For adults you have the monthly Conscious Box (of which I am a huge fan) but I also recently came across a similar concept for kids, the BabbaBox. If you subscribe then you get a new box every month especially for kids with crafts and activities to keep them entertained and engaged for a few afternoons, and not glued to a TV screen. I like the concept for the obvious reasons… it encourages play, crafting, creativity, TV free play, ect. But I also like it because it gives busy moms, and moms who don’t identify as creative or crafty, an easy way to encourage these activities in their kids without too much brain power. Having such an inventive idea at your disposal during the winter months when the weather may drive kids indoors… bonus.
And the lack of parental brain power required part, it’s no small thing. When you decide to do some crafts with kids you have to plan it out, scour the Internet for ideas that are fun yet doable, buy the stuff you need, and go to a specialty stores many times to get them. Then you try to clean the house a bit so you actually have clean work surfaces. Even so, you could end up with a big fat mess at the end, with crafts requiring massive space and time for paint to dry and you may wonder why in the heck you even decided to do this in the first place. Some of us are just not overly crafty and the work it takes to provide those experiences for your kids can be daunting.
BabbaCo, the company behind the box, set us up with a sample box to test out recently. As soon as you open the box you get an inventory of what is inside. Each activity or craft comes in a separate bag with corresponding instructions so you don’t have to worry that your kids will just dive in and lose pieces that you may need for later. It is all very organized. Our box had a Thanksgiving/Gratitude theme and like all boxes it had 4 components: Create, Explore, Story Tell, Digital. The Create part gives them 3-4 activities where they can craft and/or create. Explore seeks to engage your kids with the world and nature. Story Tell is accomplished with a story or book. Digital hooks you up with interactive learning opportunities and BabbaCo approved downloads.
In our box we got 3 gratitude projects… a serving tray to paint and decorate, a trivet/hotpad to personalize and decorate, and a DIY thank you cards. I liked that all 3 of the crafts could be used as gifts. I thought that was really timely for the season. It also came with an empty journal and a disposable camera so that a child can take pictures of all the things they are grateful for and then after they are processed, put them inside the journal. The storytelling part came into play with a copy of the book Giving Thanks. It was an excellent book that fit the theme but also incorporated a great message about wildlife and nature. It was our fave part about the box actually and got me wondering if there is a good book of the month subscription opportunity out there.
The last part was digital. You can either scan a QR code found inside the box or visit the link they give to access the corresponding digital content. There you find video and pdf files with step by step instructions for each activity (if you need it). It also links to iPad/iPhone apps. In this case it was a Dora Thanksgiving online activity (free) and a decorating cookies app. If you have one of these devices then you get the app free with a code from the box. I have an Android phone so if I wanted the app I would have had to pay. I am one of those uncool mommies who does not let my kids play with my phone and they will not get a smartphone of their own OR a tablet until they are old enough to pay for them I suspect. So, we didn’t do the app part.
The best part of the box IMO is that it also has a little gift for mom in it. Woot! This is a very clever idea! My gift was a stainless steel Tea Infuser and two bags of premium, caffeine free herbal tea. I am not a tea drinker so I will be re-gifting it but it is the thought that counts.
In the end we had fun with the box and I know my youngest would love to keep getting them. He is almost 6 and the suggested age range is 3-6. The camera/journal was a bit beyond him but I also suspect that he is on the autism spectrum like his older brother, so that could be a factor. I really like the idea and the presentation but I also think that the box could use some greening. The plastic bags that house each activity have to go, in favor of paper ones or comparable. The crafts themselves could also use some help in this regard but I do realize this product is designed to cater to eco conscious families.
If you are interested in ordering you can use code: ZB2367U for 20% off. Does this box look like something your kids would enjoy?
Wednesday, December 14th, 2011