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KiwiCo Crates Review ~ Tinker Crate and Eureka Crate for Older Kids

KiwiCo Crates Review Tinker Crate and Eureka Crate for Older Kids

KiwiCo Crates Review – Are Kiwi Crates worth the money? For our family, yes. Here’s our KiwiCo review of Eureka Crate and Tinker Crate. These are great STEM kits for older kids.

As far as getting a subscription box for kids, I can’t imagine a better one, especially for tweens and teenagers.

‘Twas the week before Christmas, and I didn’t have a great gift idea for my tween and teenager.

I was on the email list for KiwiCo and was getting their holiday specials. All I knew was they offered fun and doable math, science, engineering, and art subscription kits.

Years prior, I saw a friend posting about her kids’ Tinker Crates and Eureka Crates. She was really happy with them. She said her teens loved them.  Their grandparents bought the subscription for them each year.

Fast forward almost two years later, and I decided to look at what these Kiwi kit crates were all about. I ordered the subscription.

(Updated: I wrote about how ideal these have been to do during the school closure and over summer break.)

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Is Kiwi Crate worth the money?

For our family, yes. They are well-made STEM kits. The kids will actually enjoy using the project they complete. They will have the fun of building the kit as well as the fun of playing with or using it.

There are several great things that make Kiwi Crate worth the money. One of the best things is everything they need to build the kit is in the box. The directions are easy to understand and follow. I like that these are excellent projects for older kids as well. The projects are interesting.

While I can buy art supplies and other materials, it’s difficult to find STEM projects for older children. Yes, I can look online but then I have to get all of the materials. With subscription boxes, everything is inside. I cannot overstate enough how this is what makes it easy to say, “Get off electronics, and pull out your Kiwi Crates.” I don’t have run around setting everything up. They can take out their boxes and begin.

I love these Kiwi boxes because the kids look forward to getting them and completing them.

From the Eureka Crate, my son built a Mechanical Lock Box, a Ukulele, an Electronic Pencil Sharpener, a Desk Lamp, Stereo Headphones, and a Pinball Arcade game.

These are cool projects for a teen. Each was fun to do. He actually uses the items. He sometimes plays the arcade game. The kits are all different. Your kids will be proud they completed them. For the Eureka Crate and Tinker Crate, each kit will help teach about engineering and mechanical concepts as well as introduce new skills and reinforce existing skills and interests. The Eureka Crate in particular is fantastic for teens. The projects really held my teenager’s interest. Some of them had a lot of pieces but he took his time and completed them. Kiwi Crates are challenging enough for older kids but doable so they will stick with it and not lose interest.

Most of the Eureka Crates took my teen 50+ minutes to complete. (He completed the Stereo Headphones much faster but the Arcade game took over an hour.) These are worth it because they are such great projects whether or not your child is interested in STEM learning.

There are the easy-to-follow directions as well as supplemental materials if your child wants to pursue the concepts further. Kiwi Crates would work well for homeschooling. The student would have the hands-on building opportunity along with all of the supplement materials for extended at-home learning through additional experiments based on the concepts.

Also, when I compare the cost of a Kiwi subscription box to a summer camp or other class, Kiwi Crates are a great value.

KiwiCo cost

Will shipping make it cost prohibitive?

Shipping is free in the United States. In addition, Kiwi Co. has discounts the longer you subscribe. Even at full price, the kits are a good value for what you receive.

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Subscription box for kids

For teens, this is what KiwiCo offers. We bought the Eureka Crate subscription and the Tinker Crate subscription.

Eureka Crate: 14+: Focuses on engineering and design

Maker Crate: 14+: Focuses on art and design.

Tinker Crate: 9 – 16+: Focuses on science and engineering.

Doodle Crate: 9 – 16+: Focuses on creating and crafting.

I chose the crates that were more geared toward STEM and less on art because they sometimes do art at home (painting, drawing, etc.) whereas they didn’t have a way to do mechanical and engineering projects at home.

KiwiCo Crates Review

While my kids have done a lot of STEM kits and other sets, they never had a kids subscription box. I had a lot of questions before deciding to try Kiwi Co.

Would they build the kits?

Would this be one more thing to pile up in the closet, untouched?

They were doing their kits regularly in the beginning… within days of receiving them in the mail. However, after the third month, with school and activities, the crates started piling up.

However, the great thing is these kits were the perfect thing to do during the school closure and over the summer. We are renewing our subscription because they’ve enjoyed them so much.

STEM kits are popular; what sets Kiwi crates apart?

Kiwi Crate has kits for all ages, all the way through the teen years. They have kits in certain disciplines: Art, Geography, etc. but they all cover additional concepts. The Tinker Crate and Eureka Crate have working parts and are very detailed.

