Our 10 Favorite Monthly Subscription Boxes for Kids

Warmer temperatures, the smell of sunscreen on just about everything, and no more early mornings rushing to catch the school bus… hellooooo summer!!

 

The fast-approaching lazy days of summer break probably already have your kids bouncing off the walls with excitement.

But, if you’re anything like me, this time of year might not fill you with the same joy that it does your kids.

It’s not that I don’t like summer, I do!! But as the school year comes to a close, I often find myself panicked thinking about how in the world I’m going to keep my kids occupied and entertained for the next three months.

Sure, there’s summer camp and pool days and, let’s be honest, thank goodness for Netflix…but without the proper planning, summer break as a parent can often feel never-ending and stagnant.

Last summer, I found myself in a constant battle with my kids trying to pry them away from their tablets and video games on a daily basis.

I’m pretty sure I threatened them by screaming that their eyes were going to literally rot out of their heads if they didn’t put down their iPads.

Not my finest parenting moment, I’ll admit.

And unfortunately, even when I actually won one of these battles and got them away from their screens for a bit, I would quickly realize that it wasn’t really a win because then I had to deal with the constant, “Mom, I’m BOREDDDD!”

Now, I would never admit this to my kids but, they were right…the summer weeks that weren’t filled with camps or playdates, were kind of boring after I took away their video games iPads.

Of course, that was only after we had exhausted every Pinterest-worthy DIY craft and experiment; we had been to the park so many times that I lost count; and we all needed a break from the pool thanks to ear infections and crispy, sunburnt skin.

So, once I limited their time spent on video games and iPads, I was at a loss for how to beat the boredom.

I needed to come up with something that they could look forward to, something different and interactive that would fill time in between video gaming.

And that’s when the Gods of Summer Boredom shone down on me while I was scouring the internet for ‘summer activity ideas’ and an ad for monthly subscription boxes for kids popped up.

Bingo!

What are monthly subscription boxes for kids?

I immediately clicked on that ad and started researching more about these magical little boxes.

My research helped me to understand that monthly subscription boxes for kids were not unlike the plethora of monthly subscription boxes available for adults – except these kid-friendly boxes were filled with awesome products, toys, and activities geared specifically for my little ones.

I quickly began signing up for as many monthly subscription boxes as I could find, choosing everything from STEM boxes to reading boxes to cooking boxes and more.

And let me tell you, when that first box arrived, it was like Christmas in July!

I mean, who doesn’t love getting mail?!

Even as an adult, getting mail is a huge treat (assuming it has nothing to do with bills, obviously)!  I’ve even been known to quite literally do a little happy dance when my Birchbox arrives each month.

And I quickly discovered that for my kids, getting mail or packages with their name on it brought on multiple full-blown happy dances and jumping for joy moments – even if they had no idea what was actually inside that package.

Which meant that the mere arrival of the first subscription box was an event in and of itself!

Nowadays, subscription boxes of all kinds are so trendy and popular that the choices are pretty endless – there is truly something for everyone, no matter what age!

As far as kids’ boxes go, there are boxes focused on science, crafts, reading, sports, technology, even empowering women focused boxes!

And the best part?

These monthly subscription boxes are truly the gift that keeps on giving since your kids end up having something to look forward to each month!

Or, in my kids case last summer, they had about ten boxes to look forward to each month!

Don’t worry, I eventually cancelled most of them after summer ended and my panic about keeping them entertained subsided – but we definitely still subscribe to a couple of their favorites and they still look forward to those boxes arriving every single month, even a year later.

Interested in finding a monthly subscription box that’s just right for your little ones?

Well, lucky for you, I’ve tried out TONS of different monthly subscription boxes and am here to offer you some guidance based on my own personal experiences!

I’ve compiled a list of my top ten favorite monthly subscription boxes for kids to help you find a subscription service that’s the perfect fit for your individual kids interests and needs!

And even if you’re not in the market for a subscription box for your own children, these make awesome gifts for friends and family!!

Side Note: While the subscription boxes that I’m recommending all vary in the ages that they are suitable for, the prices, and the theme/idea behind each box, they all have several common factors:

  • Great customer service
  • Easy online ordering
  • Some level of customizability
  • Quality materials/contents

Rather than repeating myself with each description below, I thought it would be easier to let you know that these qualities listed above are things that I looked for in all of the subscription boxes that I’ve tried and will be recommending to you!  Any subscription services that did not have good customer service or easy online ordering (in my experience) were unfortunately left off of this list, regardless of how great the box was.

