Is the KiwiCo Koala Crate Worth It? | Unsponsored Review

Nov 10, 2021Product Reviews

By Rebekah

By Rebekah

I'm a work-from-home mom with a supportive, hard-working husband, two toddlers, and a newborn. In the business world, I'm a copywriter with a deep background in marketing and SEO. At home, I'm always looking for mom hacks, the best projects and toys for my growing kiddos, and ways to solve everyday mom dilemmas. Whatever I find, I'm sharing on this blog, which is my passion project!

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Is the KiwiCo Koala Crate Worth It? | Unsponsored Review

KiwiCo crates are art and science-based projects, delivered to you each month. They’re hands-on, screen-free, and created based on age.

So… is the KiwiCo Koala Crate for ages 2-4 worth it? I’m taking you on our full journey with KiwiCo, including some background on the company, how much KiwiCo crates cost, and our experience with the step-by-step crafts included in each box.

Jump ahead if you’re interested in a particular section:

Disclaimer

I was not paid to write this review, and I bought the KiwiCo crates for my 3-year-old daughter with my own money (not sent any product from the company). 

If you use this link, you will get $10 off your first purchase.

Now that that’s out of the way, let’s get into some background on the company and my honest review.

What is KiwiCo?

KiwiCo was founded in 2011 by Sandra Oh Lin, an engineer and mother of 3. She wanted to develop creative, hands-on projects for her own kids, but like the rest of us, her best intentions often fell short.

sandra and family

Finding the time to dream up project ideas – and gather all the materials you need – is nearly impossible. We have diapers to change and dinner to make, after all!

She ended up starting KiwiCo with a vision to help parents bring enriching experiences to their children. KiwiCo has certainly grown since its inception with creative designers, experts who review the projects, and even a community of kid testers who make sure every crate is fun and engaging. 

kid testers at kiwico

One fact that blew my mind is the KiwiCo team spends over 1,000 hours conceptualizing, prototyping, testing, and perfecting each and every crate. I don’t know about you, but I definitely do not have 1,000 hours to dream up art activities for my 3-year-old.

To date, KiwiCo has shipped 25 million crates.

How much does KiwiCo cost per month?

KiwiCo crates are shipped on a monthly basis, and you can purchase one month, 3 months, 6 months, or 12 months at a time. I personally thought the 6-month subscription was the best option, but that decision is up to you.

Here is the cost of the KiwiCo monthly crates if you purchase 6 months (all free shipping):

  • Panda Crate (for ages 0-2): $17.50/month (each crate for this age includes 2 months of products and activities; they ship every other month, so a 6-month subscription would actually last you 12 months)
  • Koala Crate (for ages 2-4): $18.95/month
  • Kiwi Crate (for ages 5-8): $18.95/month 
  • Atlas Crate (for ages 6-11): $18.95/month 
  • Yummy Crate (for ages 6-14): $18.95/month 
  • Doodle Crate (for ages 9-16+): $18.95/month 
  • Tinker Crate (for ages 9-14): $18.95/month 
  • Maker Crate (for ages 14-104): $27.95/month
  • Eureka Crate (for ages 12-104): $27.95/month

If you buy just one month, you’ll pay more. You could get one month to test it out, but the cost savings to go for 6 months was a no-brainer for me. A whole year seemed like a pretty long commitment, and the cost savings to go from 6 to 12 months isn’t that significant.

I can also help you get the cost down with $10 off your first order using this link.

koala crate subscription options from kiwico
Subscription options for Koala, Kiwi, Atlas, Tummy, Doodle, and Tinker crates

There’s a look inside my brain. 🙂 

How much does a KiwiCo crate cost?

If you just want to buy a single KiwiCo crate, you could choose the 1-month subscription option, which you can cancel anytime. For most of the crates, including the Koala Crate, the cost is $22.95 for a 1-month subscription.

You can also buy single KiwiCo crates in the Store area, which is separate from the subscriptions. Here, there are all kinds of projects to choose from, from a domino machine to a paleontologist starter kit. The cost of these individual crates varies, depending on how complex the materials are. 

individual kiwico crates

I imagine the Store area would be ideal if you’re doing any Christmas or birthday shopping. There’s a handy feature in there that lets you sort by age, and you can also select interests, so if your child is interested in Animals & Nature, for example, you can filter out the crate options.

Giving a gift card can be kind of boring when you want to see a child’s face light up on Christmas. I love that you can buy single crates for gifting, and it’s also a nice option if you want to test out a project before subscribing.

Can you cancel a KiwiCo subscription?

The KiwiCo subscriptions allow you to cancel anytime. Keep in mind that if you buy a 3, 6, or 12-month subscription, you prepay for all of those months. However, you could stop it from automatically renewing by canceling before your subscription period is over.

The 1-month subscriptions are month-to-month, and you can cancel anytime.

Are the KiwiCo books worth it?

With KiwiCo subscriptions, you have the option to add a supplemental book, which goes along with the month’s theme. 

