that shows the unfinished creatures is just to represent that they are used for this part of the project.) We were to fold the felt triangle so it stood up and stick the felt flies to it. Lorelai was completely capable of inserting the notch into its slot to make the board stand; later I adjusted it to be inserted from outside-to-inside so that the felt board had a smoother side, which is what the instructions suggested. I think and kid who is on the older side of who this box is meant for would understand this nuance easily.
Here's our finished product. A detail I love about this duo is that they use two different mechanisms to make their tongues stick out! The chameleon uses a rubber band to create resistance, making for a slingshot-style system. The frog is simpler, you just slide its post in and out to make the tongue move. Lorelai (and her almost-two-year-old sister) were more drawn to the frog one because it was easier for them to use.
After a few days of use, we found that the little Velcro tabs that are meant to make the tongues "sticky" didn't stay on very well. We also forgot until a few days in that the paint used to decorate the creatures is meant to change color when body heat is applied; when I experimented with it on my own it didn't seem that reactive, so I didn't even mention it to my kids.
Activity 2: Color-Changing Coasters
Our 2nd activity this month is to make coasters with a little scientific touch. Here are the materials needed. The project was a little less involved, and mainly required fitting different parts inside foam pieces. Easy enough. The part that was tricky for Lorelai (and even for me, if I'm being honest) was aligning the outer layers with the sticky foam. That's another detail that I think an 8-year-old would find much easier than a 5-year-old, but that an adult might end up helping with across the board.
The finished product is these leaf-shaped coasters that, when you place a hot drink on top, reveal bug images. Very neat! We found that hot chocolate warmed to "kids temperature," aka cool enough that it wouldn't burn her mouth, was not hot enough to reveal the pictures. So we made our drinks very hot and enjoyed the novelty of it while we waited for them to cool.
Bonus Activity: Chameleon Puppet
We also tried our hand at one of the DIY ideas from in the Explore! magazine. This project was made completely using materials we had around our house (plus an extra brad that was leftover from the box). It was very simple with high payoff value! We grabbed two paper plates and cut off the edges, and while Lorelai colored one completely, I cut out a chameleon shape in the other and stuck a googly eye to it. When attached with the brad, you have a rotating wheel that makes the chameleon look like it's changing colors. It was delightful.
Value - Was This Box Worth It?
The Cost: $19.95
The answer is: yes! Every KiwiCo box feels worth it to me, but our first venture into Kiwi Crate with a child who is just shy of the target age group went amazingly. Making the mechanical creatures taught us how simple a machine can be, and we learned facts about chameleons along the way. The color-changing coasters introduced us to thermochromic inventions, something I personally never would have thought to teach my child at such a young age, but I'm so glad she was exposed to.
Keep Track of Your Subscriptions: Add this box to your subscription list or wishlist!
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.
What do you think of Kiwi Crate? Click below to write a review!