Koala Crate – $19.95/month

koala crate subscription boxGenre: Creative Play

Ages: 2-5yrs

While it may seem like less of a struggle to keep your toddler-aged children entertained and engaged than it is with the older ones, preschool aged kids benefit so much from creative play and activities!  Koala Crate delivers everything you need to offer your toddler several fun, hands-on learning experiences each month.

Each box comes with:

  • Materials for 2-3 activities
  • An activity guide for parents
  • A copy of Imagine! Magazine
  • Access to online tutorials with tips and tricks for DIY fun

Every box has a different theme like reptiles, little artists, or transportation with all of the activities and materials focused on that particular theme for the month.  Plus, most of the activities and crafts offer continuous entertainment long after the project is over!  Choose from monthly deliveries or 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month packages.

My Pretend Place – $56/box

my pretend place subscription boxGenre: Dramatic Play

Ages: 2-6yrs

My Pretend Place is the perfect box for the little drama king or queen in your family!  Whether you choose to receive a box every month or every three months, each box comes with everything your child needs to get into character and live-out a fun, pretend scenario like a magician, an astronaut, a firefighter, a Rockstar, etc.

Each box comes with:

  • a fully accessorized costume
  • a book to go along with the theme and inspire creativity
  • a craft or activity related to the theme (and the materials for the activity)

Sometimes the boxes even come with snacks that fits into the theme of the box!

What I really loved about My Pretend Place was the ability to select boy, girl, or gender-neutral costumes and the personalized letter that they send to your child with each box.  The letter is from a fictional character that helps to kick-off the ‘pretending’ and initiate the themed scenario.

For example, one box came with a magician’s costume complete with a cape, wand, hat, and magic trick accessories including a booklet that gave step-by-step instructions for how to do several magic tricks.  The box also included a fictional book relating to magic, all of the tools and items needed to perform a variety of magic tricks, and a sticker activity sheet.

Another bonus of this service is that (if you choose to receive a box every 3-months) during the months when no boxes are sent, My Pretend Place sends letters and suggestions for activities to keep the creative scenario-based play going!  So much fun!!

Kiwi Crate – $19.99/month

Kiwi monthly subscriptionGenre: STEM + Art

Ages: 5-8yrs

Kiwi Crate is a favorite in my family and delivers creative activities focused on STEM and the arts.  Each month, your kids get a themed box that provides all the materials needed to complete 2-3 different activities/projects.  The themes are always interesting and have included: Arcade, Fun with Flight, Glowing Animals, Lemonade Stand, and Treasure Hunt, to name a few.

Each box comes with:

  • Materials for 2-3 activities
  • An activity guide for parents
  • A copy of Imagine! Magazine
  • Access to online tutorials with tips and tricks for DIY fun

We love Kiwi Crate because the themes are incredibly creative and designed to really help kids discover, explore, and interact with the world around them.  These boxes never fail to keep my kids totally engaged for hours at a time!! Choose from monthly deliveries or 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month packages.

Groovy Lab in a Box – $26.95/month

Groovy Lab Subscription BoxGenre: STEM + Engineering

Ages: 10 – 16yrs

STEM is all the rage these days – and with good reason!  STEM focuses on tangible science, technology, engineering, and math skills that will help your child succeed in a variety of endeavors throughout their lives.  And the Groovy Lab in a Box subscription service is the perfect way to help build these skills and encourage your kids to explore their curiosities through a variety of science experiments and engineering challenges.

Each box is focused on a different scientific principle with the contents of the box providing your kids everything they need to partake in hands-on fun that reinforces the specific concept and/or principle.

Each box comes with:

  • Everything you need to complete several activities and experiments – even the most basic materials like popsicle sticks and straws
  • A 20-page custom Lab Notebook to guide your kids through all of the STEM activities
  • An engineering design challenge
  • Beyond…in a Box, which is the online component where kids can extend their knowledge and learning on each month’s theme

These boxes are great for kids who love science or for kids who need a bit of enticing to get more excited about science and STEM!  Plus, these boxes will keep your kids busy for hours as it takes a fair amount of time to work through all of the activities/experiments!

According to the website, “Groovy Lab in a Box blends Scientific Inquiry and the Engineering Design Process, which allows children to create ingenious inventions, enhance critical problem-solving skills and have FUN!”  And they are spot-on with that claim – my kids LOVE these boxes and don’t even realize how much they are actually learning because it is all so fun!

