look with me panda crate for toddlers from kiwico - is it good head to head against little passports vs kiwico?

It’s time for another hands on review of a KiwiCo Panda Crate! KiwiCo was kind enough to provide us here at Fractus Learning with a review copy of their Panda Crate Look With Me box. As always, after I took some pictures of the crate I found one of our Friends of Fractus with a toddler just under 24 months old to give me their honest review.

What did they think? Read on to find out more!

What Do You Get With The KiwiCo Panda Crate “Look With Me”?

We have reviewed many of the KiwiCo subscription crates over the years, so it’s interesting to see how KiwiCo has grown and shifted focus. The Kiwico Panda Crate is one area that has evolved. This activity box is geared to toddlers whose age ranges from 18 to 24 months old. It’s gone from an activity-based lineup to one more focused on a different skill each month.

The “Look With Me” box is primarily designed to help develop visual tracking skills. Don’t worry – it still builds hand-eye coordination and problem-solving skills as well!

Look With Me box opening

Inside the Panda Crate – Look With Me Box

I was pleasantly surprised to see this box came with nearly all 100% natural materials. You can tell KiwiCo had sustainability in mind when creating the toys and activities in this crate.

Our Panda Crate came with:

  1. Wonder Magazine: This pamphlet is for parents to give some background on where their child’s ability level is related to visual tracking skills. You also get a link to more information and resources on visual tracking. Don’t worry – it’s not all stuffy “boring” information. There’s a fun song to sing with your kid included as well.
  2. Butterfly Drop: Some of you might be..eh..” experienced” enough to remember the Plinko Drop from the Price Is Right. This is a fun toy based on the same idea. A wooden butterfly is dropped into the top of the toy, and hits the pegs inside causing it to move in different directions. I won’t say too much right now, but our toddler reviewer likes this toy the most.
  3. Ramp Racer: Much as the name suggests, it’s a solid wood ramp or slide with a wooden ball. The ball is a great size for little fingers to build fine motor skills.
  4. Nesting Wooden Rainbow: There are three solid-wood rainbows that nest inside one another. As you can see from the picture, the smallest isn’t an open arch rainbow like the other two.
  5. Poppy’s Duck Chase Board Book: A visually entertaining board book about a baby duck and his adventures. Kids love ducks!
  6. Wooden Play Board: Little hands can spin the gears on this double-sided spin and slide board. It’s a functional busy board.
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You also get the Beyond The Crate cards. These activity cards provide some ideas for parents to explore and take the concepts presented in the crate a step further. You also get a rundown of the items in the box – but I just gave you that, didn’t I? :)

What Did Our Volunteer Review Family think of the Look With Me Panda Crate?

The following comments are coming from our reviewer mom, talking about her experiences with the Panda Crate box. Her son played with the toys in the crate, and I asked her some questions to spark conversation about the “Look With Me” box. The following opinions are hers – lightly edited for clarity.

She didn’t feel comfortable putting pictures of her young toddler up on the internet for the world to see – and I can respect that. Unfortunately, that means you need to rely on my picture taking skills!

First, she was surprised how hefty the wood toys felt. I told her the wooden toys were all made of solid beechwood – and she said it was nice to have the toys made of non-toxic material for kids that age.

Her toddler was very excited to open the box. Ah, the excitement of a young child to discover and explore something new! They had not yet played with a Kiwico Panda crate – so she was excited as well.

The toys were all laid out in good condition – the layout was preserved during shipping.

Her child was engaged with all of the toys in this box – of course, some more than others. That’s to be expected as children have their own preferences, even at that age.

The Kiwico Butterfly Drop

Her son found the Butterfly Drop to be the most entertaining activity. He loved the way the butterfly bounces differently each time it was dropped into the toy. She could see how her toddler would actively watch the butterfly as it bounced to and fro.

Her son also really enjoyed the wooden ramp and wooden ball – the ramp racer. As with other toys, her child seemed to like to improvise. While he liked rolling the ball down the ramp, he also enjoyed rolling it “freestyle” on the floor just as much. She was just happy to see him having so much fun.

Wooden Play Board

The spin and slide board was not as much of a hit as she expected. Her son initially really enjoyed playing with the spinning gears (which are little wooden flowers on one side and part of a caterpillar on the other) and making the lady bug/ bird slide, but seemed to lose interest with the repetitive play. She felt this particular toy was probably aimed at a child on the lower end of the recommended age range.

Her son enjoyed stacking and standing up the wood rainbow. She was surprised by how long he played with this toy at the initial box opening – and more surprised he kept coming back to the wood rainbow.

Did This STEM Activities Box help develop visual tracking skills?

Since the theme was all about visual tracking skills, I asked our reviewer if they thought these one-off activities were geared to that end. While emphasizing she is “just a mom”, she felt it did play to enhance her kid’s visual tracking.

Her son was actively moving his head and eyes watching the motion of the toys. Both the butterfly drop and the ball from the ramp racer could really get moving fast – he really liked it when they gained some speed!

Is the KiwiCo Panda Crate “Look With Me” Worth Buying?

Both our reviewer and myself agree – you could probably replicate the experience of a Panda crate on your own, but it would cost you more money – and ESPECIALLY TIME – to do it. I am just doing a back-of-the-envelope calculation here, but I’d guess it would cost at least double to purchase comparable kids toys from retailers. Add in additional cost from your valuable time, and the cost is even higher.

Is there a discount code to use for the “Look With Me” Panda Crate?

Kiwico runs discounts and promotions at various times throughout the year. There will be a pop-up that will appear when you leave this page that will give you the information on the discount we have for our parents and readers.

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