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2019 Monthly Subscription Boxes for Kids – STEM

Monthly Subscription boxes for kids

In the digital age, getting something in the mail is a real novelty. This is even more true for kids, who have never known the world without mobile phones and emails. Monthly subscription boxes for kids (or monthly crates for kids as they say in some countries) are a great way to get kids away from the screen and trying something new; This is even truer when you talk about monthly subscription boxes for kids with a STEM focus. STEM stands for  Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. A monthly subscription box for kids with a STEM focus is a monthly delivery to your mailbox full of activities that are focused on the teaching your kids all about STEM topics. From coding to science experiments, these monthly deliveries will get your kids active and excited about learning.

Best Monthly Subscription Boxes For Kids– Things to Consider

There are tons of different subscription boxes available on the market. While this post focuses on STEM and monthly science subscription boxes, you can find a monthly subscription box for pretty much anything CrateJoy.  STEM has such a vast array of topics, the boxes listed below are all very different as well. When considering which subscription is right for your child, you should think about their interest and also how involved you want to be. As you will see from my descriptions of the different boxes, some require a lot of parental supervision and input, while others can be managed by the kids alone. Another consideration is the mess factor, some of the science boxes allow your child to complete physical experiments, which can be messy. If this is not something you are keen on, be sure to avoid these! There are so many great options on this list; your trouble is going to be picking just one!

Little Passport Science Expeditions Review

Monhtly Subscription Bixes for kids

Target Ages 9+
Price: $18.95 – 21.95
Subscription time: one-time, 3-month, 6-month

You may have heard of Little Passports before or seen their TV commercials promoting their original Little PaLissport World expedition monthly subscription boxes. They have branched out and now offer a The Little Passport Science Expedition kits. The monthly kits are full of science experiments related to themes like rockets, forensic science, vision, caves and crystals, hydrology.

The kits contain hands-on science experiments that help kids learn about science, technology, engineering and math principles Check out this Science Expedition: Berry DNA Video to see an example kit.

Each monthly package includes:

  • A 16-page comic book with glossary and bonus activities
  • Solve a new mystery each month with the Little Passport characters
  • Hands-on science experiments
  • Achievement badges for each monthly theme
  • Access to bonus online videos and science content

Little Passports Pros

  • Access to great additional online content for extra learning opportunities
  • Lots of hands-on learning opportunities
  • Kids love the monthly comic book detailing a new adventure
  • Detailed step by step instructions

Little Passports Cons

  • The kit does not come with all of the required elements for the experiments. You may need to grab a few everyday household items. Little Passports emails a list of what is needed before sending the box so that means you can be ready to go when it arrives
  • Shipping not included in the price
  • Subscription auto-renews (so if you want to cancel, remember to cancel)

The Little Passports Science Expedition box is a great midrange box for kids. At $21.95 plus shipping, it is a good value, especially if your child likes comic books. The instructions are easy to follow, and the activities provided are wide-ranging.

KiwiCo Monthly Subscription Boxes Review

Target Ages 0 – 16+
Price: $19.99 per month – $28.00 per month
Subscription: one-time, 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month subscription

KiwiCo Monthly Subscription Box

KiwiCo has six different monthly crate options that span the ages of 0 to 16+. Each monthly box explores a new concept in science, technology, or engineering in a new and exciting way. What you get in the different box is different because they are designed to be age appropriate.

The Boxes  available include:

  • Cricket Crate ( 0-36 Months) Explore and Discover
  • Koala Crate (Ages 3-4) Play and learn
  • Kiwi Crate (Ages 5-8) Science, Art, & More
  • Atlas Crate (Ages 6-11) Geography & Culture
  • Doodle Crate (Ages 14+) Art & Design
  • Tinker Crate ( Ages 9-16+) Science &  Engineering
I like the range of activities available from KiwiCo and your ability to select the kind of activities they will get. For comparison here is Tinker crate vs. the Doodle create. The contents are vastly different and will appeal to different kids.

Tinker Crate

KiwiCo Tinker Crate

  • Materials to create a creative, innovative STEM project
  • Detailed step-by-step instructions
  • Additional science experiments and activities in the Tinker Zine
  • Online tutorials with tips and tricks

Doodle Crate

KiwiCo Doodle Crate

  • Quality Materials From yarn to washi tape, everything you need to create amazing DIYs
  • Get inspired with easy-to-follow step-by-step instructions for different design techniques
  • Detailed instructions with design inspiration

While not all of the crates are entirely focused on STEM activities the selection of activities available means that there will be a create to suit every child. One of the issues raised about the Amazon Stem club (reviewed below) is that you don’t have control over the kind of STEM activity your child will receive. This is not the case withKiwiCo where you can pick a crate the is targeted for your child’s interest, for example, the Tinker Crate vs. the Doodle crafted for kids interested in art.

