Kiwi Crate (Ages 5-8): What To Know Before You Sign Up
My Experience With A 5 Year Old While WFH
We recently re-started our Kiwi Crate subscription, and I was thrilled to see we have another box arriving this week. We are very much in need of entertainment now that school is canceled and I'm working from home! My son Bennett (5, in Pre-K) loves these projects and is absolutely thrilled whenever a new box shows up.
We're seeing lots of parents signing up for this service lately to help give their kids something to do at home, so I thought it would be helpful to take a look through our past projects and answer some common questions about Kiwi Crate. When will it arrive? Are the projects complicated? Everything you need to know is below.
If you're thinking of signing up for Kiwi Crate to help keep your kids entertained, here's what you can expect and how you can plan to maximize the playtime you'll get from this subscription.
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If I sign up now, when will I get my first box?
We checked with KiwiCo, and they are currently (as of publication date) shipping on their regular schedule. If you sign up now, you should get your first box within a week.
How many activities are in each box?
I'd break Kiwi Crate boxes down as follows. Each box contains:
- 2 - 3 things for your child to build, or experiments/activities to try
- An instructional booklet
- An educational magazine that helps explain the concepts in more depth and usually includes paper activities like mazes, connect the dots, and comics
Each box also has a page that you can access through your account, which includes a video tutorial and some bonus ideas to try with that month's box.
You typically do not need additional items from home, although some old newspaper to cover your table for the messier crafts isn't a bad idea.
Uh oh, did you say messy? What kinds of projects can I expect?
Most boxes really aren't messy, but they all have some kind of "assembly" component. Many crates will feature items you build from laser-cut wood panels, which come together pretty quickly and aren't messy at all.
Some boxes will include food coloring, paint, or colored markers. I think this helps keep it interesting: it's well balanced, and you'll get boxes you enjoy no matter if your kid is more into painting and being creative or building LEGO and racing cars.
After your first box, you can preview your future shipments in your account– so you can prepare accordingly.
Can I choose which project I receive first?
Kiwi Crate keeps many boxes in their active rotation, so there is no guarantee which box you'll receive first. If you are inclined to choose a specific project to try first, many crates are available to buy without subscription from the KiwiCo shop! They even have a five-pack of classic crates available, which would definitely keep you busy and well-stocked on projects for the coming weeks.
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 much time do the projects take to complete?
This really depends on the projects themselves and on your child!
In my experience, most of the building projects take about 15-20 minutes each, and there are 2-3 projects in each box. You can do a quick project if you only have a few minutes, or sit down and do all of the activities within a box in about an hour (not including the additional activities in the magazine that might incorporate more items from home).
The Fun With Flight box shown below (read Brandi's review here) is a great example of a relatively quick assembly process for the main stomp rocket project, but he played with this toy for hours on end in the following weeks.
Is Kiwi Crate good for independent play?
This depends on the age and abilities of your child, as well as each specific box. Parents of 5-6 year olds should be prepared to be very involved. If your children are older, they may enjoy completing the projects in these boxes more independently.
Bennett is at the youngest age range recommended for Kiwi Crate, so he definitely needs my help. I typically read the instructions to explain each step, and we look at the illustrations together, and he sets up and completes each step with my help. Depending on his attention span on any given day, he might be really into doing things himself or might need smaller tasks like "find all the orange pieces" to help him focus. Some of the assemblies can be tricky, so it is super important to read the steps carefully so I can help him to be successful!
Generally though, I find Kiwi is pretty balanced here about parent involvement, and lots of boxes include both things to work on with your child, and follow-up play they can do on their own.
Capillary Action (read Brandi's review here) is a good example of a box that contains both. Bennett and I did the capillary action craft together. While we waited for the colored water to be sucked up into the flowers, we assembled the Balancing Tree game. He happily sat at our kitchen table for a good 30 minutes afterward, playing with balancing leaves and imitating natural disasters (while I cooked dinner in the background).
Rainbow Optics (read Brandi's review here) was another great box for both collaborative and independent play. I had to help assemble the light blending container shown above and a projection screen (the second project, not shown), but from there my son was off to the races with the little LED lights included. He had a lot of fun playing with the screen and drawing new shapes to play with the shadows.
Working from home and looking for ways to keep your child busy? With a 5 year old, these are too challenging and require too much of my help to do during my workday while I work from home. However, they are excellent engaging projects that we can do after work to reconnect and try to limit the "bouncing off the walls out of boredom" time that seems to start every day around 5 PM.
What else can I do between deliveries?
First, I definitely recommend reading the Explore magazine! There are often ideas for additional projects related to each month's theme, which are variations of activities you've already done with the core box, or simple experiments you can do with items you might already have at home.
Then, head online and visit the Subscriptions page under your account. Each box has a few additional ideas for ways to play and engage with each monthly kit:
KiwiCo's blog also features a variety of DIY projects for kids, and you don't have to be a subscriber to check it out. Categories include toddler science experiments and toddler crafts for example (many of these look like good options for items you may already have at home!)
I'd also recommend their YouTube channel, which has helpful playlists like this one of projects that are easy to do with items you probably already have at home. And of course there is always the KiwiCo shop if you simply want more projects delivered ASAP!
That wraps up this summary of what to expect with your first Kiwi Crate box! Look out for more articles talking about the rest of their line for other age ranges soon.
Be sure to check out our latest Kiwi Crate reviews if you want to see even more.
How are you keeping your kids active and learning while at home? Any other suggestions or feedback to share? Let us know in the comments!