I’m always on the lookout for fun toddler activities to do at home with my 4-year-old.
Going out to parks, malls, and birthday parties is great, but sometimes we need a little downtime at home. But if you know toddlers, you know they need stuff to do, even during downtime!
I recently came across KiwiCo.; a company that offers one-off and subscription crates that deliver awesome activities, toys, and games right to your door.
(Think Blue Apron for family fun.)
It sounded like a lot of fun, so I decided to give it a shot. One recent lazy Sunday, my 4-year-old and I sat down and tried the Colorful Chemistry crate by KiwiCo.
Here’s our honest KiwiCo review!
Overall, we had an absolute blast using the chemistry kit sent by KiwiCo. The instructions were clear, the activities were fun, and clean up was pretty easy overall.
I’ll say that the price is a little bit high to order these regularly, but they’re amazing for gifts or a special occasion, or just to try out something a little different for a few months!
Since I originally wrote this review, we’ve become a regular paying customer and have completed tons of different Kiwi crafts and activities. I still highly recommend them!
You can check out all of the sets from KiwiCo. right here — in this review, I’ll be showcasing the Colorful Chemistry kit.
(Note: I received a free KiwiCo. box in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.)
What is KiwiCo? How does it work?
KiwiCo., formerly known as Kiwi Crate, is a kid’s fun and educational company that sends subscription (or one-off) boxes to your door, loaded up with age-appropriate goodies for your kids.
With a subscription, you’ll get a new box sent to your house every month.
You can choose from:
- Panda Crate – 0 to 24 months – Activities for babies to explore and discover
- Koala Crate – Ages 2-4 – Stuff to help toddlers play and learn
- Kiwi Crate – Ages 5-8 – Teaches young kids art, science, and more
- Atlas Crate – Ages 6-11 – Focuses on geography and world culture
- Doodle Crate – Ages 9-16+ – For the young artist
- Tinker Crate – Ages 9-16+ – For the young scientist or engineer
- Eureka Crate – Ages 14+ – Engineering and design activities for teenagers and beyond
Inside each box, you’ll typically find a handful of items that relate to the theme of the box (which will differ based on what you’ve chosen for your subscription), but expect to see things like:
- Arts & crafts
- Hands-on learning activities
- Science experiments
- Toys and puzzles
- Art projects
- And more
Kiwi also offers a ton of individual boxes or sets you can order whenever you want.
Each one has activities relating to a certain theme.
We initially tried the Colorful Chemistry set for this KiwiCo review, which had 3 different activities all about chemistry and color combinations!
But if chemistry isn’t your kid’s thing, you’ll also find individual sets about:
- And more
A lot of these can be bundled together into mega-gifts (including chemistry bundles, with the Colorful Chemistry projects we tried plus others).
KiwiCo. also offers “summer camp” in a box kits for all different age groups, packed with everything you need for a few days worth of backyard fun and learning when school’s out.
Think of KiwiCo. as a one-stop-shop for activities, learning, and fun in a box, for any age.
(Since I originally published this piece, we’ve done tons and tons of KiwiCo crate activities like:
- Building a rocket
- Creating and flying a paper kite
- Building a model solar system
- Assembling a lantern
- Designing a homemade arcade game
- And more
Here are a few photos of my daughter and I doing KiwiCo together:
(She is 6 now, and I love that she can follow the instructions and do most of the work herself.)
How much does it cost?
For the monthly boxes, here’s what you can expect to pay:
All of the boxes cost different amounts, but most start at around $16 per month for a 24-month subscription.
The shorter your commitment, the more you’ll pay — usually around $20 for month to month.
Some of the boxes for older kids, like the Eureka Crate, cost a little bit more because of the complexity of the activities inside.
It can get pricey real fast if you sign up for a longer plan!
I’ll get into my thoughts on the overall quality and value of the boxes below, but I think it’s a little out of most family’s price range to do this every single month for a year or more.
Instead, I’d suggest trying it for a 1-3 month subscription and seeing how you like it!
The one-off kits and boxes, like the Colorful Chemistry kit we tried, are priced a little different.
For these, you pay once, per box that you order, just like you were shopping at any other online store.
The individual kits are usually about $20-30 on their own.