For example, a doctor-themed kit included a book called Kellan to the Rescue, which is about an animal that loves bandages and thinks he can fix anything. He’s met with adversity when there’s an issue he can’t fix. 

Koala crate with doctor book

I personally decided not to include the supplemental book in my kits. I’m not opposed to it, and the books look like a great way to extend the activities. 

However, at the time, I was already getting a lot of books from other sources, including our local library, a Literati book subscription (use this link for $25 in book bucks for Literati Kids), and an Amazon book box subscription. I really didn’t need more books, and adding a book to each crate increases the cost quite a bit.

Adding a book is $9.95 per crate, so for a 6-month subscription, my one-time cost would’ve been almost $60 more. It didn’t seem worth it to me at the time, but I may change that when I renew our current subscription.

2022 UPDATE: I have since added the supplemental books to my monthly subscription box…. and I don’t think the KiwiCo books are worth it. They’re cute stories that do go along with the month’s theme, but they’re paperback.

kiwico books

I’m not a big fan of paperback books, because they get destroyed a lot faster than hardcovers. We’re still going to enjoy the books we’ve gotten, but I’ve stopped adding the books to future subscriptions because it’s just worth it for my family. We prefer getting our books from the local library and Literati book boxes.

What ages are KiwiCo crates good for?

KiwiCo was originally developed for ages 5-8, but the product line expanded over time. Now, you can get something from KiwiCo for literally any age range (0-104).

kiwico age ranges

That said, my personal feeling is these hands-on activities are ideal for ages 2-10ish. After age 10, kids are so involved in other things, like sports or other recreational activities (and school); I don’t know if they’d be super pumped up about getting this kind of crate.

I could definitely be wrong, though – if you love KiwiCo for your older kids, leave a comment below.

I also think the Panda Crate for under age 2 is worth passing on. It includes developmentally-appropriate toys and products for babies, but it doesn’t look like the best option on the market. I’d personally pivot to something like Lovevery if you want a subscription based on your baby’s age.

The Panda Crate is fundamentally different from the rest of the kits in that it’s not hands-on projects to do and explore with your child –  it’s products and baby toys.

Lovevery’s subscription is so much nicer, with higher-quality items that will last and you and baby will love. It’s more expensive, but I’d rather put my money towards those play kits than the KiwiCo version. I’ll elaborate more on KiwiCo vs Lovevery later in this article.

Our Experience with KiwiCo Koala Crates

We have done 4 months worth of KiwiCo projects now, and I am subscribed to the Koala Crate for ages 2-4. I primarily use this with my 3-year-old daughter, but my nearly 2-year-old son often joins us. He does a bit of destroying, but sometimes, he follows a direction or two, which I think is great practice.

Here were the themes of our 4 Koala Crates so far:

  • Rainbows
  • Farm
  • Music
  • Rainforest

I love that each month has a different theme with three simple projects that tie into it. It gives me a chance to talk about a new topic with my daughter, and she’s expanding her knowledge and vocabulary.

The best part, though, is doing the hands-on activities.

In the rainbow crate, we created a rainbow pillow, a stained glass image, and a rainbow tote bag. In the farm crate, we put together a barn, farm animal finger puppets, and a vegetable matching game. In the musical-themed kit, we created a xylophone, a tambourine, and a dancing streamer.

And in our latest crate, we made a felt butterfly, a tree, and a musical trunk.

I documented our experience with the Music-themed box, so I’ll take you through what’s involved, what to expect, and if these kits are worth it.

KiwiCo Koala Crate Unboxing (Music Theme)

The box is relatively small, which is nice – having huge packages can create a lot of waste, and it’s harder to get rid of.

KiwiCo unboxing

Inside the box, we get the materials needed for three age-appropriate activities, an instructional booklet with step-by-step directions, and another booklet with games and additional activity ideas within the crate’s theme.

KiwiCo box contents

Practicing Directions and Steps

After I opened up the box and snapped a few pictures for this review, I wrangled up my kiddos and we got to work on the first activity.

I showed my 3-year-old daughter the three activity options, and she was quick to choose the xylophone project.

I opened up the instructional booklet and showed her each step before I helped her complete it.

She definitely needed guidance, but that’s what makes these kits so fun. It’s a collaboration between parent/caregiver and child, and the difficulty level was just beyond her reach. I love activities like this that push the limits and ask her to go further. And when she can’t? She can just ask me for help.

Here’s the completed xylophone:

Playing with completed xylophone

And here is a look at the tambourine assembly:

And finally, the easiest project that even my 21-month-old could do, the dancing streamer:

Best of all, my kids were so proud when they finished assembling these musical instruments. They had a lot of fun playing with them, as you can see!

Kids playing with KiwiCo crafts

KiwiCo Customer Service

I wasn’t sure if I’d have anything to report, but our latest box had a minor issue. The green stamp was pretty much dried out. If we pressed really hard and twisted it, we got the outer ring, but it was mostly not usable.