Girls Can! Crate – $25.95/month and up

girls can crateGenre: Reading + Activities (STEM + Art)

Ages: 5-10yrs

Teaching our kids, especially our little girls, about gender equality and the fact that girls can do anything that boys can do, is often a difficult topic for parents to tackle.  Which is why Girls Can! Crates has come up with the perfect solution – a monthly subscription box celebrating a different fearless female role model to educate and show your kids that girls can be and do anything they set their minds to!

Each box comes with:

  • A 20-page Girls Can! Activity Book focused on a real woman’s story and how she made the world better (like film director Ava DuVernay, astronaut Mae Jemison, artist Frida Kahlo, etc.)
  • Creative play props to go along with the woman being honored in the box
  • 2-3 hands-on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, math) activities related to the woman of the month and the materials needed to complete the activity
  • A focus character trait of the woman of the month and tips for parents to help foster that trait

These boxes tackle really tough issues, like gender stereotypes, in a really fun and empowering way.  And while these boxes tend to be more popular with girls, I think that it completely appropriate to order these boxes for boys in an effort to educate them about strong females!!

Added bonus: 10 percent of the proceeds go to local nonprofits that help girls succeed.

Bitsbox – $24.95/month and up

bits box subscriptionGenre: Technology + Coding

Ages: 6 – 12yrs

If your kids have an interest in technology (really, what kids don’t these days!), then Bitsbox is the perfect way to let your kids turn their love of technology into a valuable skill – coding!

Bitsbox not only helps your kids learn the language of coding but it allows them to actually write code and create their own personalized apps! Each month, your child will receive a themed box with a variety of coding and app creation projects to choose from, meaning that they can spend as much time as they want working on their Bitsbox creations.  Once your kids create an app, they can then use it on a variety of different devices!  Each month also ramps up the difficulty of the projects they send as your kids become more advanced at coding.

Bitsbox offers a Basic Box, a Deluxe Box (comes with some extras like stickers, tattoos, and trading cards), or a Digital Box (where you print the app creation booklets from a PDF delivered via email).

Bonus: if you have multiple tech-minded kids, they can share a subscription, meaning that there’s no need to buy multiple boxes!

KidStir – $15.95/month

bits box subscription boxGenre: Cooking

Ages: 4yrs. and up

I grew up in a home where food and cooking were at the heart of everything we did, and I have carried on that tradition with my own kids – they love to cook!  But half the time, I’m rushing to try and get dinner on the table and just don’t have time to give them ‘kid-friendly’ cooking tasks to help me.

With Kidstir, your kids will become amateur chefs and you will be assisting them for a change!  Each month, your kids will get a box focused on a different food theme with recipes, kid-sized cooking tools, a shopping list for ingredients, food-related games and puzzles, and educational reading material on food!  Plus, when you sign up, your kids will get their own recipe binder to continue adding recipes to!

Each box comes with:

  • 3 step-by-step recipes
  • 3 educational food pages
  • 2 kid-sized cooking tools
  • A digital and printed shopping list
  • 3 fun games/puzzles
  • An e-newsletter packed with recipes and printables

Kidstir monthly boxes are a great way to not only keep your kids occupied and entertained, but to teach them about health, nutrition, and a valuable life skill of learning how to cook!

Tinker Crate – $19.95/month

tinker crate subscription boxGenre: STEM + Engineering

Ages: 9-16yrs

Another amazing box from the makers of Koala Crate and Kiwi Crate, Tinker Crate is perfect for slightly older kids who are interested in getting some hands-on experience with science and engineering.  Each month, your box comes with all of the materials and inspiration that kids need to complete a STEM-based creation.  As a former teacher, I love these boxes because they truly encourage kids to use creative problem-solving and critical thinking skills in a very hands-on way.

Each box comes with:

  • Materials to create an exciting STEM project
  • A blueprint with detailed instructions
  • A copy of Tinker Zine with additional experiments and projects
  • Access to online video tutorials with tips and tricks

Tinker Crate truly encourages creative thinking and learning – and it’s so much fun that your kids won’t even know they are doing something ‘educational’!! Choose from monthly deliveries or 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month packages.

Reading Bug Box – $27.99/month & up

reading bug box subscription boxGenre: Reading

Ages: ALL ages from newborns to teens

I was a total bookworm growing up and loved going to the bookstore for hours on end to find the perfect books to bury myself in.  But nowadays, it can be tough to get kids excited about reading with all the technological distractions that exist – which is why Reading Bug Box is the perfect solution to foster a serious love of reading in your kids!

Each month, Reading Bug Box will hand-select books for your child based on their reading level and interests and send those books along with additional little items like art supplies or props to help keep your readers engaged!

