KiwiCo Review: Panda Crate + Koala Crate for Kids

Have you heard of KiwiCo? They deliver kid-tested, expert-designed science and art project crates to your door each month, packed with everything you and your kid need to learn and explore together.

Having not tried KiwiCo crates before, I was really interested to test them out! I mean – perfect rainy day solution, right?!

Read on to see how the crates work, how Riese and Wes liked them, and whether we found enough value in the crates (specifically the Panda Crate and the Koala Crate) to sign up for a subscription.

Thank you to KiwiCo for sponsoring this post, and for the opportunity to try their crates! Links in this post are affiliate links.

KiwiCo Crate Review

KiwiCo crates are available for every age and interest – from babies and toddlers up to teenagers and even adults – and are designed to encourage innovation, problem solving, and creative thinking.

Each crate comes packed with cool projects, experiments, and products designed to expose kids to concepts in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math).

There are 9 different subscription line options, each focusing on a different age and theme. For this review, we received a 0-36 month Panda crate for Wes, and a 3-4 year old Koala crate for Riese.

For their ages, there is one crate available for each age range, but for 5 years old and above, there are more than 1 crate option per age range – for example you could choose a cooking theme, or a geography and culture theme, or a science theme.

It will be fun to explore those other options a bit as the kids gets older!

KiwiCo Panda Crate Review: for 0-36 months old

Let’s start with Wes’s crate!

Everything arrived packed up together in a little box, which Matt opened while I was gone one day so I had to repack it for this photo, ha! He was pretty excited about it, apparently. 🙂

While the projects for the older kids tend to be more of a science-y project or building activity, the Panda crates focus on age-appropriate products that support healthy development and nurture curiosity.

These crates arrive every other month (instead of every month), and were developed in partnership with Seattle Children’s Hospital specifically for the 0-36 month developmental stage.

Each crate helps babies learn by doing what they do best — playing, exploring, and interacting with the adults in their lives.

In addition to the products included, there are also activity cards with tips for how to promote their learning and development, and a magazine with research-based advice and ideas (like some sign language to teach your little one!).

I was especially impressed by the quality of the toys that were included.

The little wagon, for example, is made of wood rather than plastic, and it uses a non-toxic, water-based ink and varnish (really love this as Wes is still in the “everything in the mouth” phase).

Same with the stacking animals – they are made of solid beechwood and again have a non-toxic, water-based varnish.

Similarly, the moo-ing cow toy is made with a 100% natural cotton canvas.

I also liked how the cards that came with the products explained why they were great for this specific age – for example, the barn door toy promotes an understanding of directional words (open, close, slide, pull, etc.).

The book that was included was thoughtful, too – I love that it is small and light so it can fit in a diaper bag easily, and that it has thick pages. I never understand when books for super little kids have thin paper pages that easily rip!

Wes and I had fun playing with the toys together and checking out our new book.

He’s at an age where he gets bored of toys he’s been playing with a lot, so it was nice to have some new things in the mix, and helpful to get some new ideas for ways to interact with him that will help encourage his age-specific development!

KiwiCo Koala Crate Review: for 3-4 year olds

Let’s move on to Riese’s crate: the Koala crate for 3 to 4 year olds! It’s designed to encourage preschoolers’ natural curiosity and creativity with play-based learning.

Koala crates come with all the high quality materials and instructions needed for 2 to 3 creative activities, plus a parent guide with the instructions and a magazine with some games, a story, and additional ideas for fun projects.

One weekend morning during Wes’s nap, Riese and I busted into the crate and we had a great time making our own music instruments, which was the theme of the box we received!

Our crate arrived packed with everything we needed to make a xylophone, tambourine, and dancing streamer. Riese loves music so this was perfect!

Riese is really into arts and crafts and projects, but I don’t usually have the brain power (or supplies on hand) to come up with new and interesting ideas for her at home, so I was super excited to try out the Koala crate and see how she liked it.

We had a lot of fun working on this together – and since she’s at the top of the age range, she was able to pretty much do the projects on her own with only a bit of guidance/instruction from me.

She was SO into it – it was really fun to watch her in action.

The instructions were clear and easy to follow, and I loved that the pamphlet also included a note about how much grown up involvement was likely to be needed, plus how messy the project would be.

Useful info to have before embarking on any project!

We started with the xylophone, which involved lining up the wood planks in order from largest to smallest, stamping them with a color, and then weaving them through some rubber bands that you placed over a box.

The xylophone came with little “composition sheets” which she could use to stamp different colors onto to “compose” music. To play the song she made, she’d hit the mallet on the corresponding colored plank on her xylophone.

I thought this was such a cool and creative way to get a kid thinking about following sheet music, but in an age-appropriate way. She loved it!

Next up was our tambourine. Riese utilized her fine motor skills to weave the elastic through the frame, and the bells into the elastic!

The dancing streamer was our final project – she used the dot stamps to decorate the streamer, then threaded it onto a mallet.

This gave me major rhythmic gymnastics vibes and I was super here for it… so was she, clearly. 😉

One thing I really love about this crate is that the projects led to something that we could continue to enjoy together. Once we were done creating, it was time to use our musical instructions!

As our resident musician (he plays guitar!), we recruited Matt to join our band and had a great time all playing together. We took turns playing each of the instruments, but I think our most rockin’ combo was Matt on xylophone, Riese on tambourine, and me with the dancing streamer. 😉

Riese did do a few solo shows, though, where she did all 3 instruments at once – please note the dancing streamer in her toes, lol! She also lined up her stuffed animals to be the audience, and made sure we helped them clap when she was done. Too cute!

I can see these instruments being things we play with a lot in the future.

My mom came over for dinner and to help out with the kids later that evening as Matt was out playing soccer, and Riese insisted we give her a concert after Wes was in bed. 🙂

Getting to do these projects with Riese and having everything we needed ready for us to do so was really awesome. Two big thumbs up!

Final Thoughts on KiwiCo

And now, for the final question: did we like the crates enough to sign up for a paying subscription?

Yes, we did!

I was super impressed by KiwiCo and am happy to support a company with such a thoughtful and great quality product. I’ve already signed up for subscriptions for both Riese and Wes, and can’t wait to see what comes in their future crates! (psst: use code LEARN30 for 30% off your first month’s subscription!)

I may save one of each of their crates for trips we have coming up this summer – it would be perfect to be able to throw them in the car and have something really engaging ready to go while we are away, especially if we find ourselves with a rainy day to fill.

If you’re interested in checking out KiwiCo too, they have flexible subscription options and pricing starts as low as $18.50 per month.

Not ready to fully commit but want to get a taste of the crates?

They also offer one-off purchases; in the KiwiCo Store you’ll find a wide selection of individual crates for each age group and at a variety of price points.

I actually ordered myself one of the “14-100 year old” crate options – the art & design themed “Maker” crate – just for fun to see how I like it. 🙂 I need more hobbies in my life – anyone else?!

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