Most toy subscription boxes for kids barely live up the hype. In many cases, parents wind up overpaying for bad toys that end up under the couch before the next shipment arrives. The main point of the toy subscription model is anticipation and repetition, which holds especially true around Christmas, when for kids, it’s about quantity over quality. The best toy subscription boxes for kids stimulate their imaginations and inspire them to explore the world around them. Fortunately, there are plenty of subscriptions that can accomplish that — some are just toy-adjacent or a bit unexpected.
Each of these subscriptions boxes for kids encourages 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.
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.
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.
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.
They key to getting kids to love books? Get them books they love. This standout book club costs you $19 per month. 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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