Best Subscription Boxes For Kids: Little Passports vs KiwiCo vs Amazon STEM vs MEL Science & More

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1st
KiwiCo logo
2nd
Little Passports logo
3rd
Green Kid Crafts logo
Honorable Mention
OwlCrate logo

With kids out of school for the COVID-19 crisis (and even home during the summer), it’s important to keep their curious minds engaged in fun and educational activities. Getting a monthly subscription box delivered right to your door is an excellent choice as we’re trying to avoid crowds and socially isolate.

Which ones are the best? And what kinds of activities do they include? We’ve done our homework, so you don’t have to.

Article Overview

Best Activity Subscription Boxes For Kids

It was hard to narrow down this vast market. We chose our top picks and other noteworthy options based on several factors, including the variety of educational activities, quality of products, creative projects, pricing and more.

KiwiCo Review

KiwiCo box#1

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KiwiCo takes our top spot for their variety of fun and educational activities (science, art, engineering, crafts, etc.) and high-quality products you get each month. They have 8 different subscription boxes to choose from, ranging in ages from 0 to 104. When you sign up, you pick one of their 8 “lines” for your first month, but you can switch lines anytime.

And when you’re signing up, you give them your child’s birth date so they can custom design the products specifically for the age and developmental stage of your child. Customers rave about the value and quality of the products, and KiwiCo gets overall good reviews for their customer service. See our pricing section below for each of their lines.

Personal Experience

Kid playing with KiwiCo setTo fill the gaps between schoolwork and outdoor play, our family subscribed to a 3-month subscription with KiwiCo for our 9-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son. Once their crates arrived, there were written and online instructions, which we really liked, but I found myself still helping at least one of my children a lot during the 2 hours it took for them to complete their projects. So, another takeaway, if you have a child that might not work very well independently, maybe pick an age category well within their limits and not stretch to get a crate above their age range. That way, you’re lucky to get a couple of hours of peace and quiet! I’m glad I signed up for 3 months because immediately after they were done, they were asking about the next delivery. Two thumbs up from both our kiddos! – Debbie L., Mom of two

Pros

Cons

  • Boxes for all ages
  • Wide variety of activities and interests
  • They customize each box for your child’s specific age
  • Switch lines anytime
  • Can cancel month-to-month anytime
  • Online store with a lot of additional educational activities and projects
  • Website has excellent free activity ideas and resources for home learning
  • Free shipping in the U.S.
  • You can’t choose the frequency of deliveries

Pricing

The following pricing is for month-to-month payments, but you can save money if you prepay for 6, 12 or 24 months. All boxes ship once a month unless otherwise noted.

  • $19.95/mo Panda Crate (0-24 months); delivered every 2 months
  • $19.95/mo Koala Crate (ages 2-4)
  • $19.95/mo Kiwi Crate (ages 5-8): science, art & more
  • $19.95/mo Atlas Crate (ages 6-11): geography & culture
  • $19.95/mo Doodle Crate (ages 9-16+): arts & crafts
  • $19.95/mo Tinker Crate (ages 9-16+): science & engineering
  • $29.95/mo Maker Crate (ages 14-104): art & design
  • $29.95/mo Eureka Crate (ages 14-104): design & engineering

Coupon

Save 15% off at KiwiCo with code LEARN. Just use this link to get started.

Little Passports Review

Little Passports box#2

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Little Passports is another excellent option for fun activities that will spark your child’s curiosity and keep them engaged. They offer 5 different monthly subscription boxes, ranging in ages from 3 to 12. Their activities, designed by parents and educators, center on world geography, culture and science exploration (there are minimal arts activities). They also have a great online store full of individual products, including books, science kits, STEM activities, board games and much more.

Pros

Cons

  • Excellent educational activities for ages 3-12
  • Award-winning, high-quality products included in each box
  • Can cancel month-to-month subscriptions anytime
  • Online store with a lot of additional educational activities and projects
  • No boxes for toddlers or teens
  • Shipping for monthly boxes is $3-$4 per month (but free for online store)
  • You can’t choose the frequency of deliveries

Pricing

The following pricing is for month-to-month payments, but you can save money if you prepay for 6 or 12 months. All boxes ship once per month.

