Atlas Crate (Ages 6-11): What To Know Before You Sign Up
Can This Subscription Maintain a Sense of Adventure While Indoors?
With schools closed for the time being and parents looking for resources to help keep their kiddos both entertained and learning, there has never been a better time to subscribe to kids’ boxes that check both boxes. Atlas Crate is “designed to spark the curiosity and sense of adventure in children ages 6-11 and help them become citizens of the world.”
We love that Atlas Crate fosters a sense of cultural awareness with projects that include kid-friendly instructions and hands-on projects. Let’s take a look at some past projects and address some common questions about this box. What are shipping timelines? Are the projects compelling enough to keep my child’s interest? We answer it all below.
Are you thinking of signing up for Atlas Crate to help keep your kids busy? Wondering if you'll need to oversee the projects or if you can get some of your own tasks done while they're working? Here's all you need to know.
Atlas Crate is $19.95 per month + free shipping or use our coupon to save:
If I sign up today, when will my first box arrive?
We double checked with KiwiCo, and as of this article's publication date, they are shipping on their regular schedule. If you sign up today, your first box should come within a week.
How many projects come in each box?
Before we get too ahead of ourselves, let's take a look at the first box you'll receive from Atlas Crate. It'll lay the foundation for future boxes. Here's what to expect:
- "The World" theme
- An Adventure Book that you'll keep and add to each month
- An introduction to Anya the Cricket and Milo the Sandpiper, recurring characters in Atlas Crate
- Materials to make a spinning globe DIY, with easy-to-follow instructions
- A world map and key, with some educational activities
Read our review of "The World" themed box for more photos and info.
Subsequent Atlas Crates tend to be a little more project-focused, and will include the following:
- A new featured country theme
- 2 - 3 DIY projects, sometimes with multiple activities per project
- An instructional booklet that kids can follow
- Colorful information cards about the country featured that month, to be added to your Adventure Book
Each box also has a coordinating webpage that you can access through your account, which includes a couple of extra fun facts about that month's featured country, plus two book recommendations with links to their purchase pages on Amazon. Here's an example from the Peru month.
You usually don't need additional items from home to complete the projects, though sometimes the info cards include bonus projects such as recipes or extra crafts separate from what's included in the box. An example of that is in the Guatemala box—you'll see the info cards show a recipe for tortillas and a shopping list & instructions to make a mini Barrilete Gigante.
Can we talk about the learning angle? Will it keep my kid's interest?
Atlas Crate does a great job of sharing information that kids can relate to. The info cards share a lot about the types of food you'll find in each featured country, the art you'll see there, animals that are native to that country, and sports they play. Sure, they throw a little geography and history in there for good measure, too, but it's presented more in a "fun facts" type of way.
This subscription is all about creative learning, so a lot of the learning is done through crafting and DIYing. It's mostly assembly-type projects, featuring pre-cut wood panels that don't require glue, textile wrapping, threading, that type of thing. But occasionally you'll encounter a slightly messier activity that involves paint or food coloring or markers.
Don't worry, you'll have time to plan ahead for those messy activities—after your first delivery, you'll be able to preview shipments in your account before they arrive!
Ages 6-11 is a wide range. How does that work?
The activities are designed so that a child at the younger end of the 6-11 age range could complete them with the help of an older sibling or parent, and a kid at the older end of the age range could try each project on their own. Every project has enough to do to keep multiple pairs of hands busy, so siblings working together wouldn't have to take turns.
If you're unsure of how this would look for your family and want to try a box out before subscribing, you can always visit the KiwiCo shop to purchase a one-time box of your choosing! Here are the Atlas Crates sold individually. If you want, you can filter your search by age range, breaking it down by boxes appropriate for 5-8 year olds and 9-11 year olds—you'll notice that different Atlas Crate boxes fall in each sub-age-category, so you can get a sense of what types of activities might suit your child. Or, you could try a five-pack of classic Atlas Crates if you want to give this sub a solid go, but for a shorter length of time!
Good to know: If you buy a box from the shop and end up subscribing later, they will make sure that you don't receive that box again.
How long does do the projects take?
This answer varies depending on the month's projects and on your kid.
To complete all 2-3 projects per box in one sitting, it would take a couple of hours. But many families spread their projects out into several 15-30 minute activities. Alternatively, if your child completes everything in their box quickly and is looking for more to do, the KiwiCo website has a list of DIY ideas that are tagged with categories like "toddler science activities" and "environmental science crafts," and are also searchable.
Some boxes include activities that require little setup but offer lasting fun, as is the case with this game of Snakes and Ladders from the India box.
Does Atlas Crate lend itself to independent play?
Depending on your child's age and abilities, it very well may! Like I mentioned above, parents or older siblings of 6-8 year olds will likely need to be hands-on to help their child complete these projects. Kids in the 9-11 age range may be more likely to complete the projects sent in Atlas Crate independently.
Our reviewer Brandi completes these projects with her multiple kids and often indicates in her Atlas Crate reviews when she thinks a 6-year-old would need some assistance. Parents and caregivers know that each day brings something different in terms of their kid's attention span, mood, and enthusiasm for project-based learning, but for the most part Brandi finds that these projects keep her kids' interest and offer a fair balance of adult involvement vs. independent tasks. And, many projects lend themselves to solo follow-up play.
A great example is in the Germany box (read Brandi's review here). For some steps, she needed to help with assembly; for some, her older daughter (who is almost 6) was able to complete the tasks, and when it came to decorating the DIY cars, both her kids got really involved, giving her the chance to step away. As for the finished product? It's gotten so much use she's thinking they'll need to craft more cars soon!
The Kenya box (read Brandi's review here) included two projects, and Brandi decided to do each of them one-on-one with each of her kids. For the beaded bracelet, shown above, she let her daughter work solo to create her own design, then helped her tie it all together. For the binoculars, her younger son needed a lot of assistance piecing them together (though he is 3 1/2, so much younger than this box is intended for), but it gave him a sense of purpose to be involved, and he had a ball playing with the finished result with his sister after that.
Are you working from home and hoping this box will help keep your kid busy? These activities might be a bit too challenging for some kids to work on while their parent is focused on another task. That said, they make for a great way to engage after working hours, and provide something to look forward to in the evenings after a long day of other types of play.
Is there anything else we can do between boxes?
Take advantage of the extra projects suggested on each box's cards. As shown above, there is usually a recipe and an extra craft suggested in each box. If you have a stocked pantry and a box of craft supplies, you'll be all set—or you could order the things you'll need online.
Hop online and visit the Subscriptions page under your account. There you'll find a few extra ideas for ways to further engage with your monthly kits, including book recommendations that you could order for your kids to read.
Use the shipping box itself for DIYs. Here's a blog post from KiwiCo offering 3 ideas for reusing your Atlas Crate box—or you could get creative and help your kids come up with their own ideas. There are tons more ideas like this on the KiwiCo blog, too!
Finally, if you just straight up need more projects as soon as you can get your hands on them, visit the KiwiCo shop to buy more!
That's it for our summary of what to expect with the Atlas Crate box. Be sure to check out our Kiwi Crate overview if you have kids ages 5-8, and keep an eye out for more articles outlining the rest of their line for other age ranges.
And, don’t forget to read our monthly Atlas Crate reviews to learn even more.
What are you doing to keep your kids active and learning while at home? Any other ideas or thoughts to share? Tell us in the comments!