Thanks to your Rolodex of extremely overqualified experts, you’re undoubtedly already helping your child kick ass at pretty much every activity imaginable. (You’re welcome, by the way.) But even SuperDad need a break occasionally. These cooking, building, art, and science kits for kids are all self-contained — everything you need to make, build, or do the hours-devouring, kid-engrossing thing is right in the box. Sure, you’ll still have to help, but at least you won’t have to bug your new buddy who’s building the next Hubble telescope.
Best Art Kit For Kids: Markybox
Not to be confused with the Marky Mark box (which is full of Funky Bunch cassettes and used Calvin Kleins), these kits go way past 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. Goodbye Brown, hello RISD. The subscription runs $40 a month (plus shipping). If your kid is already using terms like “negative space,” you may want to consider the discounted 6- or 12-month plan.
Best STEM Kit For Kids: MEL Science
Of course, you want your kid to grow up to be Walter White, brilliant scientist for Grey Matter Technologies and family man — not meth kingpin Heisenberg. And this is the twice-a-month chemistry set subscription that can make that happen. The Starter Kit contains all the beakers, safety glasses, and Bunsen burners to get them started. And additional boxes are experiments like making monsters out of burnt sugar. (That’s where Dr. Frankenstein went wrong.)
Best Drawing Kit For Kids: The Superhero Comic Kit
This book provides a blank canvas for inventing comic heroes and adventures, with story-starters, how-tos, and stickers to help create amazing new superpowers. Changes diapers faster than a speeding bullet! More powerful than projectile vomit! Able to work 12-hour days on a single cup of coffee! Wait, was this for you or the kid?
Best Building Kit for Kids: Makedo Cardboard Construction Starter Toolkit
Whatever you give your kid, they’d rather play with the box. So instead of Toys ‘R’ Us, head around behind the grocery store, stock up, then create something truly epic with Makedo’s starter kit. The safety saw and fastener screws will ensure that all your parts are customized and securely fastened. Because that fighter jet is badass, but Scotch tape just doesn’t hold at 35,000 feet.
Best Craft Kit for Kids: Kid Made Modern Print Maker Kit
That “art” is going on the fridge whether or not you can tell what the hell it is; might as well be high quality. This kit contains all the tools of the printmaking trade — paint-embedded paper and shapes, paper, wood, and foam materials — so your kid can open their first Etsy shop and start earning their keep around here.
Best Art Kit For Kids: Seedling Design Your Own Tote Bag
You shouldn’t have to donate to public broadcasting to get your hands on a stylish tote bag. Your kid can just make their own with the included assortment of paints, glitter glue, fabrics, and ribbon. When they’re done, rather than adding another toy to the pile, they’ve got a place to store the pile.
Best Science Kit For Kids: Scientific Explorer Tasty Science Kit
This kit turns your kitchen into a laboratory with experiments that teach the science behind foodish mysteries like why soda is fizzy and how cakes rise. It doesn’t, however, answer their most pressing question: why won’t my parents let me eat any of this stuff before bed?