  • $19.95/mo Early Explorers (ages 3-5)
  • $17.95/mo World Edition (ages 6-10)
  • $15.95/mo USA Edition (ages 7-12)
  • $21.95/mo Science Junior (ages 5-8)
  • $21.95/mo Science Expeditions (ages 9+)
  • View all options

Coupon

Save 15% off at Little Passports with code SPRING2020. Just use this link to get started.

Green Kid Crafts Review

Green Kid Crafts box#3

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Your aspiring scientists, artists and engineers will love the STEAM-focused (science, technology, engineering, art and math) boxes from Green Kid Crafts. Each themed box includes 4 to 6 science and art kits as well as an activity-filled magazine. Themes range from Outer Space, Save our Oceans, Green Energy, Rocket Science, Climate Change, The Human Body and much more. They have 2 age ranges: 2-5 and 5-10+.

Although their subscriptions are pricier than many other options, you get a lot for your money, so it could be worth it to keep your kids occupied for longer. And we love the company’s eco-friendly practices — they plant one tree for every order placed, all boxes are 100% recycled and they donate 1% of sales to environmental organizations.

Pros

Cons

  • Lots of activities included in each box
  • Creative themes and products
  • Online store has a few other STEM-focused kits and products for sale
  • Eco-friendly focus
  • Can cancel month-to-month subscription anytime
  • Discounted sibling box subscription
  • Free shipping in the U.S.
  • Pricier than many competitors (but you get more activities)
  • Age range caps out around 10 years old
  • Only 2 subscriptions to choose from
  • You can’t change the frequency of deliveries

Price

The following prices are for their Junior Discovery (ages 2-5) and Discovery (ages 5-10+) boxes and are for month-to-month payments. However, you can save money if you prepay for 3, 6 or 12 months. All boxes ship once per month.

Coupon

Save 10% off at Green Kid Crafts with code HOMESCHOOL. Just use this link to get started.

Honorable Mention (Books): OwlCrate Review

OwlCrate box

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Encouraging your kids to read is one of the most rewarding things you can do for them, and OwlCrate’s kids’ book subscription boxes can do just that. Their main box features young adult fiction for ages 14+, but they also offer OwlCrate Jr. for ages 8 to 12.

Each box contains one book, 3-5 high-quality bookish items and exclusive goodies from the author. OwlCrate is an excellent option for your middle or high schoolers and will keep them occupied for hours.

Pros

Cons

  • Carefully chosen new releases will instill a love for reading
  • Every box includes a handwritten note by the author
  • The related keepsakes are made by small businesses & family-run shops around the country
  • Can skip or cancel month-to-month subscriptions anytime
  • Pricey
  • No boxes for toddler, preschool or elementary school ages
  • Shipping is a hefty $7.99/mo
  • No refunds or returns if your child isn’t interested in the book

Pricing

The following pricing is for month-to-month payments, but you can save money if you prepay for 3 or 6 months. All boxes ship once per month.

Coupon

Use this link to get the best deal we can offer from OwlCrate.

What Are My Other Options?

We’ve handpicked these other noteworthy monthly boxes for kids that you should also consider in addition to our top winners.

Amazon STEM Club | Brick Loot | Girls Can! Crate | MEL Science

Amazon STEM Club Toy Subscription Review

Amazon STEM Club logoView on Amazon

Amazon STEM Club is an activity box subscription that sends a high-quality, age-appropriate toy each month. The toys incorporate STEM concepts (science, technology, engineering and math), and they’ve also recently brought arts and crafts into the mix. They have 3 age categories: ages 3-4, 5-7 and 8-13.

While each toy is a name-brand you can find elsewhere, the Amazon STEM Club’s price is up to 40% off the retail value. And the club takes the hassle of searching for educational toys off your plate.

Pros

Cons

  • High-quality, brand-name educational toys at discounted prices
  • A focus on STEM activities and arts and crafts
  • Can cancel or pause anytime
  • Can choose delivery every month, every 2 months or every 3 months
  • Toys and projects aren’t unique like KiwiCo, Little Passports and Green Kid Crafts
  • No boxes for toddlers or older teens
  • No discounts if you prepay for several months (like other clubs offer)

Pricing

Brick Loot Review

Brick Loot box

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If your kid is a LEGO fanatic, you’ll want to check out Brick Loot. Each month you get a new themed box with 4 to 8 items and Brick Loot exclusives and the newest brick items before they hit the market. Each package includes custom LEGO brick kits, accessories, mini-figures and other LEGO compatible products. Each box has a retail value of $45+, so it’s a super value for any collector or enthusiast.