It’s difficult to find things for older kids to do to hold their interest but these KiwiCo crates do. They can take it to complete at grandma’s or do it at home. They won’t need to hunt around the house for additional materials. Everything kids need is included in the subscription box for them to complete the kit.

I also really like how these boxes are compact and stack nicely for storage.

What is in a Kiwi Crate?

Would my kids — who were definitely aging out of toys — want to do this?

They were excited to do them when they received them. After a few months, the kits were piling up. But that’s not to say the kits weren’t fun. It’s just that my teens kept defaulting to electronics when they had free time. When they sit down to do the kits, they love them. They are proud they built the sets on their own. They enjoy using or playing with the kits when they’ve completed them.

Will the kits be too easy?

My 11 year old liked the Tinker Crate. It was on par with his skills. Some of the kits were just right; a few of them were a bit too easy. However, they were perfect for him to complete on his own without getting frustrated.

He was able to follow the directions, take his time, and be responsible with organizing the pieces. He was proud he accomplished the projects.

However, the sets weren’t “as cool” as the Eureka Crates. Now that he is 13, we will be renewing his subscription and getting the Eureka Crate.

Is everything included in the kit?

Yes, everything is included in each kid’s subscription box. This is wonderful. You won’t need to even get a pair of scissors. A few of the sets included a mini screwdriver.

Basically, I didn’t have to worry about: Would these crates be another thing I have to nag my kids to do?

Like many parents, I know I’m always looking for ways to engage my tween and teen and get them away from electronic devices.

I also know I’ve bought my fair share of science and engineering sets, art kits, and other enrichment sets and projects thinking they would do them but they never did.

Or the kids do them but it was a chore — not something to look forward to but something to cross off their list.

All of this would just add to my overall guilt about wasting money and the pressure to offer my kids enriching experiences.

With Kiwi Co. subscription, we have the satisfaction of completing the kits, enrichment, and not wasting money.

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Kiwi crates as gifts

KiwiCo boxes make great gifts for kids of all ages. They have sales and discount coupons often.

This subscription service is for all ages. Kiwi categorizes the kits by interest.

For wee ones this would be Discovery and Exploration and Playing and Learning.

For ages 5 and up, there is Art, Science, Design, Technology, Art, Geography, Engineering, and Math.

You may have heard of STEM-based learning or STEAM-based learning.

This stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, A for Art, and Mathematics.

After receiving several crates now, we learned that Kiwi crates combine many of these STEM/STEAM disciplines in their kits.

I really liked they were broken down into such specific age ranges.

For our family, the best part is the Tinker Crate and Eureka Crate are appropriate for tweens and teens.

Kiwi Crate vs LEGO

When I buying the KiwiCo subscription, I realized this was the first year we didn’t buy LEGO sets for my kids. I love LEGO bricks and sets and so do my kids; they’ve served us well.

However, to get a challenging kit for them now that they’re older, I need to spend hundreds of dollars. Then LEGO model will have to sit out somewhere — collecting dust — and we just don’t have room for it.

My kids love doing LEGO sets but I just can’t justify the expense for something that will take them several hours (at best) and then it’s done.

These Kiwi crates are fulfilling the same function as the big LEGO sets for us. They give my (older) kids:

  • Something to build and construct
  • Opportunity to follow directions
  • Chance to be responsible and organized
  • Opportunity for patience and follow through
  • Learning experiences and enrichment
  • Something to be proud of
  • Something fun to do that isn’t electronics

STEM-based learning

My kids are really into STEM. They are in STEM clubs at school, and my older child takes honors science in middle school.

I was happy thinking I could buy the Kiwi Crates for my kids and they would enjoy putting them together.

What was also appealing is that everything would be in the kit.

As much as it’s great to browse Pinterest for STEM and other creative ideas, it takes so much time to gather the supplies.

The appeal of the Kiwi subscription is that everything would be there in one box.

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I’ll admit there was a big part of me that worried they wouldn’t enjoy them. I thought they would be curious and have the thrill of unboxing the item but then might lose interest.

However, that wasn’t the case. They look forward to their subscription boxes and building the kits.

One of my children asked for an electronic pencil sharpener — he’d talked about it for months. I saw a picture on the KiwiCo site with a child putting together a pencil sharpener! I thought that was really cool that they offered even practical kits as well. Imagine our surprise when that was the first kit!

How much is a Kiwi Crate subscription?

To ensure you get the best price, look on their website for a base price. Then sign up for their emails. They always have specials going and Kiwi coupon codes. What’s also nice is when you do sign up to get a subscription, they offer you discounts to add on additional months.

