KiwiCo is a company that ships out monthly crates to children which feature STEM or Arts and Crafts activities. They have different crates for different age groups starting at newborn and going up to later teens. My own children are 10 and 12. So they are trying out the Doodle Crate and Tinker Crate subscriptions. My daughter loves art. So the Doodle Crate, which features arts and crafts activities goes to her. Then the Tinker Crate, which has STEM activities, goes to my son. The crate subscriptions currently cost $19.95 a month, although we started for a lower cost due to a Christmas sale. So what do we think? Read On!
The Doodle Crate comes with a different arts and crafts project each month. Each project takes 2 hours to complete, more or less.
The first crate my daughter received had her building a succulent plant garden with felt and clay. Each plant she made in the garden mimicked a real-life plant. The instruction manual gave her information about each plant as she was building them. The clay was in the kit to allow her to create a statue decoration for the garden. She really enjoyed the activity and learned about a few succulent plants along the way.
The next crate she received had her building a string of lighted embossed paper lanterns that were based on the designs of Moroccan metal lanterns. She put a string of Christmas tree style lights inside a series of paper lanterns she embossed with various patterns. The lanterns also used colored paper on the inside to change the color of the light coming out of the lanterns.
So, in the first month she learned a little plant biology and in the second month she learned about Moroccan culture. It’s a very eclectic series of subjects.
My daughter really enjoyed the projects and is looking forward to the upcoming ones. She likes decorating her room with the things she has made so far.
The Tinker Crate comes with STEM activities. My son is doing these ones. Once again, each crate take about 2 hours of work to complete. Unlike the Doodle Crate, the Tinker Crates come with a little booklet that talks about the STEM information utilized in the project. The booklets explain the background concepts involved and then provide ideas for further experimentation. They also give some recommended books to read based on that month’s topic.
The first project he built was an electronic paint spinner which created spin art. The spinner required some simple wiring and even made use of resistors. Thus, during the course of building the paint spinner he learned that resistors slow down electric current. That’s some pretty cool knowledge to pick up incidentally while having fun. He made spin art for all his family members with the various colors that came in the kit.
The next crate he did was building an LED light that changed colors based on which switches were activated. The switches caused the LED light to glow red, green, or blue. He can also combine switches to see what colors results by mixing those light colors. If all three switches are activated at once, white light results. The booklet that came with the project explained that this is how our eyes process light. They see red, green, and blue mixed together to make all the colors that we can see. Once again, he had to wire up the device. The device also made use of two different strengths of resistors. This one he had to get my help on attaching one of the resistors which didn’t want to go into the wires it needed to. Luckily, the crate comes with extras of the resistors so that when he broke a couple he still had enough to finish the project.
My son rates these projects as a 9 out of 10 on his fun scale.
Teacher/ Parent Recommendation
I think these crates are a wonderful idea for children. They’re too expensive to use with a class of students, but they are perfect for families. If the Doodle and Tinker Crates are representative of the quality of all the different crates across the age levels, I highly recommend them. They are much a higher quality product than I was expecting. They are well thought out projects. They are also projects that you would probably never figure out a way to do on your own. The fact that they come once a month gives children something to look forward to. So to conclude, I highly recommend them!