The Top 8 Subscription Boxes for Kids
**UPDATED: October 2019**
Subscription boxes have become so very popular especially subscription boxes for kids.
What is a subscription box, you ask?
It’s a fast-growing segment of retail where companies offer boxes full of their products for a set amount of money each week or month.
Imagine that everything you need to make a gourmet meal for your family would arrive on your doorstep in a box with pre-portioned ingredients and the complete recipe and all instructions. And. . .you didn’t even have to run to the grocery store! That’s what Blue Apron does. Pretty convenient, huh? And, they’re yummy! I digress. . .we’re talking about subscription boxes for kids, not for me!
When I found out about these nifty subscription boxes, I learned that there are hundreds of companies providing everything from beauty supplies to clothing to toiletry items to toys. These boxes contain items that the company has picked for you usually based on your preferences.
So, when I began thinking about Christmas gifts for my grandkids this year, I wondered if there were any subscription boxes that they would like. Wow! I had no idea how many companies were offering subscription boxes for kids of all ages and interests! I’ve been researching these companies and their reviews for months now.
What I discovered is that I am going to LOVE this option to give as gifts to my grandkids for Christmas and possibly birthdays too!
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Why do I LOVE this idea so much?
Kids LOVE Getting Mail
First, kids love getting mail that is just for them. . .especially boxes!! Even my local Littles (that’s what I call my grandkids) will be able to receive something from me in the mail. And because I am going to do either 3 or 6-month subscriptions, this will go on for several months! I get to send a little love each month without having to remember to send something.
Free or Low-cost Shipping
Second, most of these companies have free shipping or at least, lower than what I can ship for. When I send large boxes of gifts for special occasions, I end up spending much of my budget on shipping expenses – boxes, packing material & postage. So, free shipping is money I can re-allocate to spend on the actual gift.
Experiences and Learning. . .Not Toys
Third, most of these are not toys but experiences. This way, the parents are not dealing with where to put more toys or risk the kids getting bored of the toy a week after they get it. Many of the subscription boxes for kids contain something to create or build, experience or solve. Most of them are very hands-on type of activities.
Stretches the Budget
Fourth, it is a bit of a relief on the budget. Many of these subscription boxes for kids can be paid for monthly. So, you will only pay for the month’s subscription at the time it ships. That means that I can spread out paying for Christmas over 3 – 6 months without putting it all on the credit card at once and dealing with those nasty fees. Woo Hoo! Big win for Nana!
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Let me save you some time. . .
I thought maybe I would save you some time by sharing what I have discovered in all my research. I based my opinions using criteria on popularity, reviews** (see note below), national recognition, family experience, price. . .and of course, some personal preference.
Just a side note: Some of the offers below are only available or the free shipping is only available if you have an Amazon Prime Membership. If you don’t have one, but you would like to try it, click below for a Free 30-day Trial:
Here are My Top 7 Picks Under $30:
#1 – Bitsbox
Ages: 6 – 12
Reviews: 4.8 Stars (out of 5)
Shipping: Free (if you have Amazon Prime)
Monthly – $28.95/mo.
3-Month – $27.95/mo.
12-Month – 24.95/mo.
Bitsbox is one of those subscription boxes for kids that parents might want to “play” with too! These boxes contain instructions for coding apps on a computer. These instructions are structured into computer science concept projects. Each level introduces a new concept that builds on the one before. So the longer you use the service, the more the kids learn. You can do a 3-month subscription and perhaps the parents will want to continue it. Who knows?
I’m super excited and impressed with this one. Did you know that the kids will actually build an app through the Bitsbox website? Yes, an actual app of their own. They will start out by coding from examples and then they can progress quickly to inventing their own apps. Not a bad skill to have in this fast-paced world of tech that we live in. And. . .these little digital natives will pick it up like we did learning to play hopscotch. . .easy peasy!
What’s the best part? They don’t need any special knowledge or experience to get started. And the bonus is that the apps they build, work on real phones and tablets! I know that my grandsons are going to be over-the-moon excited about getting this subscription box! (Shhh! This might be a spoiler alert if their mom reads this.)
Bitsbox was created by Google guys and is backed by Amazon’s A to Z Guarantee. Can’t go wrong here!
#2 – STEM Club
Age Groups: 3-4, 5-7, 8-13
Reviews: 4 ½ Stars (out of 5)
Shipping: Free (if you have Prime)
Monthly – $19.95
I’m going to break this one down into age groups:
3-4 Year Olds: The toys in this category introduce just simple concepts related to counting, building, and the whole cause and effect thing (Something we wish they would understand as they start driving!!! So better to learn it while they are young and still impressionable, right?).
This helps to build a good foundation for the kids as they get ready for more complex concepts later on. Aw heck! They’re just playing. As long as they don’t know they’re learning, it will always be fun!
(Note: Okay, so some of these ones ARE actually toys, but they are better-than-average toys. They are learning, discovery things that are played with, but playing with them teaches and helps the kids be creative.
Honestly, I may not have recommended this one if I hadn’t seen it in action. My Littles in Texas have this subscription, and they absolutely LOVE it! Their parents love it too even though they are minimalists. They don’t like having tons of toys around, but they welcome these when they come.)