Ordering the Kiwi Crate

I ordered the Tinker Crate for my 11 year old and the Eureka Crate for my 13 year old.

I didn’t want them both to have the same kit.

Being my older child is capable and good at following directions — and goodness knows they’ve both been doing LEGO sets for the majority of their lives — I opted for the oldest-age kit which is the Eureka Crate.

Kiwi runs discounts and specials often, and I was happy with the deal and price. Sometimes there are special codes, etc. We received the kits in three days, plenty of time for wrapping and to put under the tree.

Getting the kits

What I liked about Kiwi Co.:

First off, we ordered are kits to be sent to the same address. Both of them fit in a larger box. This box is decorated really nicely. I also appreciated it was the correct size — the perfect fit, really — so that it didn’t waste.

KiwiCo crate boxes

Eureka Crate and Tinker Crate with shipping box

The eco-friendliness shipping box aside, the kits themselves come in fantastic boxes.

What I love about them is they are made with sturdy cardboard. They are perfect for then storing the kits until your kids complete them.

They stack nicely in the closet.

Most toys that my kids used to play with didn’t come with boxes. This meant it was difficult to store. I am a huge fan of boxes!

Each box had a label which said what the kit was. Imagine my surprise when my son’s kit was an electronic pencil sharpener!

My younger son’s kit said it was a Paint Spinner. He had one years earlier which he enjoyed, so both seemed like activities my kids would enjoy building and putting together.

What I didn’t like about Kiwi Co.:

This is a minor compliant but thing is that even though they asked for both of our kids’ names, on the shipping box, only one child’s name is on it.

So if you order more than one set to the same address, you will want to not wrap the shipping box and present it as a gift. However, because only one box came, I opened it up and saw both of the sets were in that box.

Also, think about if your kids will care whose name is on the shipping box. Mine don’t care.

Giving Kiwi Crate as a gift

Kiwi Crates make great gifts whether you give them a subscription or as a single boxed kit, one time.

The box makes a nice presentation. Everything the child needs to complete the kit is inside. What’s great about this is there won’t be a burden on the parents to get additional supplies. This gift is all-inclusive.

In our case, because they were each in their own nice box, I was able to wrap these up easily. When our kids unwrapped them, they were interested and curious. Again, it’s difficult to surprise older kids, especially tweens and teens. For gifts, they usually get board games, t-shirts, some books, and yes, video games.

We love finding STEM activities for them. They both said they wanted to do their kits over winter break.

I knew they would eventually do them and would want to do them but the fact they came up with the idea on their own, instead of wanting to play a video game or watching Youtube, was surprising.

Building Eureka Crate and Tinker Crate

Both kids enjoyed doing their kits. The first kits they received took about an hour. (Some of the future kits took a little longer which was great.) The directions were detailed but in an easy-to-follow way, not complicated and cluttered.

What I like is that it teaches kids patience and to follow directions. They learn to take their time and find the pieces they need — just like they did when building their LEGO sets. They followed through until they finished.

We ordered the 3-month subscription and renewed for another three months.

In total, our kids enjoyed the subscription for six months. We’ve received six Tinker Crates and six Eureka Crates.

I wish we ordered for the 12 months but we had a few months where they didn’t do them. Our rule was we would stop after they started piling up. However, because they completed them over the summer, I should have kept the subscription going.

Updated: I’m ordering Kiwi again.

KiwiCo Crate Review

Easy directions

Colorful and includes pictures of the pieces they need. These Design Booklets feature what you need to know plus additional information.

kiwi crate spin art directions

kiwi crate spin art directions

KiwiCo directions easy to follow

KiwiCo directions easy to follow

KiwiCo Tinker Crate directions

KiwiCo Tinker Crate directions

As an example, in the Electronic Pencil Sharpener kit, there is more information about the limit switch and about pencil lead.

Educational

Just like any well-made game or activity, these kits teach a lot. My kids are learning about mechanics, engineering, math, physics, and more.

It’s educational to build the project and then fun to use it or play with it.

Kids build and refine fine motor skills as well.

We don’t home school, but I could see how it would be appropriate to use to supplement the school day.

There are also extended learning opportunities for further enrichment. (We didn’t pay extra for this; it was included in the crate’s cost.) In addition to the directions for the one project, there are also other projects you can do.

These kits cover several disciplines — engineering, art, math, science, technology as well as geography for some kits.

Spinning Science

Spinning Science

Children learn to follow directions; to trust the process and learn patience; to sort and keep track of the supplies; and to follow through and complete a project. Again, all the while they are learning, building, constructing, and having fun.

