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kiwi cratesIt’s very nearly that time of year, when many parents panic just a little bit, about what to do with their kids all summer.  Yes, very soon, school will be out and providing activities that are fun AND worthwhile can be a challenge in our technology-soaked world.  Engaging minds and keeping hands busy with productive projects takes a lot of planning and preparation, so that the activity can be easily completed and so the supplies and materials are already on-hand when they’re needed.  What a delight to discover Kiwi Crate, who not only understands the need, but solves it with a great deal of expertise.

When our bright green “crate” arrived at the front door, my 10-year-old was doing a little happy dance.  Kiwi Crates are designed with kids aged 3-7 in mind, but if a project involves Science or Arts and Crafts, you can bet our 5th grader is going to be front and center, ready to tackle it.  And when it involves both, don’t stand in her path!  :)  She was particularly excited because she knew we were receiving a Kiwi Garden Crate for this review.  With all the excitement in our house surrounding gardening and growing our own healthy food, she was already enthusiastic about the possible projects.  When we opened the sturdy box (crate) she nearly swooned.  Combine three of her favorite things — presents, gardening and crafts and you will have landed on exactly what the Kiwi Garden Crate is all about.

open box

A brand new pair of scissors, a gift card and tissue-wrapped contents, beckoning like a special birthday gift, with the stickers inside the lid giving a hint of what was waiting inside.

My first thought, as we opened the box, was how well packaged the kit is.  The green “crate” is a very sturdy cardboard constructed case that is re-closeable.  It will be simple to store kits, this ones and future ones, stacked neatly in a small amount of space or to use their boxes to store other school and art supplies or puzzle pieces or to create art projects or…you get the drift.  This isn’t your average waste of space, coming apart at the seams, box from a kid’s game or kit.  Rather than spending big bucks on flashy commercial graphics for the outside, and the cheapest possible paper, Kiwi Crates focused on being sure it was durable, reusable and useful.  I like that.

inside

Lifting away the tissue paper wrapping to see what was inside.

Lifting the lid revealed contents that were packaged more like a gift than an educational kit.  It produced a squeal of delight from our youngest crafter to find everything neatly wrapped in lime green tissue paper, fastened with a cute kiwi sticker and a sweet gift card and a pair of scissors on top of it all.  The stickers on the inside of the lid were enough of a “teaser” to let her know what the kit was all about and she couldn’t wait to dig in!  Building enthusiasm and anticipation — hmmm…I like that.

project materials

High quality, materials plus instructions for completing two science/art projects.

Folding back the tissue paper, revealed the contents of our crate — two thick fiberboard flower pots, three packages of Crayola air-dry modeling clay, pipe cleaners, punch-out flowers and veggies, colored pencils, soil pellets, squash seeds, bean seeds, a window garden “pouch”, suction cup hooks, plant labels, label stickers, an eye dropper, an observation journal, the aforementioned scissors, detailed picture tutorial instructions for completing both the flower pots and the window garden project, and a pamphlet containing follow-up instructions for transplanting the seedlings to an outdoor garden, as well as recipes to prepare both the squash and the beans, at harvest time.  Not one time, throughout the process of working on these projects, did I have to run to find something to help us finish.  Every needed item was included in the kit with no guessing, substituting or tracking things down, left to Mom.  When Kiwi Crates says, “Hands-on fun delivered right to your door….All materials and inspiration included.” they really mean it.  I love that!

reading

Reading instructions and getting started.

 

clay

Decorating the flower pots with air-dry modeling clay.

 

pots

One-of-a-kind, hand decorated and designed flower pots. :)

 

With your younger children, you will probably need to be a little more hands-on than was necessary with our 10-year-old, who could read through the instructions on her own.  But even younger children will be able to handle these projects and put their own creative imaginations to work, once you set the process in motion.  Our happy gardener plunged in and enthusiastically completed both projects.  She continues to water and tend her window garden, anticipating the day she can move tiny seedlings to our vegetable garden, outside.  In the meantime, she is recording the seeds’ progress in the observation journal and learning about seed germination, plant parts and more in the process.  I love that his kit is so interactive, teaches AND incorporates fun into the educational process.  Yes, yes I do.  I really like that.  :)

veggies

Paper flowers and veggies "growing" in the newly decorated pots.

 

seeds

The soil pellets have been expanded by watering, the bean and squash seeds are carefully planted, each in their own compartment and the "window garden" is ready to be hung in the window on the suction cup hangers, included in the Kiwi Crate.

Kiwi Crates are available through their website subscription service.  You can subscribe on a month-to-month basis or for an entire year.  A one-month subscription is $19.95 and you can have supplies for a second child added to the kit for only $7.95.  (Our kit had a nice supply of “leftover ingredients” that will be used on other projects, too.)  I know that you’re all budget-conscious, like me, and you need to be sure you get the best value for every dollar you spend.  With that in mind, I did a little experiment of my own.  I shopped our local Walmart for some of the “ingredients” included in the kit.

