If you’ve read some of my other posts in the Frugal Mom’s Guide To Summer series you know I’m trying hard to get my kids off the video games this summer and continue learning so their growing little brains don’t turn to mush before August.
You can check out some great ways to get their bodies and brains moving with Free Kids Activities and check out some fun, free Library Games for easy summer learning.
Another great way to keep kids learning over the summer and throughout the year is with an educational subscription box. The concept is genius. A box comes right to your door filled with books and tools to teach kids about science, geography, nature, different languages and cultures.
I’ve been intrigued with these boxes for a while so I enlisted five fellow mom bloggers to offer their reviews on eight of the most popular boxes. You can compare them here to find one that might be perfect for your child and budget.
This post contains affiliate links or referral codes which may allow the reviewing blogger to receive compensation when you make a purchase. All opinions are their own. For more details you can visit each blogger’s website to read their full disclosure.
Focus: General education/development
Cost: $30 per month
Each Box Includes:
- Development and Activity cards
- A children’s book
- Developmentally appropriate toys and activities
- Insight into the importance of the toys and activities
- Suggestions for next steps and personalized feedback
- Email access to educational experts and pediatricians
Review by Corrine from The Travelers Nest: DAPY Box is a kids activity box that combines learning with play, all while taking the burden from the parent to plan it out. Any of you with active toddlers like my own, know how difficult it can be to find time to plan out activities so this was especially nice for me to not have to worry about what to do next. Score!
When you order the box, you answer a few questions about your child so that every item is age-appropriate and tailored to their needs. Our DAPY Box was geared towards social and language development as well as fine motor skills – which was perfect timing for us! Levi had been trying very hard to communicate with us so I’m happy to help him develop those skills. Also, since we got the box in January, it was Chinese New Year themed – what a great way to introduce children to other cultures! Another great feature of the box is the set of development and activity cards. They’re fantastic! They contain step-by-step directions for each activity as well as information on developmental milestones that you’ll be working on with your little one that month. I’m a firm believer in “learning through play” and these are spot on. Overall we just loved our DAPY Box. It’s a great tool and are looking forward to learning (and playing!) some more!
You can read more about Corrine’s Dapy Box experience here. And you can use code NEST10 at checkout for 10% off of your first box.
Focus: Bilingual learning
Cost: You can buy single kits or get a monthly subscription starting at $25 per month.
What’s Inside: Bilingual themed toys, books, flash cards, crafts, etc. depending on the age of your child.
Review from Julie at Fab Working Mom Life: Flash cards, games, and activities are great ways to explore language and promote learning. I received this lovely kit that teaches about plants and flowers in both English and Spanish. This particular kit is age-appropriate for children 1-2 years old and included lovely flashcards, a cute book, and a toy! The kit comes with ideas for activities and crafts to do and gives you, the parent, the tools to teach these language skills to your child.
A flower stacking toy was especially fun and my little man enjoyed pulling it apart and watching me stack the flowers again. The toy is perfect for 12 months + and comes with a stand with two flower stackers and leaves, petals, and even some cute animals. This is a great way to develop language skills as well as fine motor skills.
This kit allows us as parents to teach our children while playing games and doing activities, which is wonderful on so many levels.
You can read more about Julie’s experience with Kid’s Candor here. And you can use her referral code to purchase.
Green Kid Crafts
Focus: Creativity & STEAM
Cost: Starts at $18 per month.
What’s Inside: Each month’s box includes an experiment with directions and supplies.
Review from Krystal from Healthy Happy Thrifty Family: We have a lot of fun with this subscription. The experiments are pretty basic and appeal to a wide age range. I appreciate that pretty much everything you need is included in the box. There were some ideas that we had tried before (like mixing baking soda and vinegar to make a reaction) and some things that were new to me (like making soap). Younger kids would need a lot of parental supervision to complete the tasks. Older kids could do most of it on their own.
You can see more about Krystal’s Green Kid Craft experience here. And you can use her referral code to purchase.
Focus: Geography and culture
Ages: Early Explorers- 3-5, World Edition- 6-10, USA Edition- 7-12
Cost: Monthly subscriptions start at $13.
What’s Inside: Kids receive a suitcase with a large world map during the first month. In following months, they get a letter from their new pen pals detailing their adventures! They also get a luggage tag, map sticker, activity book and access to online activities!
Review from Krystal from Healthy Happy Thrifty Family: My kids enjoyed receiving this every month. I have two school age kids and we shared one subscription. This worked well for the most part. It would have been nice to have the option to add on a second activity book.