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Good variety of projects

Kiwi Co boxes are interesting and haven’t been similar. Sometimes the projects have been more fun to build and sometimes they’ve been more fun to play with. Both are a win!

These are the sets they’ve received:

Eureka Crate

  • Electronic Pencil Sharpener
  • Wooden Ukulele
  • Stereo Headphones
  • Mechanical Lock Box
  • Articulated Desk Lamp
  • Pinball Machine

Tinker Crate

  • Spin Art
  • Color-Changing LED Crystal
  • Light-Up Planetarium
  • Arcade Catapult
  • Hydraulic Claw
  • Glowing Pendulum

You also have the option to go to their website and purchase specific kits.

As an example, even if you order the Kiwi Crate, you can buy a kit from the Doodle Crate. You can purchase one month, three months, six months, or 12 months. The longer the subscription, the more they discount it.

Kiwi Co. Eureka Crate and Tinker Crate great for older kids

The kits have been detailed enough to hold older children’s interest.

They are great kits for tweens and teens when not many “toys” and “craft kits” excite them.

These STEM kits have kept my kids interested and engaged in the process. They sit down and work until they have completed the kit. It’s something that’s “doable” and not something they view as a chore to do.

What’s also great is they have choices for older kids. Again, as children age, there are less options for them.

KiwiCo box subscriptions for tweens and teens

  • Atlas Crate is up to 11 year olds with a focus on geography and cultures.
  • Doodle Crate is 9 – 16 year olds with a focus on design and art.
  • Tinker Crate is recommended for 9 – 16 year olds and focuses on engineering and science.
    • You may want to get Eureka Crate for tweens and teens. We liked Tinker but my older tween really liked some of the Eureka Crate projects better.
  • Eureka Crate is for 14+ and focuses on engineering and design.
  • Maker Crate is for 14+ and focuses on art and design.

Kids will enjoy constructing and building something they can play with and use.

KiwiCo Crates Review pencil sharpener

Building the pencil sharpener

There’s usually a sale

Whenever you subscribe, you will feel like you got a good deal and didn’t pay full price. They offer discounts regularly.

Spend time together

It’s been nice having my kids sit and work on their Kiwi kits while I make dinner. It’s is a great way to spend time together.

Kids look forward to their kits

We ordered the Kiwi Crate 3-month subscription for the gift.

I told my kids they had to work on and complete the kit before they open the next month’s shipment. And if they didn’t have their kits done before the next month, we wouldn’t renew it for another three months.

So far, they’ve been motivated to do their crates.

Practical and enriching kits

Kids construct projects they can use. We have the pencil sharpener sitting out by our homework area. My son still plays with his spin art kit.

KiwiCo Spin Art kit

KiwiCo Spin Art kit uses the box it came in for easy storage

My other son clipped his desk lamp on his desk and uses it when studying. In addition, he has the mechanical lock box on his dresser.

Convenience and zero stress

Another benefit to these kids subscription boxes is you feel like you are doing something to enrich your kids. When my kids were younger, I enjoyed going to Michaels, JoAnn’s, Walmart, Target, and Hobby Lobby to find craft and science kits.

But with working and busy lives, I don’t have time to do this. Plus, there isn’t a sense of urgency to do these projects. However, when they arrive in the mail each month, there is a bit of excitement that makes my kids more interested in it.

I am no longer wasting money and filling up closets and drawers with art supplies and craft ideas for rainy days.

Comes with everything you need

In addition to coming with all the materials you need, appealing directions and Design Booklets, it comes with that great box to store everything in, and some of the sets include a notebook.

Some of the projects don’t fit back into the boxes. However, some are part of the box as in the Spin Art machine which uses the box as part of the design. The Hydraulic Claw does as well.

Helps refine fine motor skills

Kids need patience and to take care as they handle wires and small parts. It’s great to build and refine fine motor skills.

Kiwico Builds Fine Motor Skills

Kiwico Builds Fine Motor Skills

You can cancel at any time

If you know how to log onto your KiwiCo account, you can cancel the subscription or change kits or pause your subscription. It’s easy.
I also very much appreciated getting an email reminder that our 3-month subscriptions were coming due to auto-renew. More on this below.

Experience with Kiwi Co customer service

My kids opened their kits four days after Christmas. My older son was excited to do the pencil sharpener in his Eureka Crate. In putting it together, one of the wires broke apart.

It was a Saturday, but I emailed them right away over what I assume was a very busy customer service time for them.

I included our order number, an explanation of the problem, and also included a picture.

In almost exactly 25 hours, on Sunday, a rep wrote back to say they will send out a replacement part right away. They shipped it out Monday, and we received a replacement piece early afternoon on Wednesday. We haven’t had any other issues.

