Shopping for toys is burdensome, because you always wind up leaving not with the educational STEM toy you swore you’d buy, but with throwaway plastic junk you know will wind up under your couch in days, if not hours. That’s where subscription boxes for kids can really be a sanity saver. The best toy subscription boxes for kids stimulate their imaginations and inspire them to explore the world around them, with the extra element of surprise because they don’t know what’s in it. These monthly subscription boxes for kids encourage deeper investment in activity and play than what’s inspired by your average plasticine clutter. Whether you want your kid to pick up some STEM skills or are hoping to feed their emerging love for literature, the idea is to subscribe to excitement. Take that approach and everything tends to work out just fine.
One of our absolute favorite crafting and activity brands has finally gone the subscription route. Basically, it's art class, delivered to your home. Each kit includes everything they need to make, say, a diorama house. And there's plenty left over to make other stuff.
You want to raise a reader? Get him or her books from the moment they're born. This book club caters to babies, with delightful and offbeat board books like Mrs. Peanuckle’s Fruit Alphabet, which introduces babies and toddlers to the wonderful world of colorful foods. Each box has three sturdy board books, perfect for little hands. As your child gets older, the offerings age up as well, and you can get chapter books for kids in elementary school. You pay $17 per month, for a 12 month subscription.
Parents pick a line based on age (or interests) and get a monthly activity box delivered. You can pause or cancel anytime. The brand's speciality are science and art projects, ranging in complexity based on age. One crate has kids use a fishing pole to catch sea creatures, while another gets kids to assemble and decorate a play medical kit.
This gorgeous, curated kit is based on your toddler's developmental interests and milestones, and includes shakers, a bath boat, a puzzle, a shapes book, and stacking cups. There are nine sets available, ranging in age from 0-3 months to 5-6 years; the final one includes a crystal growing kit and a musical instrument.
This best-in-class toy box is a must for every parent. You enter in your child's birth date, subscribe to the kits that match your child's age, and get a box every 2-3 months. The toys are thoughtful and beautiful, and a sample kit includes a two-sided mobile, mittens to promote hand discovery, and a silicone rattle for grasping.
Every month, parents get a package containing a surprise project for for kids to build, with the focus ranging from science to history to animals to geography. Each kit includes everything needed to make the thing in question, as well as a book and detailed instructions to create something like a seashell frame. This is meant for elementary-school kids.
When you sign up for this awesome subscription, a new science project with educational activities will arrive every month. And we're not talking boring, been-there and done that activities: Kids learn about jet propulsion, or make objects sink and float in liquid sand. They engage in hands-on STEM projects, take part in live science classes, and can access VR and AR technologies to learn more. This one is meant for kids ages 5-9.
A smartly curated box designed to get your toddler ready for preschool. It's full of simple activities that helps children work on their phonics skills, as well as counting, recognizing shapes and colors. Each box has 16 activities, and a guide for parents to collaborate with their kids.
If your kids are holding their breath until the next Marvel film, wait no more. Each month, they'll get 4-6 collectible Marvel items, including 4 to 6 Collectibles in every box, including Funko POP! figurines. Each month has a different theme, based on a specific movie.
Sweet tooth alert: You sign up for a six-month subscription, and get one kit per month. The December kit, for example, is all about the holidays. Kids make a melted snowman, and the kit includes the mix, marshmallows, sprinkles, pretzels, and a piping bag. Co-founded by Sarah Michelle Gellar, the brand prides itself on sweet treats made with the best ingredients.
This standout book club costs you $19 per month, but each box comes individually wrapped, so opening one feels like Christmas morning. The customized boxes will include either four board books or three picture books, or a mix of both. The books are yours to keep. Offerings run the gamut, from newborn babies to kids age seven. Best of all, for every box shipped, Lillypost donates a book to a child in need.
Every month, for $24, mini foodies get a kit that includes three recipe guides, a kitchen tool, collectible apron patches or talk cards, a creative kitchen project, and three cooking lessons. Each kit has a theme (think: Seasonal) and the specific theme is a surprise. And kids learn to make something scrumptious, like pumpkin cheesecake bars.
Little Passports delivers luggage-shaped loot boxes designed to inspire children’s interest not only in travel — the Grand Tour aesthetic gives that away — but in the broader world. The Early Explorers Premium subscription, aimed at kids between 3 and 5, is a standout. The subscription comes (don’t say we didn’t warn you) with a wall-sized map, a host of activities, and genuinely educational books. There are also stickers. There are always stickers.
Take it from the recovered magazine editors currently staffing Fatherly, the newsstand industry is in a tailspin. But kids don’t read like adults. Kids sit with books and magazines and images, puzzling over strange words, new ideas, and the visual language of graphic design — something they take years to take for granted. Along with Kazoo, which is also on this list, National Geographic Little Kids is the best print product for the under-7 set. After that, they’ll be stealing your computer.
Ideal for kids ages six to 12, this coding subscription box starts them out by coding from examples and then they progress to inventing their own apps. Who knows? You might have the next iPhone creator on your hands. Kids learn to make everything from greeting cards to video games.
Surprise Ride activity boxes are marketed as STEM toys. For those keeping track, no evidence supports the idea that STEM/STEAM toys provide children with outsize benefits. That said, plenty of evidence — largely anecdotal, some clinical — suggests that fun projects are fun. These kits are designed for children between 5 and 12, but best for those in the 6 to 9 range. Will they need help? A bit, but not much.
Choose the age group that applies to your kid, and get a bi-monthly box filled with multiple child-friendly and age-appropriate activities, including art and DIY projects. The backyard explorer box, for example, encourages kids to get off the couch and head outside to learn about nature.
Every product on Fatherly is independently selected by our editors, writers, and experts. If you click a link on our site and buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.
This article was originally published on