In the fall I posted about how we were trying out the Green Kid Crafts monthly STEAM boxes and promised to report back. Not only am I reporting back, but they are running a promo to try Green Kid Crafts for free – while supplies last you can get a free full-sized Green Kid Crafts Discovery Box, which is pretty awesome.
About Green Kid Crafts:
Just in case you did not memorize my earlier blog post (what?!), Green Kid Crafts is built around the idea that your kids get a new box every month with up to 8 STEAM projects and crafts to learn about a theme. (I think I’m old because I’m not sure when people started talking about STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) instead of STEM). Each box is around a theme – January’s theme was Mad Scientist and included making slime monsters and creating your own lava lamp (basically water, oil, food coloring, and alka seltzer, but I never would have thought of it or been able to explain it to my kids before!), and past themes have included Kitchen Science, Nocturnal Animals, the Weather, the Arctic, etc.
Green Kid Crafts is designed for kids 3-10, and the activities are pretty cool and can be done over a wide age range. For example, one of the projects in the Holidays Around the World box was making your own Diwali candles, and you can probably tell from the photo on the left which were made by my youngest vs. my oldest child! I like that my kids are learning about science and other areas in a way that allows them to be creative, and I think it’s neat that Green Kid Crafts is big on eco-friendly materials, so they’re actually making or doing things, not just putting plastic together.
The boxes have detailed instructions for all the projects, suggestions for bonus DIY activities about the month’s theme, and random other fun items (like with the Holidays Around the World box there was also a pretend passport with stickers from different countries). You also get access to online content and activities around the theme, but we haven’t looked at the online part at all so I can’t tell you if that’s good or not.
How to get a free Green Kid Crafts Discovery Box:
So the promo for a free Green Kid Crafts Discovery box that they announced is from now until the end of February or whenever they run out – last year they ran out before the end of the month so not sure how long it will be good for this year, but it’s good now. It’s pretty neat because you get a real full-sized box with all the different activities around whatever the next theme will be, not a special trial sample or something smaller, and it’s free. You do have to pay shipping but given that buying a single Discovery box in their store is $24.95 plus shipping, it’s still a fantastic deal.
Here is there official lingo. You can obviously just get the free box and cancel, but we really like this and have found it to be worth the money, especially with a winter full of long days. . .
“Now you can try a full-sized Green Kid Crafts Discovery Box for free! This offer is valid until supplies last. You will be automatically enrolled in a Green Kid Crafts monthly subscription at a price of $19.95/month, and may cancel at anytime. The first month is free except for $6.95 shipping and handling. One free box per household. To get your free Discovery Box go here!“
Review of the Holidays Around the World Discovery Box:
We bought the special big-box Holidays Around the World Discovery Box for our kids for the holidays, and it has been a huge hit. I will note that we got it on sale for half-off – I don’t know that I would’ve paid full price for it since it cost twice as much as a regular box but I didn’t feel like there were actually twice as many activities. But for what we paid, absolutely worth it. The focus is on geography and different cultures and holiday traditions , and projects included making Japanese Lanterns, creating a Chinese Hand Kite that really flies, Aboriginal Rock Art from Australia, and Guatemalan Worry Dolls and a Worry Box from South America, Diwali Candles from India, and designing an African Mask.
Let’s start off with what the website preview looked like versus what we got. You’ll need to excuse my terrible photography and the fact that by the time I took these photos some parts of the kit had wandered off (like we’d made the Guatemalan Worry Dolls and my kids had put them under their pillows to tell their worries to at first but then one of my children decided to put their doll in our toy fire station!)
I liked the extras in this box, like the big map that came with it – I wasn’t expecting that and it made it easy to talk with my kids about what part of the world each tradition was from and show them in relation to each other and to where we live. There also was a recipe booklet with a different easy-to-make recipe from each of the countries/cultures that the projects were from, so that was really fun. Some of the materials were slightly different – the fabric for our worry dolls had different patterns than pictured above, and the clay for our Diwali candles was yellow, not white as pictured above – but nothing substantial.
The favorite activities were probably the Guatemalan worry dolls and the Chinese Hand Kite. The Worry Dolls were a pretty simple craft in and of themselves, but it’s great that these boxes include ALL the materials for each activity – I could’ve theoretically gone and gotten clothespins, and fabric scraps, and special fabric glue, and pipe cleaners, but I didn’t have to – it was all packaged nicely in the bag for that activity with plenty of extra supplies. My kids loved making these and really enjoyed learning about the story behind them.
The Chinese Hand Kite (project kit pictured below) was another favorite – my kids enjoyed decorating it and it was great for the both of them to do together since my youngest could just randomly put stickers on while my oldest was more into figuring out how it flew, so we talked a lot about kites and the science behind them and how the rectangular kites that we have in the US are not the only shape for kites, and what if there was a circular kite, and all sorts of stuff. We also talked about when the Chinese Hand Kites were used, and where they might’ve been flown. I like these projects because they give you enough info to provide context, and then you end up talking with your kids about random topics that wouldn’t have ordinarily come up.
The only activity that was not a hit was the African mask. Normally there is enough material for both kids to do the activity or it’s an activity that they can do together, but the African mask could really only be done by one child. I sort of solved this by cutting out another of the white mask bases from some thick paper, but by that time the squabbling had already started. The little clothespins that go on the bottom of the mask were also really small, so great fine motor practice but hard for my already frustrated younger child to put on.
Overall very happy with the purchase (and I purchased it just like anyone else – it’s not like someone sent me a free one to review or anything) and ended up signing up for the monthly subscription as a result. So if the free box offer is still active when you’re reading this, I’d totally recommend giving it a go.