Automatically renewing Kiwi Co. subscription

We’ve all had times where we agreed to pay for something one time but then see recurring charges on our credit card statements.

This was a concern I had before purchasing KiwiCo. Would they continue to charge my account?

Not only did I get a confirmation from KiwiCo that my account was scheduled to renew, when I went online, I had options to easily cancel, to change the kits we wanted, or to put the account on hold.

I let them auto-renew. When I later learned I paid full price, I emailed Kiwi to tell them I saw a code for a discount. They credited my credit card for the difference for both kits.

I’m a huge believer in rewarding loyalty. So while I wish KiwiCo would have given me a discount up front as one of their loyal, existing customers, I was happy it was easy for them to honor the sale price when I wrote them.

So the only complaint would be they should have an automatic discount for their ongoing, loyal customers instead of focusing only on the getting new customers.

Kiwi Crate keeps innovating

It seems Kiwi Crate overall is always trying to create the best possible experience for the kids.

Each kit we’ve received so far has been of the utmost quality. It’s not cheap or skimping in any way.

There is the main kit plus options for children – teens to take the concepts to the next level by doing even more activities.

Kiwi Crate options

We’ve haven’t tried one of the kits for younger kids. We subscribed to the Eureka Crate and Tinker Crate. All of the Kiwi Co’s crate lines are:

  • Panda Crate: 0 – 24 months old
  • Koala Crate: 2 – 4 years old
  • Kiwi Crate: 5 – 8 years old
  • Atlas Crate: 6 – 11 years old
  • Doodle Crate: 9 – 16+ years
  • Tinker Crate: 9 – 16 years — We love this crate! Perfect for tweens! (However, 12 year olds may prefer Eureka Crate.)
  • Eureka Crate: 14 – 104 years young — Excellent crate for teenagers!
  • Maker Crate: 14 – 104 years

Happy with KiwiCo Eureka Crate and Tinker Crate

While my kids love doing these crates, I love they are learning as they put the kits together. I love seeing how proud they are that they made whatever it is and that it works!

Most of all, in this day of electronics, I’m thrilled to have found something that my kids are interested in. They are actively engaged in building their kits. All the while, they are learning and having fun.

So to answer the question,

Is KiwiCo worth the money?

We absolutely say Yes!

My older children enjoy building their crates and want to build the kits. It’s a unique gift for tweens and teens.

I appreciate I don’t have to research online for these types of STEM kits or look through them online and at hobby and craft stores. My kids have fun doing their crates, and in the end, they have made something they are proud of.

KiwiCo Crates Review for school closure ideas

My kids enjoyed doing these projects when they came in the mail each month. However, we all know life gets busy. They each had three crates still to do.

I bought the subscription when my kids were 11 years old and 13 years old. Now they are 13 and 15. They still really enjoy these crates.

They were piled neatly in a closet. During March, the first month of school closures, I told my kids to get off their video games and figure something out.

They pulled out their Tinker and Eureka Crates! They had such fun putting them together. Even better, they were proud of the Kiwi sets they built.

Again, the directions are broken down into steps so they didn’t need any help.

It prompted us to look on the Kiwi Co site to see if we could buy single kits or a three pack that would be interesting.

In addition to building the kits, each box includes a booklet for enrichment. We didn’t do them but they seem fantastic.

You could use these for enriched learning to make even more of these sets.

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Learned to play the Kiwi Co Ukulele

Another benefit to having this time with the school closures is one of my sons learned to play the ukulele he made. In the Kiwi booklet there is a recommendation for a website. We ended up buying a subscription to it.

So in addition to putting together the ukulele — working on following directions, patience, engineering, mechanical design skills — he also learned music.

Trading Cards for Kids

Kits for teens for summer break

These Kiwi crates have exceeded our expectations, engaged our tween and teen, and have enriched them in many ways.

Our boys were proud to complete them and have enjoyed using their kits as well.

That Kiwi Pencil Sharper still sits out in our dining area, and we use it often. My son loves his Mechanical Lock Box, and hides his candy in it. He also uses his Articulated Desk Lamp. He clamped it to the desk in his bedroom.

We have the Hydraulic Claw, Arcade Catapult, and Pinball Machine out at times and they play with them.

When kids get older, there isn’t always a lot they want to do. The Eureka Crates and Tinker Crates held their interest. It’s also motivated them to come up with some engineering projects out of recyclables around the house.

Please note, this is an honest KiwiCo review. We did not receive anything from KiwiCo and chose to write this Kiwi crate review after buying the kits and enjoying them so much. There are affiliate links in this post.

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