Getting children involved in STEAM-related pursuits is a great way to get them to engage in creative thinking, boost problem-solving skills, and spend time away from a phone or video game console. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics. Video gaming isn’t inherently harmful but can have negative effects when played excessively.
What if you can’t decide on interesting STEAM projects for your child to try? It can be frustrating spending time and money on materials and equipment only for them to go unused. This is where Kiwico comes in. Kiwico is a crate delivery company that, through a monthly subscription, sends a project kit with everything needed to complete it. Read our Kiwico review to learn more.
What Does Kiwico Provide?
Kiwico has several different programs and plans that it offers, based on the age of the child. Although there is some overlap in age groups, each program has enough in the way of variance to keep it interesting. Here’s a broad outline of the subscription packages we found that Kiwico offers:
Each of these crate subscriptions is designed for a different age group, packaged with toys and activities that stimulate curiosity and scientific discovery, as well as brain power, geared to that age group. For example, the Cricket or Tadpole Crate works best on children up to 3 years old. It comes with a variety of coloring books, age-safe games, and picture books.
At the other end of the scale, the Doodle and Tinker crates are geared for the 9 - 16 year age group. You can find arts and craft projects with all the relevant parts, though you may have to supply some of your tools. We’ve seen kits to build a miniature motorcycle, a catapult, and more from the Tinker Crate.
The Doodle Crate, meanwhile, inspires art. With a sketchpad, colored pencils, acrylics, and other media, your child can create their drawings and paintings. In the Atlas crate, you get items that focus on expanding children’s geography and culture knowledge.
Although the crate plans are grouped by age, you have to remember that everyone develops differently, and certain activities might be more or less challenging than for another child of the same age. It’s best to figure out what your child knows and is comfortable with before deciding on a crate plan from Kiwico.
How Kiwico Designs Its Products
“So why should I pick a crate from Kiwico?” you might be asking. Each crate gets designed and picked out in-house, tailor-made to ensure maximum enjoyment and learning opportunities. Kiwico employs a staff consisting not of marketing experts, but of former educators and child psychologists that have decades of combined experience.
Kiwico also enlists engineers to ensure the contents of each crate are fun, safe, and functional. This holds especially true for the Tinker Crate.
Therefore, they understand how children’s brains and personalities develop through play and learning. Each crate takes 1,000 hours to design, according to the company’s webpage and undergoes rigorous testing before it’s sent to manufacturing. The company states that they have children testing the finished products as well to ensure that they’re enjoyable.
Even if you don’t purchase a crate plan from Kiwico, the company also has a wealth of DIY project suggestions on its website. You can watch short video clips demonstrating and providing instructions on how to do these. Overall, the website is very clean, well-organized, and has a wealth of topics and project ideas for children of all ages.
To get started with Kiwico, all you have to do is go to the website and sign up, then pick a crate to which you want to subscribe. You can pick multiple ones as well if you have more than one child so that all of them can enjoy the fun. Next, you’ll pick a subscription period, such as three months, six months, or a year initially.
Each crate gets sent to you automatically, and you can cancel the service anytime you want if you decide it isn’t for you.
In our Kiwico review, we can’t forget about the cost. The pricing of Kiwico crates is quite reasonable and it depends on the length of your subscription. For example, a monthly Kiwico subscription costs about $16.95. The exception is the Cricket/Tadpole subscription; this one costs $19.95 per month, and it requires at least a three-month commitment.
You can pay online with most major credit cards or with PayPal, and you can have the payment automatically debited from your account each month upon shipment.
Kiwico understands the value of saving money, so there are plenty of opportunities to collect coupons. The website has a section devoted to pointing you toward current savings. All you have to do is click on the coupon, download it, and use promotional codes. For example, you might see a 30% off coupon for the Atlas crate or a gift card for a three-month free subscription.
Each crate arrives in a clearly-labeled box, so you instantly know what it is. The Kiwico logo is easily visible, and you can request either standard or overnight shipping. Special shipping options cost more, but these prices will vary depending on where you are and the weight of the package.
In the box, everything is very clearly marked and present, but it would be better if there were some more packaging filler. Having everything loose in the box means that it’s possible for items to get damaged during shipment. More fragile packages might have extra padding, though.
Within the continental United States, you can expect your Kiwico crate to be delivered in 5 - 8 days from the date you order it, or in the case of a subscription, the date of your billing.
We haven’t been able to find any information directly on customer service, but the Kiwico website has a help center that explains most of what you would need to know about the service. They also provide links to helpful resources about fostering your child’s development.
