Kids Play: Subscription Boxes
Getting off screen and into something new
For the average New Orleanian, August means more hot weather and going back to school. However, this school year – or at least the first half of it – promises to be a very different experience. Be it fully online, hybrid or even a socially distanced in-person classroom, finding ways to keep kids indoors and occupied is likely to be its own full-time job this month.
While kids are busy adjusting to the new routine, tapping into their creative brains can be a great way to keep them occupied, indoors and still learning or exploring something new. Luckily, there’s a cornucopia of subscription boxes out there that helps kids both young and old tap into a side of themselves that they may not even know exists.
While these boxes are from national companies, it bears noting that as the new scholastic world evolves, local organizations will step up to the challenge of helping parents. For example, the organization 826 New Orleans, which is dedicated to helping kids develop creative writing skills, created their Beaucoup Books project, which supplied book-making kits for kids in July. Meanwhile, they also compiled a list of resources for parents that are both specific to promoting literacy skills and helping source resources locally.
Among my favorite of the subscription boxes for school-age kids comes from the company Little Passports. For kids that didn’t get to travel as much this summer as they would have liked, the World Edition and USA Edition subscription boxes provide kids a starter kit with a passport and blue suitcase, and every month they discover a new country or state with crafts and souvenirs as well as access to other online content. For the child with wanderlust, this is the most socially distanced travel you can get. If you have a budding scientist in your home, Little Passports also has STEM kits that have kids solve real-life scientific mysteries. They even have boxes geared at kids 3-5 years old where they explore specific themes, like music or dinosaurs.
If your kiddo was inspired by all that quarantine bread making that seemingly everyone on the internet did, then there are a ton of cooking subscription boxes that are designed for kids but that get everyone in the kitchen. Kid Stir sends monthly recipes that are designed to be put in a colorful binder and organized so they can categorize them by meal and cook them over and over. They also get specialized cooking tools as well as crafts like place cards or special notes for their diners that show food prep and meals as a communal activity – a good lesson in these socially distant times.
Perhaps the most comprehensive Subscription Box company is KiwiCo, which guides parents very directly to a specific box by age and interest. They offer kits for ages 0 to 14+ and topics ranging from art, STEM, geography and travel and, of course, early learning. The company has won a ton of awards for the care and high-quality materials they use. While the kits for older students are pricier, they offer a lot for keeping older kids off of screen and engaged in something educational. They also have classroom packs for parents in hybrid schooling that want to go together and do something collaborative.
Just about all of these companies have resources for teachers and larger kits for groups, meaning that parents can work together to create a group project by class or just friends, or they can simply join the same subscription and share recipe results, world travels or scientific discoveries. The idea here moving forward is community building and consistency for kids that may have been lacking those things in the past few months.
➺ Just the Facts:
826 New Orleans’s List of COVID-19 Resources: 826NewOrleans.org/student-family-resources-for-covid-19-closures
Little Passports: LittlePassports.com
Most boxes are $17-$24 per month, and they have deals for 6-month and 12-month subscriptions.
Kid Stir: KidStir.com/#WHAT
Each box is $20-$25, depending on the subscription plan you choose.
Most boxes are $18-$25, but there are sale items as well as classroom packs.