We subscribed to the world plan, so they learned a lot about different countries. My kids enjoy the online games that correspond with each country. I liked the activity booklets that came each month, but wished they had a few more things to do. We typically studied the country a bit more in addition to what was in the box. It was a great conversation starter and got my kids interested in learning more. Our favorite country was Japan. It came with an Origami kit that was very fun.
You can see more about Krystal’s Little Passport experience here. And you can use her referral code to purchase.
Focus: Exploration, creation & nature
Cost: $25 per month
What’s Inside: 6 hands on educational and adventurous activities surrounding a particular theme.
Review from Kate at Homebound But Hopeful: We loved checking out our Compass Crate each month. I’m not a terribly outdoorsy type of mama (crafts are way more my style), so having the activities laid out and designed for me really made these projects super easy for me. They include everything you need to really engage in hands on exploration with your kiddos. Themes like the oceans, light & color, and dinosaurs capture kid’s attention, and builds on science knowledge they may already have. Really a great subscription for a child who likes to get their hands a little messy while they learn.
You can see more about Kate’s experience with Compass Crate on her Instagram account.
Cost: $20 per month for a digital version delivered via email, $25 per month for a basic box delivered to your home, $45 per month for a deluxe box delivered to your home.
What’s Inside: The digital version includes instructions that you can print or follow along on-screen. The basic box includes a binder called an Apper Keeper and coding cards. And the deluxe box includes everything that’s in a basic box plus extra goodies like stickers, fake tattoos, etc.
Review from Kate at Homebound But Hopeful: This has quickly become one of my son’s favorite subscription boxes. The day it arrived we opened it up immediately and he hopped online to start coding right away. The instructions are clear and easy to follow, while the apps the kids code are engaging. There’s the perfect mix of silly and wild, while kids control monsters and have virtual food fights. My son had no coding experience prior to receiving his box, and within the first 10 minutes had already begun to understand coding basics and made changes to his apps on his own. This is the perfect box for tech-minded kiddos, who enjoy their screen time!
You can see more about Kate’s experience with Bits Box on her Instagram account. And you can use her coupon code, HOPEFUL20, to get 20% off.
Groovy Lab In A Box
Cost: $30 per month (+ discount for paying up front) and a bimonthly option
What’s Inside: Everything you need to complete the project, 20+ page Lab Notebook, access to additional instruction and experiments on the “Beyond…in a Box” website.
Review from Anitra at The Mama Zone: Groovy Lab in a Box is a clever product that offers kids hands-on experience in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). I was drawn to it because my son loves creating, investigating and working with his hands. I knew it would be a great way for him to do some of the things he loves, while I secretly offered him opportunities to use math outside of his school setting.
The box was created by Elaine Hansen and Monica Canavan. As scientists, parents and educators, they understand how important it is for children to think both critically and creatively and they’ve incorporated those ideas into each monthly box. Their purpose is to “provide children with an opportunity to focus his or her imagination, determination, and innately inquisitive nature” while using the Engineering Design Process.
You can check out videos of Anitra’s Groovy Lab experiments here and here. You can also use Anitra’s referral code to purchase.
Cost: $20 per month
What’s Inside: All the materials to complete the project, BLUEPRINT instruction sheet, TINKER ZINE booklet with additional experiments and activities.
Review from Anitra at The Mama Zone: We thoroughly enjoy using Tinker Crate and I can’t say enough about this hands-on/minds-on educational fun. Each monthly box includes supplies for creative STEM experiments that allow children to explore science, engineering and technology and have a good time doing it! Each crate is designed to help kids discover and explore and I love watching my son complete the projects.
You can watch a video of some of Anitra’s Tinker Crate projects here. You can also use her referral code to purchase and get a $10 discount.
The company that makes Tinker Crate also makes:
Doodle Crate for 9-16+ year olds
Kiwi Crate for 5-8 year olds
Koala Crate for 3-4 year olds
Cricket Crate for 0-36 months
You can check them all out here. You can get 30% off just for signing up for their emails or by using code SUN30 on your first subscription.
If you check out some of these learning subscription boxes I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below.
And be sure to check out the rest of the Frugal Mom’s Guide To Summer series.
Free Kids Activities has lots of ideas for summer activities for kids that are free or nearly free like bowling, skating, crafting and building. You can also get a Free printable Summer Activity Calendar and a Summer Adventure Checklist.
And Library Games has a Free printable Silly Summer Mad Libs, Library Scavenger Hunt game and a Summer Reading Challenge sheet.
Have a great summer!