Each box comes with:

  • Several books curated to fit your child’s specific reading needs and interests, generally keeping with a theme each month
  • Several little gifts, gadgets, and extras matching the monthly theme and/or books
  • A monthly note that helps check your child’s reading progress and offers tips and activities

What’s so cool about this box is that it is incredibly personalized for your individual child and will grow with your child as their reading levels and interests change!  All of the books are hand-selected from a family-owned bookstore, The Reading Bug, in California!

Sensory TheraPlay – $39.95/month & up

Sensory Play Subscription Box

Genre: Activities + Crafts

Ages: 5-9yrs.

It can be a struggle to meet the creative needs of children with developmental delays, autism spectrum disorders, neurological impairments, hyperactivity, anxiety, or emotional disturbances but Sensory TheraPlay makes it so much easier!!

Designed by an occupational therapist, these monthly subscription boxes deliver a box filled with sensory toys and activities specifically for children who can benefit from therapeutic play.  And while these boxes are designed for children with autism/sensory needs in mind, children of all abilities can benefit from the contents which help develop sensory motor skills and stimulate the senses.

Expect things like slime, sensory foam, various bouncing, spinning, or glowing toys, creative activities – basically, a box filled with all kinds of engaging and fun sensory items!

Sports Box Co. – $26.99/month & up

Sports Co Subscription BoxGenre: Sports

Ages: 4yrs. – teens

If you have a young athlete or sports fan in the family, they will LOVE Sports Box Co. monthly subscription boxes!  You choose the appropriate age-range for your child and skill level, as well as the specific sport that they are interested in (baseball/softball, basketball, hockey, football, or soccer).

Once you select the right age/skill level and sport, your child will receive a box filled with an ever-changing variety of training product, gear, and accessories to help motivate them, educate them, and help them improve their skills!

Boxes include things like wrist shields, whistles, anti-chafing cream, collectible cards or figurines, arm sleeves, shooting guides, laces, books, interesting information cards, a tip of the month, and more!  It’s a bit hard to give specifics about what is included in these boxes because the contents are always changing – which is what makes receiving this box so much fun!

To be honest, I was unsure about this box because what’s included in the boxes is pretty vague on the website, but my little soccer-lover was, and continues to be, thrilled with his monthly soccer-focused box!!

We Craft Box – $24.99/month & up

We Craft Subscription BoxGenre: Crafts

Ages: All ages (younger will need more parent assistance, older can craft independently!)

Making crafts is a great activity for kids of all ages – but coming up with the ideas and tracking down all the supplies can be a real nightmare for parents!  But with We Craft Boxes, all the legwork and preparation is already done for you!

Each box is curated with a different theme in mind, generally having to with a holiday or season and comes with 2-3 prepared crafts and all the materials for tons of creative fun!  Plus, there are multiple blank supplies so that the whole family can join in and craft together!

Each box comes with:

  • A story to go along with the theme and the crafts
  • All the materials needed for 2-3 different craft activities (excluding scissors)
  • Comprehensive photo instructions

These boxes are SO MUCH FUN and really pack a lot of value for the price.  The crafts are super engaging and creative (gingerbread houses, dioramas, snowmen figurines, etc.) and the materials are very high-quality.

There you have it – my top ten suggestions for monthly subscription boxes for kids help to keep your little ones (or big ones) entertained and engaged all summer (and all year!) long!  No matter which of these boxes you choose, I can tell you first-hand that your kids will not be disappointed.

From the excitement of receiving a package with their name on it to the thrill of exploring what’s inside, your kids will be thanking you for signing them up for something that they didn’t even know they wanted!!

Plus, most of these services offer discounts and/or free shipping for new members!

 

Resources:

https://www.goodhousekeeping.com/life/g5093/subscription-boxes-for-kids/

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/subscription-boxes-for-kids_us_5a301ef1e4b0789502843a34

https://www.mysubscriptionaddiction.com/2016/06/17-awesome-subscription-boxes-for-kids.html

https://boxes.mysubscriptionaddiction.com/subscription_boxes_for/kids

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbes-finds/2017/11/02/best-subscription-boxes-for-kids-of-all-ages/#4a62aa511df2

 

 

 

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Margot Carmichael

A former teacher with a passion for words, Margot has been writing for years and helping her clients, large and small, to tell compelling stories. When she’s not writing to pay the bills, you can find her working on her lifestyle blog, margotcarmichael.com/lifestyleblog, dreaming up her next DIY project, cooking, or binge-watching Netflix with her English Bulldog.

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