KiwiCo Pros

  • Great selection of targeted crates
  • Fun, well planned, interactive activities

KiwiCo Cons

  •  No sibling discounts so if you have multiple children, you have to pay full price for each kit

I love KiwiCo I think that it is an excellent option for a monthly subscription box. Other than the no sibling discount, the closest things I would give to a con is that they don’t provide a “surprise box” which would pick from all of the different types of activities.  With that being said, I don’t think it is required given the different variety of activities provided in each box.


Groovy Lab Box Review

Groovy Lab Box

Target Ages 8+
Price:  $29.95 – $24.95 per month
Subscription: one-time, 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month subscription

The Groovy Lab box, each month your child will receive fun, hands-on projects, and an engineering design challenge. Each month the Groovy Lab has a STEM focus topic. In each box, there is a Lab Notebook, where your child can learn about the month’s topic, perform investigation activities and document their findings. The Groovy lab encourages children to investigate, brainstorm, plan, build, test and redesign their creations.

In addition to the investigation activities with step-by-step directions, each box also included an Engineering Design Challenge. The Engineering challenge relies on your child using their critical thinking skills, and what they’ve learned through the investigation process from the Lab Notebook activities. The Engineering Design Challenge allows an opportunity for your child to apply the knowledge gained from that month’s activities

Groovy Lab Box Pros

  • Access to the “Beyond…in a Box” online learning portal. This online activity provides more information about the monthly topics including videos and interactive activities.
  • Great opportunity for your child to apply their knowledge via the Engineering Design Challenge
  • Clear subscription details provided on the Groovy Lab website. Some subscription websites are a bit vague on the details of what you are buying, but the Groovy lab website clearly states which purchases are re-occurring and which are not.
  • The kit includes every single supply needed to complete the projects, so there is no running around trying to find things around the house. You can open the kit and get to work.

Groovy Lab Box Cons

  • The boxes are marketing for kids aged 8+ but the activities can be quite challenging may be too hard for some kids in the 8-11 age range.
  • No sibling discounts

Overall the Groovy Lab box is a great monthly subscription for kids interested in STEM activities. If you are not interested in being hands-on with helping the kids complete the activities each month, then I would try a single box initially and see if your child is comfortable with the different level of activities. If the box is too advanced for them, they may find something that is supposed to be a lot of fun a bit disheartening.

Bitsbox Review

Target Ages: 6 to 12-year-olds.
Price:  $16.95 – $45.95 per month (Additional shipping charges apply outside the USA)
Subscription: one-time, 3-month or 12-month subscription

Bitsbox was founded by two former Google employees who wanted to teach kids to code. They believe that the hardest part about teaching kids to code isn’t getting them initially interested, it’s keeping them interested. Their solution was to create a monthly mail service, which would deliver kids the projects, toys, and tools to help kids build apps and share them with their friends and family.

Parents need not fear, no coding experience required for you to be able to help your child complete the Bitbox activities. BitBox teaches your child coding by using simple commands to copy and create real apps that work on phones or tablets! These simple apps help to get kids excited about coding and what they can do. Bitsbox teaches programming with the same code and commands used by professional programmers, so it can be pretty exciting for a child to learn this new language.

Basic Bitsbox

  • App projects that increase in difficulty every month. App projects come as full-color, heavy-duty
    Bitsbox Supercard set. Kids can collect all of the App cards. The Apps range from simple two-liners to complete games with cool graphics and funny sound effects.
  • A Bitsbox binder to store all of your child’s app Cards
  • Great for kids who are motivated by making

Deluxe Bitsbox

  • Bitsbox Supercard set (as per the Basic box)
  • Binder (as per the Basic box)
  •  Toys, stickers, tattoos, and more
  • Collectible trading cards (5 additional projects every month!)
  • Best for kids who are motivated by presents

Bitsbox Pros

  • Teaches your child the skill of programming which will serve them well into the future
  • Free sibling add-on
  • Discounted “Print your own” card options available
  • High-quality book design and trading card designs

Bitsbox Cons

  •  Cost. The deluxe box is one of the more expensive boxes in this post.
  • No Free shipping

BitsBox is great. It’s a great way to get kids interested in and understanding how computer coding works. This is a skill that they will be able to apply for their entire lives. We are moving into a digital world and any extra knowledge or understanding you can give your child about how this world works
will serve them well.

The main issue with the Bitbox subscription service is the cost of the deluxe box., it is the most expensive box of all the ones reviewed for this post.  With that being said, if you have multiple children and they can agree to split the goodies, you can get an add-on coding account for no cost so that would make a significant difference. There is also cheaper box options from Bitbox that do not include the extra toys etc. The basic box and DIY box are well worth the money.

