If there is one thing that seems clear to me, children learn different subjects through different means. Some learn best by reading. Others absorb information better through video.
Not every child wants to explore science through the front door. There’s a group that learn best through hands-on doing.
The Kiwi Crate could be pigeon-holed as a craft box. It is a great fit for creative art-loving children, but I think it appeals to a wider audience. This gift box is a great idea for the kids that using “doing” as a ladder to the “how and why” questions. A child that enjoys making something for the sake of creation.
I’ll begin by sharing some information about the Kiwi Crate, but scroll down if you want to hear more about our team’s own hands-on experience with this STEAM box.
Who Is The Kiwi Crate For?
The Kiwi Crate is designed to be used by children aged 5 and up. The upper bound is a bit fluid – the website says up to age 8, while the packaging states 5+. Our reviewer felt this could work for the right child up to about age 10.
While the focus is on creation through art or craft building, I think even non-“artsy” kids will enjoy building and playing with the completed work. Our particular review crate was focused on moving and rolling – the main activity was building a pinball machine. This project would be fun for pre-K through middle school aged kids in my opinion.
The focus of this subscription is to bring out creativity through the use of a child’s hands. So much traditional learning is done through verbal or written communication. This product provides a monthly opportunity to expand learning into the physical world, under the total control of our child. It’s a great way to build confidence.
Who Should Look Elsewhere?
This wouldn’t be the best choice for a child that really doesn’t enjoy creating crafts. Older middle and high school children probably wouldn’t enjoy the Kiwi Crate much. Check out our 2200+ word guide on STEM subscription boxes for more options for children in that age group, or who have a burning passion in another area
What Is the Kiwi Crate?
The Kiwi Crate subscription is mailed to you monthly. Inside you’ll find nearly everything you’ll need to construct that month’s creative creations. Our box came with everything we needed to get building immediately.
The kit pieces were well made. The items that needed to handle more stress are made of plastic. Sometimes kit manufacturers will try to cut down shipping costs by using heavy cardboard as a material. This can work but ultimately isn’t as durable as going with plastic. It was a nice touch in our kit.
The instruction booklet was well written. Instructions were clear – in a nice, colorful format as well. If your child can put together a Lego Kit, he or she can handle building with the Kiwi Crate.
Our Hands On Kiwi Crate Review
As with all subscription STEM project services, you get different themed projects shipped to your door every month. Kiwi Crate highlights three different projects on their website. One involves building a arcade prize claw. Another is entitled the fun of flight.
We had a friend of Fractus Learning tackle the Pinball Machine project with his 8 year old daughter. They were allowed to keep the crate in thanks for their honest assessment. The comments below are all his.
Our first impression upon opening the crate box was amazement at how many pieces there were. This project wasn’t going to be a half-hour endeavor! I thought that was good because if a child has to wait an entire month for the project, there should be some “heft” to it.
We took out the instruction booklet, and then laid out all the parts on our kitchen counter-top. You do need a little space to be able to construct the pinball machine. The finished project comes in slightly under 18 inches long by 14 inches wide.
While the booklet is 12 pages long, the actual construction isn’t that complicated. It’s good that every step is laid out in detail because I think a younger child might have no conceptual idea of what a pinball machine should look like.
As a child of the 1970’s, I know pinball machines. So that wasn’t a problem for us.
We placed the hard-plastic outer frame onto the backing. They are very easy to secure with the included brads. The obstacles came next – there’s a wide variety to choose from. You can even make rubber-band triangle bumpers to help launch the pinball in the opposite direction.
There are no user-controlled flippers – this wasn’t unexpected from such a project. This makes the game more like a pachinko machine (without the Japanese organized crime baggage). The pinball launcher is aimable which was a nice touch.
Part of the project is to create geometric art for the pinball backboard. While the included stackable crayon was cool, my daughter has her own supplies so relied on them. I think this is a way to keep the project fresh because she can use the included backstops as a pattern to then use other paper/cardboard for future designs.
Finally, we were able to play with the pinball machine. The goal was to get the high score by rolling over the point markers. This took some practice. I should say, this took some practice for me – my daughter seemed to be a natural. She schooled me early and often, and had a fun time doing it.
What We Liked The Best
The instructions were really well done. They were written clearly and organized logically. This is a must-have feature for a product where the child can work on projects mainly by themselves. The KiwiCrate exceeds this bar.
You can feel the quality of the pieces included in this activity. The border, backing and pinball parts were top-notch. I don’t see anything breaking in this set for quite some time.
The time to completion was right on the money. Since this subscription delivers monthly, you’d like to have the activity take enough time to make it feel like it’s worth the money. Our Pinball Machine crate succeeded in that regard. Both me and my daughter agreed this feels like a good value.
What Would We Change?
While there were no major complaints, my daughter did wish this project made an actual pinball machine – with flippers and everything. I explained that adding those would make the project more complicated, but we probably could rig something up ourselves if she really wanted to. Stay tuned- I’ll include updates if we end up tackling that endeavor.
Once again, thanks to our reviewer family for their work. The KiwiCrate is a fun, crafty activity kit. It’s a great tool to allow kids a means to express themselves artistically without much help from a parent. The items in the crate are well-made, and in general the kit feels like someone put work into the whole package.
If you know a younger school-aged child that could use some fuel for their creative engine, the Kiwi Crate is a good choice for you.
Looking For Our Other KiwiCo Reviews?
We’ve created an updated guide for September 2020 that has all the available KiwiCo subscription boxes reviewed. Head on over here to read it.