Let’s just be honest: I suck at entertaining a four-year-old. I think I’ve reached my limit for LEGO and my attention span for playing cars is about 4 seconds. I’m really trying, but this is one part of motherhood I find totally hard.
In theory, I think crafts are great. Connor actually likes them and I don’t mind pretending I have some crafty talent. The problem is that I don’t really have the craft gene and, while Connor likes doing crafts, he’s often entertained only slightly longer than I am playing dinosaurs so it’s a little disheartening to find craft ideas and gather all the stuff and not have it take more than six minutes.
But hark! I hear the gentle call of a crafty fairy godmother.
The lovely folks at Kiwi Crate got in touch to see if I’d like to try one of their kits. Um, yes please! If someone wants to send me a box of stuff that will help me play with my kid I will not say no.
I’m going to tell you about our experience, because I really like what they offer, but first here’s what Kiwi Crate is in their own words:
Kiwi Crate is a monthly subscription service, targeted at kids ages 3-7. We deliver a box to your child each month that’s designed around a certain theme (think dinosaurs, garden, superheroes, space.) In each box are 2-3 carefully designed and kid-tested projects, which cover a range of developmental areas and subjects, including art, science, and imaginative play. All the materials and inspiration to encourage creativity and curiosity are included – you just supply the kid!
Now, a box of craft supplies is fab enough. But one that is fun, artsy and with a science or learning element? That totally scores me points in my Am I a Good Mom spreadsheet. And these kits are done really well.
We got a box that had two crafts - a wind sock and two wind cars. See?
The box has EVERYTHING you need. Even bits of tape where tape is called for. And I love that they include scissors because, while we happen to have our kid scissors accessible, they could very easily be buried in our craft box in the basement.
Connor chose to do the wind sock first, so we checked out all the supplies and pulled out the pieces we needed for that one.
Next up: decorating the sock with the full set of oil pastels provided (which gave me a serious case of nostalgia). Connor loved this part and used ALL the colours.
Then there were some steps that I didn’t get pictures of because there’s only so much multitasking an uncrafty mama can do. We glued the ribbons on (using glue dots – easy peasy) and got the wind sock all put together. I helped a little bit but the little dude could really do this whole thing almost entirely on his own.
Cool, right? And what I loved about this one is that we also got a (kid-friendly) Beaufort scale and an observation card to see how strong the wind is. (0 = Calm, no wind. Your wind sock is completely still. 1 = Light, barely a wind. The ribbons on your wind sock move a little. 2 = Light breeze. Leaves are moving and rustling lightly. You can feel the wind on your skin. And so on.)
We hung the wind sock on a tree on our deck and watched the wind blow the ribbons. It’s still there, actually. A nice little burst of colour outside the window.
The next day we donned our Superman jammies and made wind cars. This craft was great because there were supplies for two (so you can race them), which meant I got to make one of my very own and the four-year-old didn’t get any input into the design. Ahem.
We got to decorate both the base and the sail, and putting the cars together was a cinch – wheels, straws, tape, and some dough. (Can you tell which one is mine?)
The idea is to make them go using your breath.
Seriously, these kits are fantastic. We had enough supplies plus some extras just in case. There are cards inside with ideas for parents to talk about the concepts (e.g. What else can make your car go? (A fan?) If you put something on your wind car, is it easier or harder to blow the car?) and the Kiwi Crate website has even more resources.
Kiwi Crate was recently featured on Good Morning America, the Today Show, In Style, Parents Magazine, and they have a partnership with Pottery Barn Kids. They were also just recently named one of Dr. Toy’s 10 best creative products of 2012, and I can totally understand why they’re getting all this attention. It takes a lot to make me rave about something, but I’m raving about this.
You can get a monthly subscription or an annual one, and they offer sibling add-ons (the “no fight” crate – brilliant!) as well as options for giving this as a gift. I think this would make a really good gift. *bats eyelashes* (And Canadians, you can get these too. Kiwi Crate is a U.S.-based company but they’ve just started shipping to Canada.)
And—last thing!—Kiwi Crate has a big giveaway going on Facebook right now where you can enter to win everything in Kiwi Crate’s DIY Materials craft shop and a brand new craft table from Pottery Barn. (Worth $750 and is open to US and Canada.)
And that’s my rave review. Gold star. Two thumbs up. Recommended wholeheartedly by this mom.
Disclosure: I was provided one Kiwi Crate box to try and tell you about, but the side effects of inspiration and sanity saved are all my own.