  • scissors…………………………………………..$1.99
  • seed starter pellets…………………………..$4.99 (the smallest package of them I could purchase)
  • bean seeds………………………………………$0.99
  • squash seeds……………………………………$0.99
  • Crayola modeling clay………………………$7.99 (not available at our Walmart – smallest pack I found online with all 3 colors)
  • pipe cleaners……………………………………$2.19
  • suction cup hooks…………………………….$3.89
  • fiberboard flower pots……………………..$3.00 (I found nothing in-store or online that resembled these heavy-duty pressed-board type pots.  So, I’m guessing.)
  • plant T-labels…………………………………..$4.19

I’m already at OVER $30 and haven’t priced everything included in this kit.  Plus, I would have had to track down each item on my own, some of which I was unable to find anywhere, others that were not available locally, but could be found online.  If you’re like me, you don’t have that kind of time to invest in tracking down everything for a fun project like this.  And for me to assemble the same materials would cost much more than the subscription price Kiwi Crates is asking.  Do I think these high-quality educational kits are a good value?  Without a doubt!  Not only do they go to the trouble of collecting EVERYTHING I need and provide it more affordably than I can get it myself, they also deliver it right to my front door!  How can I beat that?  I hope you’ll visit the Kiwi Crate website to start a subscription for your own kids’ summer fun learning!

Kiwi Crate has generously consented to host a giveaway for a Kiwi Crate Space Crate.  One lucky Busy-at-Home reader will be able to have it delivered right to their door!  Use the Rafflecopter form, below, to enter the drawing before midnight on May 20, 2012.  Be sure to read the instructions in the first entry.  Commenting on this post with which kit, from Kiwi Crates, you think looks fun and who would use it at your house, is the only mandatory entry.



a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

I received a Kiwi Crate Garden Crate in order to test the products and write this review.  No monetary compensation was received and a positive review was not required.  As with all Busy-at-Home reviews, the views and opinions expressed are wholly my own and based on my personal experience with the product.  While Busy-at-Home administers the giveaway and randomly selects the winner, the prize is provided by Kiwi Crate.

39 Responses to Kiwi Crates: High Quality, Fun & Creative Hands-on Kids’ Activity Kits: Review & Giveaway

  1. susan says:

    The Gardening Crate looks like fun for my little one! He loves getting his hands dirty.

  2. Maralea says:

    Window Garden Growing would be a fun project for the Grandkids!

  3. LilyatIW says:

    Those are really cool. Every kid would love that.

  4. Kathy Murphy says:

    I would choose the window gardening growing kit for my son. He loves to garden.

  5. Kristin says:

    I like the Gardening Crate best and I am sure little Gracie will love it too!

  6. amy marantino says:

    The Gardening Crate… to be used by by niece

  7. Michelle says:

    I think my son would love the Window Garden Growing Crate.

  8. Sandy S says:

    If I were a child, I would be loving every single project! The gardening crate would be hard for the adult child to leave to the kids. My granddaughter lives in another state and sending this to her would be wonderful, very very wonderful!

    • Sandy, you are SOOO right about that! And what a great gift idea, to give a Kiwi Crate subscription! That would be so much more fun and personal than just a check in a card!

  9. Lily says:

    What a great idea! Glad I checked in-

  10. Darcie K. says:

    My daughter would love the Colorful Inspiration crate!

  11. chelesa sims says:

    my daughter would love the flower pot gardening crate

  12. andrea says:

    I like the gardening crate. very cute

  13. Kiwi Jen says:

    Hi Glenda,

    Wow — thank you so much for this awesome review of the garden crate! It looks like your daughter had a great time working her “green thumb” — and what a smart idea to make words on the flower pots!

  14. Janine says:

    How fun, My son would LOVE to do something like this!

  15. Karen says:

    Color crate, used by my little artist, my 6yo daughter

  16. Laura says:

    We love Kiwi Crate! It’s nice to have all the supplies for great crafts and learning activities come in one box!

  17. Kimberly says:

    All of them look fantastic! Definitely would enjoy the gardening kit for my boys!

  18. Maria R says:

    The Colors crate looks fun, my 2 kids would love it.

  19. Lori says:

    All the crates look fabulous! The gardening crate would be very timely right now.

  20. NerdMom says:

    I would totally go with the gardening crate! My kids would love it!

  21. Terri says:

    The gardening crates look like so much fun!

  22. Lisa Garrett says:

    I like the Discover Dinosaurs

  23. Sue D says:

    I like the gardening crate and would use it with my granddaughter.

  24. Kara Norris says:

    I would love for my 4 yr old to get the gardening kit! Looks like a lot of fun and really cool that the seeds grow in a suction cup window bag!

  25. erin arnold says:

    the garden crate looks amaze! my 3 year old girl loves watering the plants in our backyard patio – even in the rain. coming from a family of farmers this shouldn’t surprise me.

  26. nannypanpan says:

    i like designing flower pots for my son
    nannypanpan@gmail.com

  27. julie says:

    My son would like the spinning colors crate

  28. Holly S. says:

    Either the Window Garden Growing crate or the Stained Glass Windows crate. I have a boy and a girl and either of these would appeal to both of them. Thanks!

  29. Glenna F says:

    My son would love the Dinosaurs Crate.

  30. Amanda says:

    We love Kiwi Crate! My daughter loved her pirate crate!

  31. I love the Dinosaur Crate – so cute!

  32. april yedinak says:

    Under the Sea looks so fun for my 7 year old daughter.

  33. The dinosaur crate looks fun for nephew.

  34. Nicole Sender says:

    I like Discover Dinosaurs Kiwi Crate!

  35. LeeAnn says:

    My daughter would love the Colors Crate!

  36. Michelle Tucker says:

    I think the Dinosaurs crate would be wonderful for my husbands little cousin. He’d enjoy it so much!
    Michelle

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