Our Eureka Crate Review- Soap Dispenser - KiwiCo's Teen Science Kit

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Here's the project box for the Soap Dispenser.

Teenagers are difficult to please.  As the father of three of them- trust me – I know what I’m talking about.

Don’t get me wrong: I love my kids and I don’t think they are any more difficult than the average teen.  But by the age of thirteen, kids know what they like and have built up some opinions.   They also aren’t afraid to share their opinions.  That’s why I LOVE using teens for reviews – they tell it like it is!

When I heard KiwiCo had a new subscription box targeted at teens, I had to see if it would please these most selective age group of kids.  To that end, I had my teenage son tackle reviewing the Eureka Crate.  Could it live up to competing with his normal diet of video gaming and outside playing?

Read on to find out more information from our hands-on review.

Note: KiwiCo was kind enough to provide us with a free crate to review.

Who Should Look At The Eureka Crate Box?

Kiwi Co has a variety of different subscription boxes for kids of all ages.   I’ve been really impressed with the quality of their products, so we’ve gone through and reviewed all of their product line.  You can view our Kiwi subscription box reviews here for more detail, but the short version is:

The Entire KiwiCo Crate Lineup

As mentioned above, the Eureka Crate is targeted at engineering and builders from ages 14 and up.  Our reviewer is 13 – so a little under the target group.  He’s also not someone who already knows he wants to go into engineering or pursue a STEM degree.  I know there are some kids at that age that love science enough to know it’s the path for them; this is not our reviewer. I reasoned that if KiwiCo and the Eureka Crate subscription box was able to entertain my son, it will a great fit for teenage kids that are really into engineering.   Also, if he likes it, it’s likely your average teen will probably enjoy it as well.

Where Will KiwiCo Ship The Eureka Crate?

KiwiCo ships the Eureka Crate – like all their monthly subscription boxes –  to subscribers in the United States.  There is a slight charge for shipping to Canada and other countries.

You can find more details about all the international shipping offers from this support page.  As of 2022, crates are shipped to 39 countries outside the United State.

Our Hands-On Review of the Eureka Crate - "Soap Dispenser"

There are many subscription box choices available in today’s market. That’s great for moms and dads since it means crate creators need to continue to deliver on past success if they want to remain popular.  It’s been nearly 6 months since our last look at a Kiwico crate so I was interested in seeing if their quality had slipped at all now that they are so successful.

When we opened the Eureka Crate, everything was well packed and laid out – as I’d expect from a Kiwi product. It was still made with high-quality materials, and steps were laid out into manageable tasks. Everything was included to learn about, plan, and build this month’s project.  This month we were given the Soap Dispenser for our functional engineering project.

My son says this project was unique, but he really liked that he could actually use it after building it.  I think this will really appeal to teenagers.  It’s great to have something fun to build, but the best subscription box is the one where the end product doesn’t sit in the back of a closet, collecting dust.  None of the other example Eureka Crate projects I found were “throw-away” in nature.  All could be used in daily life.

I think that’s pretty cool.  

Instructions Are Key

Instruction manuals are one way to differentiate between the good boxes and the top ones.  As an example, our Creation Crate review highlights how unclear and sometimes wrong instructions made the project way more complicated than it had to be.  It weighed down our final thoughts on what could have been one of the best subscription boxes.

Kiwico has really nailed down the art of including enough – but no more information than is needed – in their instruction booklets. 

Our manual was 52 pages long.  A little more than two-thirds is dedicated to directions and troubleshooting, while the rest goes into the science and history of the design.

While my son didn’t notice because we had no problems building the project, I was impressed there was a troubleshooting section.  As a parent, sometimes these higher-level boxes can be intimidating.  Not everyone works often with hands-on projects in STEM fields.  It’s nice to know that KiwiCo has taken the time to give you some information to begin to figure out what’s wrong if the project isn’t working on the first shot.