Contacting Kiwico is easy; you can email the company, call, or locate them on social media.
Although Kiwico has an excellent, well-regarded and versatile service, if your child has more detailed or specialized interests you might be interested in subscription services that provide projects based on that particular niche. We’ll take a look at some of the most well-known services.
If your child is more at home with a keyboard and mouse than a swingset and bicycle, you might want to look into Bitsbox. Bitsbox is a crate service that’s intended for children from 6 to 12 years old. It provides instructions on how to program a specific app. The child can take the code and subtly alter it to give the final program their personal touch.
Bitsbox has a subscription price of $16.95 per month.
What if your child seems to gravitate toward the kitchen? In this case, the Foodstirs crate service might be a good investment. Each month, you get a box with tasty recipes made with entirely organic, non-GMO ingredients. Not only can your child learn to bake desserts, but they can do so with healthy ingredients and little harm to the environment.
The pricing is a little higher than Kiwico, at $24.99 for a single month and $22.01 for a 12-month kit.
Do you want your child to be able to learn about the world as a whole and of culture, rather than any specific skill set? Try out Little Passports. With this subscription, you can receive packets and activities with information about world cultures. These can include fun history facts, guided virtual tours, and more. Like other services, it comes with its subscription plans.
For example, you could get the World Edition which focuses on cultures all over the world. The States Edition meanwhile focuses specifically on the United States. The Science Expeditions package provides information about different scientific disciplines.
Generally, monthly subscription packages from Little Passports start at $12.95. If you have coupons, you can also apply them for additional savings.
Getting the Most Out of Crate Services
The best way to get the most out of your crate services is to plan when you’ll spend time with your child to participate in each activity. Although the crates often have enough to keep them occupied for the whole month, children often benefit from some structure. Having scheduled interaction with children can provide opportunities for learning.
However, you don’t want to go too far in the other extreme. There is value in spontaneity. When learning becomes rote, it can take all the joy out of the experience. This is why some more free-form educational models exist.
Although each crate from Kiwico and other companies is designed with the child’s expected development in mind, it’s still important to supervise activities. If your child has to work with anything sharp, hot, or (in the case of the builds) electrical, these elements can pose a safety risk.
Ensure that the tools being used are safe and appropriate. If you have concerns, handle the difficult parts of the task yourself and all the child to watch you do so. As his hand dexterity or strength grows, he can begin to manipulate larger or more powerful hand tools. It’s also a good opportunity to emphasize tool safety.
Keep an Open Mind
The Kiwico team works hard to create engaging projects, and each is created with a unisex mindset. Even if something seems traditionally intended for one gender, allow your child to explore and find out what they enjoy. Letting a boy learn to sew or letting a girl learn to build a robot can provide a jumpstart to healthy development.
It is also important to allow children to pursue and develop interests without confining them to any specific activities, provided the activity is appropriate for age and development level. Because every child is different and matures differently, there is no catch-all level for any aspect of development or difficulty in hobbies.
Why Learn STEAM?
Learning about science, technology, engineering, arts, and math encourages the brain to look at problems in different ways, as well as helps to explore creativity. Science influences everything about the world, and letting a child experience and learn about the natural world provides a foundation for understanding science.
Physics, chemistry, biology, astronomy, and other natural sciences can be sources of wonder.
If a young boy or girl has an aptitude for building things or likes to watch ‘how it’s made’-type shows, learning about engineering is an excellent way to gain more in-depth knowledge. Also, some of the building kits offered by Kiwico can foster a sense of accomplishment from building a project and following it through to completion.
Learning about technology is vital. As the world becomes more interconnected, computers are increasingly prevalent in society. Fostering an understanding of technology at a young age can instill an aptitude for developing or using computers, such as learning programming languages or designing websites.
Childhood should be a time of play and enjoyment, but there isn’t any harm in making sure that play is educational and provides a long-term sense of reward. While there’s a short burst of dopamine from getting that hard achievement on Fortnite, it doesn’t lead to long-term satisfaction.
In our Kiwico review, our goal is to give you as much information you need to make a confident decision about choosing to use the STEAM service. If you want to try out a service that provides a wide range of fun, educational activities, Kiwico is probably one of the better options out there. It offers everything from science to cooking to geography and engineering. Best of all, the price is low enough that it doesn’t have to break your bank account.
For less than the cost of a meal out, you can provide months or years of entertainment.
Featured Image Source: Pixabay.com