5-7 Year Olds: There are some cool project and discovery things in this age group. At this age, kids still get excited about learning and discovering on their own. The autonomy really kicks in as they try to handle tougher and tougher skills on their own. Even though these are subscription boxes for kids, they contain awesome things like hands-on experiments and exploring electricity stuff. (Hide the cat!) There are also earth science activities and simple math projects. There’s even one that has dinosaur fossils in it!
8-13 Year Olds: Now, this group gets really exciting! There are lots of projects that are based on the kind of science that scares the heck out of me – physics, chemistry and engineering. Not my bag! (I was a life science gal – give me biology any day.) Although some of these things may need some adult supervision, they all have easy-to-understand instructions. Yeah, I could probably even do it. . .and that’s sayin’ something!
But I have to say that my grandkids love this stuff because it’s cool! As a matter of fact, one of my Littles in this age group will build anything out of nothing. You give him 3 -4 unrelated items, and he’ll build something that really works! The funny part is that he doesn’t know it has anything to do with science or engineering!! I think he will become a great scientist or inventor one day, but his mom just thinks he will be happy to go into demolition. Ha ha!
#3 – Kidstir
Ages: 4 – 12
Reviews: 4 ½ Stars (out of 5)
Monthly – $19.95/mo.
3-Month – $19.95/mo
6-Month – $18.50/mo
12-Month – $16.95/mo
The Kidstir subscription boxes for kids were created by a couple of moms who want kids to enjoy cooking and have a healthy, happy connection to food. With these kinds of experiences, they believe that kids will make better, healthier choices when it comes to food as they grow up. Let’s face it, for the most part, kids are picky. But, I have learned over the years that if they help make it, they are more likely to eat it.
With these kits, kids will learn about where food comes from and (hopefully) try some new options. They will even build their own cookbooks! These hands-on kits were built out of the experiences of these moms who were cookbook authors and chefs. Awesome! They also took a little from the experiences of Disney, Parents Magazine, Scholastic and Mattel.
BONUS: All new subscribers receive 2 free years of Family Circle, Parents or EveryDay with Rachael Ray Magazine when they sign up. Hmmm. . .maybe you could have that sent to you instead of the kids??
Some of our best family experiences come from being in the kitchen together. From making Papa’s scrumptious cinnamon twists to making Nana’s famous (almost world famous at this point) brownies, it’s fun to get our hands dirty and create yummy things together in the kitchen. This subscription box is great to help kids develop life skills and “cook” up some fun family memories!
*This one is only open to Amazon Prime members. If you are interested in this subscription but you don’t have Prime yet, try the 30-day Free trial Amazon Prime Membership here. (I wouldn’t live without mine!)
Ages: 0 – 12 yrs.
Reviews: This is pretty new so there aren’t many reviews on it yet. . .but it’s Amazon. Enough said.
Monthly – $22.99/mo.
The best parts of the Amazon Prime Book subscription box are that you get:
- 2 hardcover books (or 4 board books for little ones)
- You can preview the selections
- They cater to a wide age range of kids
- And again. . . it’s Amazon – that means a great guarantee and a name you already know.
*For those who don’t have (and don’t want) an Amazon Prime Membership, I would recommend The Story Box subscription box. These two subscription boxes are similar in content so I thought I would give an option for those who don’t have an Amazon Prime account.
Category: Reading & Literary skills
Ages: 0 – 6 yrs.
Reviews: 4 ½ Stars (out of 5)
Monthly – $14.99/mo., $17.99/mo., $19.99/mo.
3-Month – $14.99/mo., $17.99/mo., $19.99/mo.
6-Month – $14.99/mo., $17.99/mo., $19.99/mo.
This subscription box sends two children’s books a month. The books are chosen by a speech language pathologist, and it includes a parent guide for how to extend the learning beyond just reading the books. It’s like a book club for kids! There are three different subscription options available.
The Story Box is not just an ordinary kids’ book subscription. There are activities and suggestions for parents to really get involved to help to develop literary skills in their children. I think they have drilled it into us by now that kids become better readers when the parents are involved, right?
At any rate, since I have always been an avid reader, either of these would have been the perfect gift for me as a child. Getting a box in the mail with not one, but TWO books, would have been better than Disneyland for me! So, if there is a reader in your family, a book subscription box is the one to choose.
#5 – Green Kid Crafts
Ages: 2 – 10
Reviews: Several national awards and really good reviews
Shipping: 5.95/month ($7.95 for deluxe subscriptions)
Science & Discovery – $17.95/mo.
Literary – $27.95/mo.
These are STEAM projects and discovery kits. (STEAM? Yeah, add Arts into the STEM mix.) They are all curated with the age of the children in mind. Each box contains 4 – 8 different activity kits. They are created to keep the kids engaged, excited and aware of the things around them. I don’t have any personal experience with these kits, but I have talked to a couple of my friends who do. They love these kits and have told me that they are really fun and unique! So they even test their products with a crew of kids.