Amazon STEMClub

Target Ages:   3 – 4/ 5 – 7 / 8 – 13
Price: $19.99
Subscription time: one-time, 3-month, 6-month

The Amazon STEM Club is a program that delivers your child handpicked STEM toys each month. The toys are picked by Amazon’s toy experts to introduce simple concepts related to counting, building, and cause and effect. There are various subscriptions available which are divide by age group.

The Amazon STEM box provides new STEM focus toys each month; these are toys that your child can play with that encourages STEM thinking. This service does not offer monthly STEM learning kits. If you would like your child to have a more focused learning experience, try some of the other kits of this post. If you would want them to get a new, fun toy for them to play with, then this is a great program.

The service has over 1000 reviews on its homepage. While over 80% of the reviews are 4 to 5 stars out of 5, the main issue people raise is that some children are not always interested in the item they are sent each month. There are also a couple of reviews that highlighted a problem where individuals were sent an item for the wrong age group (which it noted was quickly resolved by Amazon Customer Service). My kids have a wide range of interest, so this club is a good fit for us.

Amazon STEM CLUB Pros

  • As you can imagine, since the program is run by Amazon the variety of products provided is very extensive and wide-ranging
  • Some of the products offered are a bargain compared to their regular retail price
  •  Minimal parental involvement.
  • Access to Amazon’s customer service team to resolve any issues

Amazon STEM CLUB Cons

  • You are not in control of the type of STEM gift your child is going to get each month. This variety can be great for kids who are interested in learning all sorts of new things, but, if your child is more interested in specific areas of STEM learning,  you may want to consider the KiwiCo box instead, which provides a slightly more targeted content of different types of boxes
  •  No sibling discounts so if you have multiple children, you have to pay full price for each kit

Overall the Amazon STEM club is a good option for people looking for a wide-ranging toy program and wants access to a large customer service team to resolve any issues.

Spangler Science Club Review

Spangler Science Club

Target Ages  5 – 12
Price:  $9.99 – $29.99  per month
Subscription: one-time, 3-month, 6-month, or 12-month subscription

The Steve Spangler Science monthly subscription has three levels as follows:

StemSnack

  • Includes 1 STEM experience each month
  • Requires minimal adult assistance
  •  Includes easy to follow instructions

StemLab

  • Includes up to 5 STEM experiences each month
  • Requires minimal adult assistance
  • Includes experiment cards with step-by-step instructions and easy to understand science explanations

StemDelux

  •  Includes up to 10 STEM experiences each month
  •  Designed for children and adults
  • Includes two experiment guides – one for the young scientist and a top secret document for the adult science helper. The experiment guides provide an opportunity for the young scientist to record observations and build learning connections. The adult helper’s top secret document contains all of the scientific explanations behind the experiment so you can answer all of the sciences questions being thrown at you.
  •  Each experiment within the kids includes take-it-further activities to help build off what has been learned, science fair project ideas and a certificate of completion.

Spangler Science Club pros

  • Three levels of subscription enabling you to try a single activity without a large outlay to see if this is something your child with like
  • Parent’s guide for the StemDelux kit so you can continue to be your child’s superhero with all of the answers to their questions
  • Safety equipment included where required (Even cooler- your child is getting to do science experiments that require safety equipment)
  •  You can purchase additional materials online to redo the experiments over and over.

Spangler Science Club Cons

  • All of the StemDelux experiments should be done with an adult, so if you are not keen maybe try the Stem Snack or Stem Light kids.
  • Not everything you need is included in the box each month (this is based experience with the StemDelux set). Usually, the items required are things you can find around the house, but it can still be annoying. Especially if you have a child ready to “experiment” and you are missing something.
  • These experiments included in these kits get messy. For some, this will add to the fun, but if this is an issue for you, you may want to steer towards one of the other boxes on this list
  • No sibling discounts

The experiments included in the StemDelux kits are a lot of fun for kids and parents. The experiments and kits have been designed to encourage the interaction of an adult “science mentor” and a child. This is great for adults looking to find an engaging activity to do with their kids. But, If you are looking for a way to keep the kids busy while you get some work done, then you should probably look at some of the other kits in this post (maybe Amazon STEM toy club) or try the Stem light package with promotes itself as only needing minimal adult involvement.

Monthly Subscription Boxes For Kids

There is my roundup of some of the great STEM monthly subscription boxes for kids available in 2019. These are some great products, so I am sure you will find the best subscription box for whoever you are buying for!  I’d love to know which box you end up getting and hearing your reviews in the comments below. If you have a suggestion for another excellent STEM box that should be added to the list, be sure to add it in the comments below, and I will check it out.


Kids Gift Ideas

Each out our recent posts for great Kids Gift Ideas.

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