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I don’t know about you but I feel like just about every single must have toy that Santa has ever brought to our house ends up in the corner collecting dust before eventually making its way to the basement, the trash, or, if I am lucky, a garage sale. I got so sick of dropping tons of cash every single year on piles of meaningless toys that really didn’t bring my kids joy for more than 5 minutes. That’s when Rob and I decided to shift the focus of our gift giving.

We decided to seek out more meaningful gifts that provide experience, not just 5 minutes of entertainment.

One type of gift that I find to be really, awesome for kids is subscription boxes. I love that they basically send your child a new gift every month. They really are the gift that keeps on giving.

Now, I know that many people are extremely leery of subscription services and believe me, I was too. I didn’t want to get trapped into some ongoing monthly expense that I might forget about or that could be a nightmare to cancel but, I have to admit, subscription boxes are pretty awesome! Once I gave my first subscription box a chance, I was hooked. And for the record, I have had no issues cancelling the ones I didn’t care for.

So, if you are one of those people who has never tried subscription boxes, do it!

There really is nothing like getting a box full of new delights every month, especially to kids.

Kidstir:

One of the most awesome holiday gifts that I have gotten for my kids is a subscription to Kidstir. Each month Kidstir sends a cooking lesson in a box. Not only does each box help you teach your kids to cook (hello, valuable life skills) but it provides an opportunity for your to make a memory with your child. Its experience, bonding and learning rolled into a one neat little box!

Each box has a different monthly theme and comes complete with 3 step-by-step recipes for you and your child to make as well as 2 kid-sized cooking tools, which my kids love most of all. You also get a digital and printed shopping list with everything you need to make the recipes and fun food fact sheets and games. Kids even get a special binder to keep all of their recipes and create their own cookbook.

Kidstir kits are super versatile. Their website says that they are best for ages 5-10 but we found that they were fine for our 4-year old and just as much fun for our 10-year old. Both our son and daughters liked the kits and we were able to adapt all of the recipes to comply with our dietary restrictions. The recipes are all nut free and were pretty easy to make gluten free and dairy free.

I can’t say enough good things about Kidstir. The recipes are really, fun and easy for kids and teaching them to cook is invaluable. Getting kids involved in cooking and empowering them with knowledge about their food encourages them to make healthy eating choices for life. I can’t tell you how many adults we hear from that want to eat healthier but have never learned to cook…at all. They are relying on unhealthy packaged, processed foods and feel powerless. Teaching your kids to cook literally is the gist that keeps on giving and giving.

As for commitment, Kidstir is not a nightmare to deal with! They offer a monthly subscription, a 3 month, a 6 month and 12-month subscription. If you opt for the 12-month subscription, it does NOT auto-renew! You really can cancel at any point of you want to, which I have a feeling you won’t.

 

Discovery Boxes by Green Kids Crafts:

Created by a mom, who is an environmental scientist, Green Kid Crafts Discovery Boxes provide a monthly STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, math) based project kit for you and your child to do together. Each monthly box has a different theme and 6-8 little projects, all the materials you need for them, instructions, a magazine with games and information and achievement badges.

Our favorite box so far was the nocturnal animals box. We got to actually make a glowing nighttime lantern, shadow puppets, a glow in the dark owl and few other things. There were interesting facts about nocturnal animals and, I have to be honest, I learned just as much as my kids did.

I love that all of the materials used in the Discovery Boxes are made from eco-friendly, natural and sustainable materials and are made in the U.S.

Discovery Boxes are offered in subscriptions or can be purchased individually. They offer subscriptions for ages 2-4 and 5-10. The subscriptions are more economical than individual boxes so we opted for that. Eventually, we even upgraded to the sibling add on feature so that our girls didn’t fight over the projects.

We felt that the boxes for ages 2-4 were a really big hit. Our little ones really loved doing the projects. The boxes for ages 5-10 were also great but appealed more to our 6 year old than our 10 year old. Overall, I feel like younger kids really love the Discovery Boxes but older kids may not be as into them.

You can purchase subscriptions monthly or in 3, 6 or 12-month increments. One thing I do not like about Discovery Boxes is that subscriptions do auto -renew. If you want to cancel, be sure to set a reminder to do so before the auto-renew.

 

Steve Spangler's Super Slime

Steve Spangler Science Club:

The last of our favorite subscription boxes is the Steve Spangler Science Club. A membership to the club gets you 5-10 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) projects per box, depending on which package you choose. The boxes come with everything you need to conduct the experiments and 2 sets of detailed instructions, one for you and one for your child.

The experiments are FUN! And the instructions really focus on using the scientific method to spark a love of science and peak your child’s natural curiosity.

We love so many things about Steve Spangler Science kits. We love that that each box can be used by multiple little scientists. We found that up to 4 kids could work on the experiments together with no issues. We also love that the kits and experiments never repeat. You can get completely different experiment boxes for 2 years. We also love the instructions for parents because they really tell the parent how to be a science teacher and how to let the children guide the experiment.

According to their website, the kits are designed for ages 7-14 and we found that to be pretty accurate. Younger kids could probably participate but would need someone older to really do most of the experiments.

The only real negatives we found about Steve Spangler Science Kits are that if you purchase a 3 or 12- month subscription, you cannot cancel during your subscription. You can choose not to renew but you are billed up front for your subscription and cannot cancel and get refunded for any part of the subscription.  They do offer a month-to-month option where you can cancel before your next billing if you want to.

Subscription boxes like Steve Spangler Science Kits, Green Crafts Discovery Boxes and Kidstir Recipe Boxes are gifts that your kids will actually use. They won’t end up in the corner collecting dust after 5 minutes of Christmas Day playing time.  They also provide invaluable experience time between you and your kids where you get to, not only do something fun, but you also are teaching them valuable life skills. You might even learn a thing or two as well, I definitely have!

If you order soon, you should be able to have your first box in hand to wrap!

Happy Healthy Holidays!

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Stefanie
I am a busy mom of four and aspiring functional medicine and wellness coach who has struggled with severe anxiety, health anxiety, OCD, PPD, and debilitating, chronic back pain until I found a clean eating, paleo lifestyle. I am here to share my experience in gluten free living, paleo eating, the Whole30, healthier cooking, special needs parenting, raising a large family and clean living to help all of you live better every day.