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- KiwiCo subscription boxes contain fun and educational activities designed by child development experts.
- I tested the Panda Crate for babies and toddlers, but KiwiCo offers subscriptions for kids of all ages.
- My toddler didn’t just engage with these toys – she wanted to go back to play with them again and again.
- Depending on your subscription, prices range from $20 to $30 per crate.
I often feel overwhelmed by making sure I’m teaching my daughter everything she needs to know and appropriately stimulating her to help her development. She doesn’t go to daycare and she’s not old enough for preschool, so it all falls on me.
According to the US Department of Education, up until age 5, it’s important to talk, read, and sing with your child every day. The American Academy of Pediatrics also advocates for regular play to support the cognitive, physical, social, and emotional well-being of children and so parents can fully engage with their children.
This is where play subscription boxes like Lovevery and KiwiCo come in handy. KiwiCo sent me its Panda Crate subscription box for babies and toddlers (ages newborn to 24 months) to try out with my daughter, so we could see for ourselves.
What is the KiwiCo Panda Crate?
KiwiCo offers different versions of the Panda Crate for five age bands: 0 to 2 months, 3 to 6 months, 7 to 12 months, 13 to 18 months, and 19 to 24 months. Each box has fun educational activities designed specifically for a child’s age.
The boxes are created by experts, including former educators and child development professionals, and tested by kids. This certainly makes my life easier, knowing I can spend less time researching which activities are appropriate for my daughter and more time playing with her.
The crates deliver activities in your child’s zone of proximal development, according to KiwiCo. This is a fancy way of saying the activities provide a little bit of a challenge so your child learns – but not so much of a challenge that they give up. It’s the sweet spot of learning, and as a former teacher, I’ve seen how students flourish in this zone.
What KiwiCo is like to use
The box definitely hit the sweet spot for my daughter. She is currently 18 months old, and her “Solve With Me” box came with four different activities, all designed to help her learn shapes: a peg puzzle, lacing beads, squishy shapes, and beanbag shapes. It also came with the book “Poppy’s Shape Search.”
My daughter immediately started exploring the activities, attempting to stack shapes onto the correct peg and playing with the large plush shapes that can be used for multiple games and activities.
My daughter rotates through the activities pretty evenly but seems to gravitate toward the lacing beads. Many other lacing toys are too difficult for her, but these beads are designed to perfectly hit that zone of proximal development and allow her to have success. For that reason, the lacing beads are my favorite activity in the box, too.
She also enjoys playing with the three large squishy shapes. The magazine in the crate provided a song to sing about the shapes, and she often holds them and dances while we sing the song.
What makes KiwiCo stand out
My favorite thing about the Panda Crate is that it comes with activity cards that explain how to play with each of the toys. The box also comes with a an issue of “Wonder Magazine” and “Beyond the Crate” cards that offer many additional ways to play with your child and support their development.
When my brain is fried from sleepless nights or I’m just not feeling creative, these ideas are a lifesaver. After my daughter was done exploring the box on her own, I used the ideas to encourage her to learn more.
Open-ended toys like the ones in the Panda Crate help extend play and ensure that kids won’t just engage with toys once and then toss them aside, never to be played with again. My daughter and I continually come back to her box to learn and play more.
How the subscription works
When you sign up for a subscription, KiwiCo will send you a crate every two months. Each crate is specifically tailored to meet the developmental milestones of your child’s age.
Because it’s a subscription-based service, you can save money by purchasing a longer subscription. Depending on your subscription, box prices range from $15.50 to $39.90 each. For an extra $9.95, you can also upgrade your box to include a book like the one I received in my box.
The bottom line
Babies and toddlers don’t need a lot of stuff, and you don’t have to spend a fortune on toys to make them happy. Play with them, read to them, sing to them, and talk to them, and you’re setting them up for success.
Sometimes, though, we all need a little help when it comes to planning and setting up activities that will enrich our kids while they have fun. If you’re like me and you want some structured ideas for play and to encourage proper development, the KiwiCo Panda Crate makes it easy. It will give you the confidence and peace of mind that you’re continually providing educational activities for your child at each stage of their development.