It’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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
- 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.