Koala Crate: In the Garden

20 Aug

I’ve heard about Koala Crate over the years and was waiting until Jack was old enough to really enjoy it before trying out the subscription. Now that he’s 3 ½ and has a longer attention span, I decided to go for it and ordered the July box.

What is Koala Crate?
Koala Crate is a subscription box specially designed for children ages 3 to 4 that includes all the materials and inspiration for projects related to a monthly theme. Crates are designed to give preschoolers exposure to new materials and new concepts that encourage hand-on learning and fun. Monthly subscriptions cost $19.95 per month.

The July Crate theme was gardening, which was totally out of my comfort zone. I love flowers and gardens, but I have a black thumb when it comes to growing anything on my own! I figured, if the box was built for a preschooler, perhaps I won’t ruin it…

The Gardening Crate came with supplies and instructions for three projects:

Project #1: Funny Grass Head
Items in Crate: 2 growing pots, 2 soil pellets, grass seeds, face stickers, a water dropper and a wooden rake.

Koala Crate - garden 1

We followed the instructions to decorate the pots with the stickers, and then added a soil pellet to each cup. Jack took the lead on adding water with the dropper and was very proud of himself for not spilling any. He thought it was hilarious that with each squirt of water the soil pellet would loosen and ‘grow’ into a big ball of dirt. After he added a bunch of water, he used the rake to stir the soil around and also mixed in the grass seeds. Every day when he gets home, he runs over to check on “his plants” and was super excited when they started sprouting grass.

Project #2: Growing Plant
Items in Crate: growing plant pieces, tissue paper squares, water dropper and glue pen.

Koala Crate - garden 2

For this craft, the instructions suggest that you pop out the plant pieces, decorate them with tissue paper and then build your own plant. Putting the pieces into a plant form was a little too difficult for Jack, so I had him point out where each leaf belonged before I smooshed it into place. Once we had our plant made, we worked together to crumple a few pieces of tissue paper and glue them to our creation. Jack loved the finished plant so much that he wants it to be our permanent centerpiece for our table.

Koala Crate - garden 3

Project #3: Garden Book
Items in Crate: garden book and growing plant.

This isn’t so much a project, as it is a way to have your child interact with the reading process. You are encouraged to take apart the growing plant from the second project, and read the garden book while putting it back together. There are also some really good tips for early literacy included in the packet, such as having your child turn the pages of the book for you once you finish reading each page and encouraging your child to draw a picture based on the story.

Imagine Activity Book
In addition to the three projects (or two projects and a book), the Koala Crate also included an Imagine magazine (by Highlights, one of my childhood favorites). The magazine had a couple short stories, a recipe for mint lemonade, a stretching exercise, and a couple hidden pictures activities. It was a really awesome way to engage Jack under the gardening theme and he loved trying to find all 24 hidden roses in the Rose Search.

Was Koala Crate Worth It?
When I first pulled the materials out of the box, I really wasn’t sure if the contents justified a $20 cost. I mean, I’ve seen similar projects to the Funny Grass Head in the dollar section of Target. However, after actually working with Jack on each of the projects, I realize that the kit really facilitated some great learning. Not only did it give us a couple projects to complete together, but it also gave me some tips on reading with Jack and made him feel special that a gift arrived in the mail just for him. While I certainly could have gone out and purchased all the items for less than $20, this took all the work out of it and gave us some fun projects that were ready to go.

I really enjoyed this month’s Gardening Koala Crate and am looking forward to see what the August box brings us. Once I receive our next box, I’ll definitely be asking myself whether it was worth the $20 again. If you’d like, I can post what we get again so you can check it out. Just let me know in the comments!

There is an option on the website to give Koala Crates as a gift and I really love that idea. If I could get family members on board to do a subscription for Jack as a Christmas or birthday gift (they have 3, 6 and 12 month gift subscriptions) it would be such a treat. I’d so much rather spend time with him on projects and learning about different themes than get yet another cheap plastic toy that he plays with for 5 minutes!

If you are interested in trying out Koala Crate yourself or giving it as a gift, I have a special code that gives you $10 off. Just click through here when you sign up.

Do you like subscription services like Koala Crate or would you prefer to create your own fun? Are you interested in seeing what we get in our August box?

 

Disclosure: This is NOT a sponsored post. I just decided to try out Koala Crate (with my own money) and thought you might be interested in my thoughts on the service. If you choose to use my special code, you will receive $10 off your order and I will receive a referral benefit as well.

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