Pros

Cons

  • Great value
  • Access to exclusive toy brick items
  • Online store carries LED light sets for LEGO sets, custom kits and more
  • Can cancel month-to-month subscription anytime
  • Only one subscription to choose from
  • Hefty $6 shipping fee per month
  • You can’t select the frequency of deliveries

Price

The following pricing is for month-to-month payments, but you can save money if you prepay for 3, 6 or 12 months. All boxes ship once per month.

Girls Can! Crate Review

Girls Can! Crate box

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Do you want to empower your young girls? Girls Can! Crate’s subscription box features fun, educational activities focused on female role models, including artists, activists, explorers, Nobel Prize winners and more. Each container includes 2 to 3 STEAM projects, props and stickers for creative play and a 28-page activity book with the story of each month’s inspiring leader. The recommended age range is 5-10 years old. 

Crates aren’t cheap, but they also offer a smaller version of their featured leader in a more affordable mini-mailer, which includes a 16-page activity book, 1 hands-on STEAM activity and a collectible sticker. Or you could go with their budget-friendly digital subscription, which consists of the leader’s story, printable activity pages, instructions for a hands-on related activity and more.

Pros

Cons

  • Excellent way to inspire and educate girls
  • Fun, creative activities
  • Only $9 for a sibling add-on
  • Can choose delivery once a month or once every 2 months
  • Can pause or cancel anytime
  • Free shipping in the U.S.
  • They donate crates to non-profits
  • Pricier than most other boxes we review here
  • Age range is limited to 5-10 years old

Price

The following pricing is for month-to-month payments, but you can save money if you prepay for 3, 6 or 12 months. All boxes ship once per month.

  • $27.95/mo Individual Crate ($9/mo sibling add-on)
  • $36.95/mo Multiple Children
  • $18.50/mo Mini-Mailer
  • View all options

MEL Science Review

MEL Science box

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MEL Science is one of the best science-based subscription boxes for kids. They offer a monthly MEL Chemistry box for kids from 9-14, which includes 2 to 3 complete chemistry kits. To supplement their experiments, kids can use their mobile app as a virtual reality (VR) microscope so they can explore molecules and atoms in 3D. The app also includes instructional tips and videos. Your first shipment includes a free starter kit with a beaker, flask and other equipment they’ll need as well as a cool VR headset that they’ll use with their smartphone.

They also offer MEL Kids, a monthly box for younger kids aged 5-10. Each month has a different theme, like electricity, magnetism, earth science and more. And each box contains a building model of a functioning device, an activity book, educational comics and an augmented reality lesson you can access on their mobile app.

Pros

Cons

  • Very high-quality science kits
  • MEL Chemistry includes a free starter kit and VR headset
  • Great educational mobile apps expand on what’s in the box
  • Can cancel or pause anytime
  • Free shipping
  • Pricey compared to other boxes we reviewed
  • Can’t customize the frequency of deliveries (once a month is the only option)
  • No discounts if you prepay for several months

Price

  • $34.90/mo MEL Chemistry (ages 9-14)
  • $24.90/mo MEL Kids (ages 5-10)
  • View all options

Need Some Indoor Activity Ideas?

Check out these fun and easy indoor activities you can do with your toddlers and younger kids.

Parents: Get A Monthly Wine Or Beer Box

Now that you’ve got the kids covered, take care of yourselves. If you or your loved one is a wine or beer enthusiast, you can explore new brews and vintages with a monthly subscription box of your own. See our reviews of the best beer of the month clubs and the best monthly wine clubs for our top picks.

Do you have any tips on keeping your kids occupied during long days at home?

About The Author:

Sally holds a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in anthropology from James Madison University. She went on to pursue a master’s in journalism at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. An international traveler since she was under 10 years old, Sally loves exploring the world’s mysteries first-hand. Her favorite destinations? Greece, the British Virgin Islands and NYC.

She also spent much of her career in health sciences communications and has enjoyed working with and learning from some of the world’s leading academic scientists in genetics, global health, addiction research and other fields.

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