Our review crate box project was broken down into 5 main steps.  They were:

  1. Build The Base
  2. Build The Nozzle
  3. Build The Body
  4. Make The Pump
  5. Wire It Up
Each section was logically laid out.  There were call-outs in the manual that simply but efficiently pointed out where potential pitfalls laid ahead.  
Begining the STEM project by building the base. He will begin to put them together piece by piece by following the instruction manual. It's a great Christmas gift, and the lock box project (another Kiwico box project)
Our crate project did require a level of hand-eye coordination to complete.  There are some smaller pieces, and sometimes pressure had to be applied to fit base pieces into small areas.  This is true of most crates for this age group – to make anything fun there needs to be some smaller pieces used!
Since my son is a little below the recommended age group, I thought he might have trouble in some sections.  He did struggle with putting the soap tube onto the dispenser reservoir.  It takes a mix of strength and finesse he just doesn’t possess yet, so I eventually stepped in to help him with that step.  Otherwise though, he was able to complete this entire Eureka Crate project without my help.

The Construction Quality Is Top Notch

Here our kid reviewer is nearly half way through the project - working hard with small pieces. He says it's great to get nice plastic parts to work with - though metal would be ok as well.We’ve had other KiwiCo subscription box reviews where most of the material was made of wooden pieces.  Due to the nature of the soap dispenser project, the designers went with polypropylene foam pieces for most of the parts.

Wood and water don’t mix well for the long term.  These foam and plastic pieces are lightweight and strong, and also non-porous.  That means no moisture can get in to cause structural issues and grow mildew.

The included electrical components all seemed of higher quality than you might get in some other boxes.  The pump and switches had sturdy wires so I don’t see there being an issue going forward.  Nothing is more frustrating than trying to track down why a cool project isn’t working to find there’s poor soldering at fault.   It usually takes forever to find, and not everyone has the tools to fix it. 

That won’t be a worry with the Eureka Crate.

At a price of just under $30 per month for a Eureka Crate subscription, you should get high quality components – and you do. I think it’s worth the future saved time and frustration that comes with cheaping out on parts to bring the price down a few dollars. 

Here our teen is ready to give his review.
All done! Heres our reviewer with his finished soap dispener.

What Did Our Teenage Reviewer Like About This Kiwi Crate - Our Review Thoughts

Eureka Crate Review:  Our son has reviewed a few different subscription projects over the years.  Some boxes were more computer focused while others were more geared to science. He’s done a couple of different projects for us – including this box.

This one was the most fun for him.  That’s one of the more important boxes to check. Simply put, if it’s not fun, your child isn’t likely to come back month after month.

He liked this one the best so far.  This subscription box is practical, he says, because you build something that is useful. 

I agree that his creation is practical.  It is sturdy enough and looks good enough to have it in use in our kitchen.  It’s a cool conversation piece for him as well when family or friends come to visit.

He also really enjoyed learning something new.  Most boxes teach something new, but usually it’s how to do  something, rather than how something simply works.  It’s a bit of a distinction but an important one.

I look at it using this analogy: The Eureka Crate subscription box isn’t like a college professor teaching theory but more like a work-study program, where you learn the how before the why. 

This way, your kid gets to see the cool “how”, and becomes interested in learning “why” on their own.  That’s a powerful motivator for learning, and it should make what is learned stick for longer.

What Would He Change In A Future Month KiwiCo Eureka Crate?

Our reviewer really liked the project.  He had one suggestion for improvement.  He says there were a few times the instructions were not clear. 

I chalk that up to him being at the lower end of the recommended age group.  While one step in particular was pretty advanced – it involved fitting a few pieces into the same notch at different times – it wouldn’t be too hard for the average high-school student to navigate on their own.  The Eureka Crate felt like it was well-balanced for it’s target age group.

Do be aware that if your daughter or son isn’t great with fine motor skills, you may have to be there to help with a step or two.  I don’t consider that a deal killer, but you should know about it.

The Verdict: Eureka Crate


5 out of 5

The Eureka Crate by Kiwico is really a great box.  I think it’ll make an awesome Christmas gift – and I’m planning on ordering a stand-alone crate for my nephew. 

It’s a great choice because it’s fun and challenging enough for your teen to keep them interested, but not so difficult that you are buying a gift that an adult is going to have to finish.  It’s also not going to end up in a landfill immediately after completion – these crate projects are sturdy and practical.  It’s a really well done engineering project.

Remember – crates are assigned based on availability and which previous crates you’ve already received. This simply means you won’t always receive the same boxes as other people – or at least in the same order.  If you continue to order the subscription box month after month, however, you’ll likely end up getting the Soap Dispenser project at some point.  

You can look forward to the possibility of creating a desk lamp, pencil sharpener, wooden ukulele, mechanical lock box, or stereo headphones as some of the projects you can receive with a Eureka Crate subscription.

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