My kiddos couldn’t apply enough pressure for it to show up, so I pressed as hard as I could and was able to get some pigment to show.

kiwico green stamp not usable

I wasn’t planning on reaching out to KiwiCo customer service, because it’s really not a big deal. The stamp probably cost 50 cents, and we made it work.

However, I wanted to know how they’d respond to a concern like this, and I am honestly shocked. They emailed me back in less than 30 minutes and immediately applied a $15 credit to my account.

kiwico customer service

They really went above and beyond – they basically gave me a credit that’s almost the cost of the entire kit, all because one of the stamps was dried out. And their response time was amazing! I would’ve expected a response in 1-2 days, and they got back to me within the hour.

It’s always nice to know how a company will respond to issues – because issues happen! – and I can say that from experience that KiwiCo does an incredible job.

KiwiCo vs Lovevery

I have gotten a few questions about how KiwiCo and Lovevery compare. I did an in-depth review of the Lovevery play kits, and now that I’ve had a chance to test out KiwiCo, I can adequately compare them.

And the honest truth? I don’t think KiwiCo and Lovevery are comparable. They are very different products. Yes, they are both subscription services based on your child’s age. But to me, that’s where the similarities end.

The KiwiCo crates are hands-on crafts that require following step-by-step directions to achieve a final product or toy. You’re paying for the experience, not necessarily the toy at the end.

Lovevery play kits are toys, meant to be used in open-ended play that supports healthy development in infancy and childhood. They’re not step-by-step crafts that require assembly.

The only exception is the Panda Crate for under age 2. This is somewhat similar to Lovevery, in that you’re paying for toys and not an arts & crafts activity. 

There’s no question I’d rather put my money toward Lovevery. I would skip the under 2 crates from KiwiCo as they look like cheaper versions of what Lovevery does so well.

Here’s a look at some KiwiCo toys next to Lovevery ones:

I personally chose to start subscribing to KiwiCo when my daughter turned 3. We’ve subscribed to the Lovevery play kits when my daughter was 1 and then again when my son was a few weeks old. 

I think they’re both worth getting if you can afford it, and of course, the KiwiCo subscription costs less than a single night of takeout.

In sum, Lovevery is ideal for ages 0-4, and I believe KiwiCo is ideal for ages 2-10.

Pros and Cons of KiwiCo Crates

I think I’ve said enough, so I’ll keep this section short.

Pros of KiwiCo:

  • Saves time: done-for-you craft ideas with clear instructions and only the materials you need (no excess clutter or waste).
  • Inexpensive: each kit costs less than $20 when you get the 6-month subscription.
  • Collaborative: the crates are a great way to interact and do something fun with your child.
  • Fun: my kids get so excited for these projects, and they are proud of their hard work when they see the finished result.
  • Educational: following directions is a tough skill to master, and these crates help reinforce it with at-home practice; in addition, they learn about a new topic with each crate (farm, music, rainbows).
  • Incredible customer service: if you have an issue, it’s clear to me that KiwiCo will go above and beyond to make it right. That’s important to me when giving my business to any company.

Cons of KiwiCo:

  • Not durable: I can’t reiterate enough that you’re paying for the experience of doing the activity with your child. The final product may last for a few days, but not much longer. The materials are not made to stand the test of time. [The xylophone is made out of cardboard, for example, and one of my kids sat on it (don’t judge me) and it squished the sides in.]
  • Subscription-based: It’s easy to get carried away with subscriptions. When looking at a budget, I feel like subscriptions are often the first thing to go. While I appreciate the nature of this one, be mindful when deciding what subscriptions are worth it for your family.
  • A bit wasteful: Because the projects are not durable, I find myself tossing them once they rip, tear, or fall apart. I’m trying to be conscious of how much garbage our family produces, and while these kits are small, it’s still trash. I should note we don’t have recycling where we live – you may be able to recycle some components of these crates, such as the shipping box.
  • Paying for time savings: In my opinion, the materials included in the crates are not worth the $19-20 charged for the kit. You could easily go to your local craft store and get the same things for way less (or a higher quantity for the same cost). You’re paying for the time savings – you didn’t have to come up with the craft ideas or source the materials. To me, that is WELL worth it as I’m a working mom who cooks nearly every meal and is always overflowing with laundry (and I do this blog in my off time). But if you’re a stay-at-home/homeschooling mom, you may find you have more time to dedicate to coming up with unique crafts for your little ones. In that case, the KiwiCo crates may not be worth the cost for you.

Conclusion

I think I’ve thought of just about everything! I hope this in-depth KiwiCo Koala Crate review was helpful for you. I’ll continue adding updates as we get more crates.

Also, I will add any special promotions I’m given for my readers. The current offer is $10 off your first box with this link.

Please leave a comment below if you’ve tried these – especially any moms, dads, or caregivers who have tried other age ranges. I would love to hear your experience and if you think they are worth it!

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