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Totally Together

A Review of Kiwi Crate Art Projects for Kids

March 14, 2012 by  


Spring Break and Summer Vacation are sneaking up on me. We’ve got Spring Break the week leading into Easter, and then have another day off to recover from the holiday. That’s 6 days of me being home with all three kids that I’ve got to figure out how to fill so I’m not subjected to days upon days of Netflixed episodes of The Wizards of Waverly Place or (#someonepleasehelpme) Caillou.
[side bar: did you know there was an I Hate Caillou page on Café Mom? Hysterical.]

Anyhow, when BlogHer asked if I’d test out the subscription-based Kiwi Crate art box, I said #yespleaseandthankyou right away.
[another side bar: I had this as a work-from-home business idea back in 2003. I was going to call them Preschool Packets and make up worksheets and art projects and sell them online, and on Ebay. I think I have a domain name or two that I’m still paying for…]

My idea was complete amateur hour compared to the Kiwi Crates. This is a very well designed and executed product. I initially thought the art boxes were kind of pricey at $19.95 each, but once I saw what they entailed, I changed my mind.

The “crate” is a thick cardboard box–the kind a really expensive pair of shoes comes in-and the kind that my kids COVET for all of their collections (more often than not the “collection” is gum wrappers, or Popsicle sticks, or soda can tabs. #Icantevenexplainhowmuchthisannoysme) and the art supplies are wrapped in tissue paper.

The presentation worked on my kids–they were instantly excited and could hardly wait to dig in.

Our box contained three art projects: a stained glass mosaic, a color-your-own spinning top, and a canvas art bag that was colored by wetting tissue paper squares with a water dropper. Totally cool. The box also contained two bluntish Fiskars kid scissors, markers, and 3-D glasses.

We invited our neighbors over, and pulled out some construction paper and stickers to keep the babies busy. I had 2 seven-year-olds, a ten-year-old, a 3-year-old, and a 2-year-old all sharing the supplies from this box (along with the aforementioned stickers and paper for the little guys).

The kids worked straight for about an hour, and really enjoyed themselves. The markers were small and were a bit dried out; so I replaced them with our own Crayola washables.

All the kids occupied themselves long enough for my friend Jen and me to make and enjoy two cups of coffee. And gossip conversation.

That is so worth $19.95.

Also, we have enough leftover for a few more collage projects, and the kids are enjoying the canvas art bags (good quality; the baby put in a bunch of pointy rocks and dragged it around outside) and the Fiskars scissors will last a life time.

If I wanted to buy everything at Michael’s and put this together myself I’d spend more than the $20 and would have to prep everything–not something I’m honestly going to do.

I really like this as a gift idea. I’m going to see if I can get the grandparents on board and get an annual subscription for the kids for Christmas this year. I think the kids will get a kick out of opening a new box with a new activity/project each month and the anticipation of awaiting a new arrival. They really like mail as it is.

In the mean time, I’m going to sign up to get us through the summer months. We’re laying low again-I hate paying for lots of activities, and I really like having the kids home with me, even if they argue and bicker more than I’d like them to. (socialization! in action!)

And the projects are cool. My tweenager (#notmymostfavoriteterm) was all into the art supplies, and I can definitely see her and her friends working on these types of art activities together out in the yard.

Before they head off to middle school next year.

Which isn’t okay with me.

I wonder if Kiwi Crate has some sort of time machine project where I can have the kids on “pause” for a while?

Post a comment · 8 Comments »


8 Responses to “A Review of Kiwi Crate Art Projects for Kids”

  1. Kelly Welch on March 15th, 2012 10:09 am

    I had to laugh at your comments about Caillou………..and just to let you know, that there are some totally redeeming features from that cartoon….

    I came from a large family, and though we are close, we were not a very happy family. We yelled a lot. We put each other down a lot. I am 49 years old, with a 6, 13, and 16 year old at home, and sad to say, much of my family of origin still the same way.

