KiwiCrate Review: Our Experience After Three Months

kiwicrate review

Hi friends! When I shared a few pictures of my daughter enjoying her Kiwi Crate on Instagram a few months back, a few of you expressed interest in a review. So here it is! I am not being paid to share, and I bought a subscription out of my own pocket. I just know that I would have appreciated an unbiased review when I was first considering the product. (Note: if you make a purchase through my link, I do get referral credit! You and I each get $10 off.)

For those who are unfamiliar: KiwiCo is a monthly subscription service, which provides children with a box of STEM-related activities that includes all the materials, instructions, and supplementary information for a hands-on learning experience. They do ALL the brain-work for you, so you don’t have to plan or gather materials. You can just open it up and get to work! They offer boxes for several different age groups, from 0-16 (e.g. ages 0-2 is called the Tadpole Crate; ages 9-16 is called the Tinker Crate). We got the Kiwi Crate, for ages 5-8. Lydia is seven, and it was perfect for her.

I initially bought a three-month subscription to try it out. I’ll be up-front: Kiwi Crate is rather expensive, and I was nervous to make too big a commitment in case Lydia didn’t like it. However, of course, the bigger the subscription you buy, the better the value. (I’ll go into detail about price later.)

I decided to make the leap because we don’t spend any money on curriculum (we unschool), so I felt I could splurge on this. Science/technology/engineering/math are NOT my strong points, so I was happy to let someone else do the work for me here. Especially if these subjects could be introduced in a fun, engaging way without evaluation or pressure of any kind. I wanted something that might inspire her to dig deeper into STEM without external prodding.

I’m glad I didn’t just buy a single box, because our first one was the least impressive one we got, and wasn’t the best representation of what’s available. I mean, it was still good; but if I would have had to make my decision to continue based on that box alone, it would have been a tough one. The next two were completely fabulous and totally won me over, though. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Okay. Let’s cover some of the details.

What does Kiwi Crate cost?

kiwi crate activities

Kiwi Crates are more affordable if you live in the US, because shipping is free there. We live in Canada, and so the shoddy current exchange rate, plus the additional $5.95/month shipping fee, make it more expensive. (Note: Kiwi Crates can be shipped all over the world, with varying shipping costs attached.)

You can check the website for all the details on cost. As for me in Canada, I got the 3-month subscription, and it had a “50% off the first crate” special going at the time. I ended up paying $89 after taxes and shipping, which worked out to about $30CAD per crate. It’s a little spendy.

If I was in the US, it would have cost about $17.29USD/crate for the same subscription, which is a lot more affordable. It would be even less per crate if you got, say, a full year subscription.

There are regular sales on the site. At the moment of this writing, you can get 60% off your first month when you use the code EARLY, but this is always changing. Check the site to see what the current deal is.

What’s inside a Kiwi Crate?

The best way to explain what’s inside a Kiwi Crate is to show you exactly what was in ours!

First Crate: Arcade

The theme of the first crate was “arcade.” It had more of an engineering emphasis.

It contained all the tools and materials to put together a wooden claw. It contained extremely detailed instructions, with pictures, so that she could do all the steps with very little guidance from me. (She probably would have needed almost none if she could read.) It also contained everything she needed to make two little pompom creatures to grab with her claw (including googly eyes!).

kiwi crate arcade 1

kiwi crate arcade 2(Here you can get a glimpse of how beautiful the design is.)

kiwi crate arcade 3(Completely unrelated: Look at those flexible feet. Katy Bowman would be proud!)

Each box also comes with a small magazine, containing a short comic, some activities (games, mazes, etc), ideas for additional projects, and suggestions to extend the use of the crate contents.

kiwi crate magazine

kiwi crate comic

Crate #2: Rainbow Optics

This was the first crate to really dazzle us. In it, we learned all about light! It contained:

Everything needed to make a beautiful colour-changing lamp:

rainbow optics 2Everything needed to make this shadow projection box, including finger lights:

rainbow optics 1

mixing coloured light

And a pair of glasses that breaks white light into coloured light. Here’s a shot of what it looked like to look at our kitchen pot lights through them:

Just so awesome. Even I learned a lot about mixing coloured light!

Box #3: Secret Agent

This box was the absolute coolest, and was the most fun. (But also maybe the least science-y. I don’t know if we learned anything beyond “UV lights are so cool!”) It included…

Everything you need to make a periscope, for spying around corners:

kiwi crate periscope

Everything you need to make a briefcase full of materials for writing secret messages:

kiwi crate secret agent

There were two ways to share secret messages: either by writing with the included markers on red squiggly “spy paper,” which you can decipher if you wear the red “spy glasses”:

secret message(Through the glasses you can see the message “I LOVE YOU MOM” — awwwww)

Or by writing on white paper with the invisible pen, and then shining the included UV light onto it:

kiwi crate UV light(Lydia decided to use it to practice math equations. I did not dissuade her.)

The included magazine gave us lots of ideas for additional spy activities the next day, including taking fingerprints and writing secret messages with lemon juice, which can be revealed with a hot iron (not pictured).

Final Verdict

Well. After our first three month subscription ran out, I went ahead and got another six-month subscription. I decided it was worth it!

The cost is a bit more than I would prefer, but Lydia just had so much fun putting them together, and the magazines sparked lots of interesting experiments and learning opportunities for us to bond over that I really appreciated. Plus, it’s really fun for Lydia to get stuff in the mail with her own name on it!

I would especially recommend them for US residents, for whom they are more affordable.

I think a Kiwi Crate subscription would make a great gift, especially for kids who already have all the toys they need. Remember, there are different boxes for different ages! If you order now, you can probably get the first box in time for Christmas!

Again, if you make a purchase through my referral link, you get $10 off your first crate.

What do you think? Does Kiwi Crate look worth it to you?

 

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Comments

  1. Thanks for your review. I had seen some parents post about it in the Irish homeschooling group and didn’t have time to look what it was about. Sounds pretty cool !

  2. Are you close enough to the border to get a PO box in Michigan? I wonder if that would end up being a net savings. :-D

    We’ve gotten a couple free Kiwi crates through promotions. They were cool and very well designed, but my boys were a little young for them at the time. Or maybe it was just that trying to manage the two of them at once was not, umm, successful (they were 1 and 3 and 2 and 4 at the time). I would definitely recommend them for homeschoolers or the 5 and up crowd.

    My FIL gets the boys a Little Passports subscription, which is cute (information and activities about different countries each month), and we’ve gotten a couple months of Booster Bricks for our Lego-obsessed oldest (he’ll be six next week). I highly recommend Booster Bricks for Lego fans (they are so clever! You follow along with a little story and then do different build challenges with the included Lego when you reach different parts of the story. And there’s an active Facebook group that posts interesting build challenges and is very encouraging to the kids). I have no idea what the Passports pricing is like; we like it but I don’t know that I would keep paying for a long subscription of it myself. We get a lot of STEM in our life but I actually have another Kiwi Crate tucked away for a gift or a snow day activity because they’re really nice.

    • Oh! But yours were cooler than any we got. Lights?? Spies??? So much fun!

      Also, remember that a lot of your homesteading hobbies are science–I mean, what is foraging plants to make dye other than biology and chemistry all wrapped up together in a real-world application? You say you’re not a STEM sort of person, and maybe you’re not a mathematics/computer wizard, but don’t sell yourself short!

  3. Emily Williams says:

    I used your referral credit and this is what Hudson will be getting for Christmas! Thanks for the review.

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