10 Toy Subscription Services That Make Your Kid Smarter And Save You Money

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You’re already subscribed to monthly boxes that keep your sock game strong and your dog’s breath fresh, certainly your kids deserve the same personal shopper treatment. Of course, you could probably just curate highly personalized, monthly crates of toys, games, projects, and activities that teach them about global cultures, STEM, coding, building, sustainability, art, and any other interest little kids can dream up. You have plenty of time for that, right?

If You’re Raising The Next Picasso

Marky Art Box
Not to be confused with the Marky Mark box (which is full of Funky Bunch cassettes and used Calvin Kleins), Markybox is a subscription service that delivers a new box of arts and crafts supplies to your door every month. And no, not a few sheets of construction paper and some glitter. Recent boxes have included plaster molding, paper marbling, screen printing, tin screening, string art, papier mache, and fabric dying. Each box includes a single project that’s been curated or designed by a “world-renowned contemporary artist” (like Will Farrell) and comes complete with instructions and all the supplies necessary for 2 people (age 4+) to get their hands dirty. Goodbye Brown, hello RISD.
Markybox ($40 per month, $100 for 3 months)
Ages: 4+

If You Don’t Mind A Little Mess


Promote your little maker’s STEM skills with creativity kits from Green Kid Crafts, like a basil and sprout gardening kit, or that timeless classic: the baking soda volcano. Depending on your child’s age, each box of 4-6 kits is either an opportunity for quality time together or an effective way to absorb their attention for a few hours while you get some work done.
Green Kid Crafts ($20 monthly, $19 for 6 months, $18 for 12 months)
Ages: 3-10

If You Believe Adventure Can Come In A Box

fatherly_surprise_ride_subscription_box
As seen on Shark Tank, Surprise Ride delivers a monthly “adventure” in the form of activities, lessons, instructions, fun facts, and snacks curated around a random theme. Your kid will know about everything from Amelia Earhart to bees, dragons, and Paris, all without ever thumbing through a World Book. Do they even make the World Book anymore? Doesn’t matter, you were in at “snacks.”
Surprise Ride ($30 monthly, $25 for 6 or 12 months)
Ages: 6-11

If Your Home Is Absolutely Out Of Space

fatherly_sparkbox_toys_subscription_boxEach Sparkbox offers 4 educational toys and games, curated based on an age-appropriate “curriculum” designed to promote play between you and your kid. At the end of each period, you return the products (free of charge) and receive a new box. Theoretically, this would let you get rid of the horde of misfit toys currently occupying your house. Good luck with that.
Sparkbox ($35 monthly, $20 bi-monthly)
Ages: 0-4

If You Want Your Kid To Invent The Future (Or At Least Work In It)

fatherly_bitsbox_activity_box_codingBitsbox delivers a new set of coding projects every month that allow kids to build real apps for real devices (in real life, despite being originally launched on Kickstarter). Because toys that teach coding are awesome, but an ongoing subscription service will keep your kid interested in coding long enough to land them one of those crazy future jobs that don’t exist yet.
Bitsbox ($20 monthly PDF, $40 month to month, $35 for 3 months, $30 for 12 months)
Ages: 6-12

If You Just Want To Get To The LEGOs Already

fatherly_pley_legos_subscription_boxLEGOs are the greatest, but they’re also expensive. With Pley’s monthly subscriptions, you can get more than 400 different kits — all über sanitized, because kids are the greatest, but they’re also gross — delivered directly to your door. They won’t even charge you for lost pieces, because you’ll eventually step on them and that’s punishment enough.
Pley ($20 for ‘Easy’ and ‘Medium’ toys, $50 for ‘Easy,’ ‘Medium,’ and ‘Advanced’)
Ages: 2-You

If You Think One Box A Month Is A Little Much

fatherly_little_pnuts_subscription_toy_boxExpect lots of wood and the words “heirloom” or “artisanal” in the product descriptions from Little Pnuts, whose boxes are filled with 3-5 sustainable, eco-friendly toys. They ship quarterly, rather than monthly, based on the belief that their toys are so awesome, your kid won’t want a new one for at least 3 months.
Little Pnuts ($25 monthly, $20 for 12 months)
Ages: 0-5

If You Build It

fatherly_groovy_lab_in_a_box_subscription_serviceGroovy Lab In A Box lets your kid act on their natural inclination to build without mysteriously misplacing all your tools and office supplies. Each month, they’ll get a new science and engineering challenge with everything they need, down to the popsicle sticks, plus a detailed lab notebook of instructions. Your little STEMist will be wearing a pork pie hat and demanding you say their name in no time.
Groovy Lab In A Box ($27 monthly, $26 for 3 months, $25 for 6 months, $24 for 12 months)
Ages: 8 and up

If You Also Want A Little Something For Yourself

fatherly_bluum_subscription_boxBluum monthly boxes contain 5 products customized by milestones rather than age so no two boxes are alike. Besides toys, stuffed animals, books, and snacks for Junior, each box includes a book or all-natural beauty products for you and the missus. It’s the subscription box version of going to Target for toilet paper and coming home with $300 worth of stuff you didn’t realize your family clearly needed.
Bluum ($29 monthly)
Ages: 0-4

If You Want Them To Explore The World … Just Not Quite Yet

fatherly_little_passports_subscription_boxWith Little Passports, each month your kid gets an adorable lunchbox filled with activities, stickers, maps, souvenirs, and a neat little luggage tag that help them explore a particular subject or part of the world. They experience foreign cultures without ever leaving the house — it’s the perfect helicopter parenting loophole.
Little Passports ($16 monthly or for 6 months, $14 for 12 months)
Ages: 3-12

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