This company has a super reputation and has won numerous awards and appeared in many national magazines. It’s reassuring to know that this company has won several national awards like the Academics’ Brain Toy Award, Red Tricycle’s Most Awesome Subscription Service Award, MACT Excellence and MACT Green Awards, and several more. That’s always helpful when making a choice. They also have a great community around them of parents, grandparents, and educators all working together to create a great product. I like it when “regular” folks are involved.
They are very proud that they are a “green” company – meaning their products are earth friendly and environmentally safe. This is another one of those companies that was created by a mom. She was an environmental scientist and wanted her kids to be creative, love discovery, and learn about the world around them, so she created this company. (Gotta turn in my mom card knowing that!! I wasn’t quite that cool, but I managed to blow up a few things in the kitchen (and the backyard) when my kids were growing up, so. . .cool enough, I guess. Ha ha!)
#6 – Kiwi Co.
Ages: 0 – 16
Reviews: 4 ½ Stars (out of 5), other really great reviews around the internet
Shipping: Free (for all U.S. orders)
$19.95/mo. – all ages & subscriptions
The subscription boxes for kids from KiwiCo seem to be on everyone’s list! These are so much fun that kids don’t even realize that they’re working on educational projects. In my book, that’s the best way to learn. It keeps kids engaged in hands-on activities and NOT in front of a screen! These are true boredom busters! Whether it’s a boring, hot summer day OR a day when the temps are freezing, these boxes are a great indoor activity. Win-win all year!
They have many different categories aimed at different age groups. You just need to pick the one that fits the age group of the kids you’re buying for. The kits involve lots of creativity and incorporate critical thinking skills. They also help with coordination and introduce problem solving.
I don’t have any personal experience with this company, but their reviews are really great!
#7 – Spectrum Surprise
This is a special subscription box for special kids! Spectrum Sense for Moms has just created this subscription box offer. They really know their stuff! The mom who created this has two autistic kids herself and knows how expensive these specialty sensory toys can be. She wanted a way for other moms (and grandmas) to be able to afford these items for their autistic children.
In each box, you will get:
- 5-6 toys & tools to improve sensory integration, communication and regulation
- A new autism awareness item comes in each box, because sharing is caring
- A laminated, ready-to-use visual aid is included each month
- A handcrafted travel sensory kit, designed to use on the go or at home
The beauty of this subscription is that you can get just one box or a subscription for multiple months. It’s a great deal! I have a grandson who has been diagnosed with autism and I can tell you that he LOVES his Spectrum Surprise box that he gets each month! This mom stands behind her products and has fabulous customer service. Give it a try!
#8 – Little Passports
Category: Geography, Exploring
Ages: 3 – 9+
Reviews: Award Winning, 4 ½ Stars (out of 5)
Early Explorers – Starting monthly at $18.95
World & USA Edition – starting monthly at $14.95
Science Expeditions – starting monthly $21.95
This one is a bit more pricey, but it’s a great way to explore the world without the actual cost of traveling. For kids, this is a great way to explore different places and cultures. This would be awesome for homeschoolers or just families who want to study different places in the U.S. and around the world. The kids even get letters from kids from the places they explore.
As a matter of fact, I know a family who even moved to another country for a few years to expose their kids to another language and people. Wow! That’s dedication! Of course, you would need to be independently wealthy to give your kids or grandkids that kind of an experience. . .so this is the next best thing.
Where my kids grew up, there wasn’t a lot of diversity in the population around us. So, this would have been a great tool to help them learn acceptance of those who are different than they were – a skill many adults need these days!
In my opinion, hard as they try, the public-school system isn’t doing a very good job of helping kids celebrate those differences. Rather, they just learn how to tolerate them. With that said, a subscription box like this one would help families open up discussions geared towards learning about others and loving them.
Just a Note About Reviews. . .
**Occasionally, I will see comments in reviews where a mom will say the price wasn’t worth it, because she could go to the store and buy the things herself. That’s great. . .if your goal is to have some frugal fun and be creative as a mom. However, I think that with these subscription boxes for kids you are paying for the convenience of NOT having to gather up (or go out and run all over town for) supplies, think up the idea, and then put together all the instructions for your child or grandchild to follow.
As a grandma, not only do I NOT want to have to think it all up, but I don’t want to put that burden on the moms either. So, a box with all the supplies and instructions makes the best sense. Besides, I love the idea that the kids get something in the mail from me every month. Kids absolutely LOVE getting snail mail, because it’s a bit of a novelty these days.
One More Savings Tip
Look at the top of the websites, because most of them will have a banner or something that offers you a coupon for your first month – usually 20% – 30% – not bad! Sometimes you have to sign up to receive their emails. Just do it! You may find some really useful tips and tricks, advance notice on sales, or coupons, etc. It’s worth the savings, and you can always unsubscribe if you don’t find their newsletter helpful.
So, there you have it! Those are my top picks for subscription boxes for kids (and grandkids). I hope you can find a unique gift somewhere in here. If you find another one that you think should be on my list, please leave a comment below so I can check it out. Or, if you are looking for something and it’s not on my list, let me know that too! I will get right on it and research it for you!
Cookies & Milk for Everyone!
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