    When I became a mom at 32, they poked fun at me because I was reading books on parenting (“What to Expect when You’re Expecting,” plus the rest of the series……who thot those would be controversial?) But I knew I didn’t want to raise my kids the way I was raised.

    I refused to have cable in my home when my kids were younger, and I wanted to know what was going in their heads, so I made it a point to keep an eye on what they were watching. Believe it or not, I learned a lot about parenting from watching shows like Arthur, Thomas the Tank Engine, and yes…….Caillou.

    For one thing, when it first came on over here, I had a 4 year old and his 1 year old sister. So when Caillou got upset with Rosie, we could relate to it. I liked how his parents could tell him he made the wrong choice without yelling at him, that he didn’t need to be spanked to be taught his lesson……and it helped me to see another family working things out, even if it was only an animated cartoon.

    At that time, my 4 year old was exhibiting some very frightful behavior sympomatic of autism. He didn’t understand how he was supposed to behave, and he didn’t “get it” by being told, or pick it up from being with other kids. So Caillou also became an excellent teaching tool for him AND us (he picked things up better by watching it on TV or reading it in a book) At almost 17, he still doesn’t “get” all behavior, but he’s a junior in high school, takes exceedingly advanced classes and has good friends, and he outgrew those symptoms that seemed part of the autism spectrum.

    So while some shows are extremely annoying (did you ever watch “Boo Bah” on PBS (or whatever those “tooting” round reatures were) or Barney or Teletubbies) I must admit that some people’s annoying TV shows might actually have some saving grace in another’s situation!

    • Stephanie on March 15th, 2012 10:30 am

      Hi Kelly–
      thank you for reminding me of parenting-lessons-learned-via-PBS.
      I agree. Caillou’s parents definitely have more patience than I do. 😉

      I’ve learned a lot about how to handle situations from watching parents on TV; I love watching the Huxtables on the Cosby Show, and even Dan and Roseanne Conner. Franklin (the turtle)’s parents are great, too.

      have a great day, and thank you for taking the time to write and share your perspective. xoxo

  2. Helen on March 15th, 2012 10:41 pm

    Our daughter received 3-mo. Kiwi Crate subscription from her uncle & aunt at Christmas and WOW!!! We have loved doing the projects together and the fact that so much comes in the boxes. In addition, with the subscrip. we get a really neat newsletter that covers the theme of the box we received. The projects have been quality ideas with really great supplies. As said, we got 3 boxes and they have enough leftovers in each box for many more days of play. My initial thought about the price was the same – $20 for a box of paper and craft sticks? but now that we have experienced the great green box, we will be gifting subscriptions and I look forward to signing up for more boxes. I, too, wonder about the possibility of a “pause” in a subscription. At the end of our three months, we received an additional incentive for 50% off the next month. Don’t know if those incentives would continue as subscriptions run out but we are asking the family to consider it as gifts for future. Good customer service as well. Kudos to Kiwi Crate.

  3. Kelly B on March 17th, 2012 11:44 am

    I love your household planning book. Any chance you might make it into an ipad app at some point? I would LOVE that!

    • Stephanie on March 17th, 2012 2:56 pm

      Hi Kelly, I’m so glad you’re enjoying the Totally Together book! thank you for letting me know—-
      I haven’t found a reputable app maker, yet, but am looking into it. The few I’ve contacted charge in the neighborhood of $30k! which is most certainly not in the budget…
      but I promise I’m trying! thank you again for your feedback; I appreciate it.

  4. sharilyn on March 20th, 2012 4:55 pm

    i remember my mom had ordered something like this for my sister and me when we were kids. i don’t know who made them then (35yrs ago!) or how much they cost, but we LOVED getting our craft box each month!! soooo much fun! :)

  5. Dona Hightower Perkins on March 31st, 2012 7:58 pm

    Thank you SO MUCH for sharing about the Kiwi Crates! I just ordered one for my two kids in the hopes that it might keep them busy during the long summer ahead. It’s a fantastic concept and looks like it’s been executed well. I can’t wait to see it in person! :)

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