(For reference, the Colorful Chemistry kit we tried costs $29.95 by itself.)
Let’s get into the actual box we got!
Again, we tried the Colorful Chemistry project; which is sold on its own or as a part of some of the chemistry bundles.
It’s not on the monthly subscription plan; it’s meant to be something you buy once and sit down and do together with your kid.
It’s meant for ages 3 and up, and the box promises you’ll “Experiment with chemical reactions for bubbly, fizzy fun!”
Out of the box, you’ll find all of the individual parts (of which there are many!) labeled really clearly, with a helpful instruction sheet.
The instructions walk you through unpacking everything and setting up your lab area, where you’ll be conducting your experiments and the activities.
I mostly just read out the instructions to my daughter, and she was able to do most of the set up herself.
After a few minutes of laying out a little placemat of sorts, assembling the various beakers and jars, and doing some basic mixing of ingredients (we were instructed to create a baking soda and citric acid mix for use later on), we were ready to jump into the experiments.
The set up only took about 5 minutes, and again, my daughter was able to do most of it herself, which really added to the experience for her!
The Colorful Chemistry kit came with three different activities for us to do with the supplied materials:
- A color mixing experiment
- A small art project
- And a fizzy finale
First, we used the baking soda / acid mixture, along with colored powders, to experiment with color combinations.
The included handbook walked us through the basics of the scientific method (in a way a 4-year-old could understand) and we made predictions about what might happen when we combined, say, blue and yellow.
We spritzed the colored mixtures with a little water to fizz them up and get them to combine.
It was a lot of fun!
(And, better yet, everything was neatly confined to beakers, jars, and a little plastic tray.)
Next, we grabbed a fresh tray…
(The kit came with plenty of trays so we never had to stop and clean anything out.)
… and my daughter made a big mix of color powder — as much as she wanted of each color.
We spritzed it down and made a fizzy, foamy solution, then dipped some watercolor paper in to create some awesome art!
After it dried, we inserted our dyed paper into some adorable greeting card cutouts to create a few really cool keepsakes.
For the big finale, the instruction book asked us to pour some colored baking soda mixture into the beaker…
… and then dump in some water and watch what happened!
(You can probably guess.)
Overall, this kit kept us busy (and kept my daughter really engaged) for about an hour!
The three activities inside were all fun, and while they used the same materials over and over, they didn’t feel repetitive.
If I had one complaint, it’s that the plastic sleeves on the greeting cards (for the art portion of the project) didn’t seem to be attached properly, so it was really difficult to get the dyed watercolor paper inside the cards.
(I had to use tape, which wasn’t provided.)
But other than that, this project was a huge hit with my 4-year-old!
(And it was great to do something just me and her — If you’re a fellow dad reading this, check out my list of science-based tips on how to be a better dad.)
I’m not going to lie, by the end of this project, we had made quite a mess on our outside table.
The Colorful Chemistry kit uses three different jars, a beaker, a pitcher, a water spritzer, a bunch of packets of powder, and several trays.
By the end, everything (for the most part), was dirty and needed to be disposed of!
What was really great, though, was that pretty much everything in the kit was made of simple plastic that was easily recycled.
I gathered up all the trash, threw that away, then gave everything else a quick rinse and tossed it in the recycling bin.
In all, cleanup only took a couple of minutes!
I really appreciated the self-contained nature of the project.
With so many fizzy and powdery ingredients, the mess could have been so much bigger.
What I liked and didn’t like about KiwiCo (pros and cons)
So after spending an afternoon with one of the KiwiCo kits, here’s what I thought, overall.
Fun and engaging
A lot of care goes into these activities.
They’re well-designed and perfectly suited for the age group.
(Each box also tells you how much parental involvement is necessary for the project.)
My daughter goes a mile-a-minute, so the fact that she was interested in and excited by this project for over an hour speaks volumes!
Easy set up and clean up
It only took a few minutes from opening the box to get into the really fun stuff.
And once we were done, cleaning up the whole activity took less than 5 minutes.
(And the majority of the materials were recyclable, yay!)
Plenty of materials
KiwiCo doesn’t skimp out on materials, here.
We had plenty of baking soda, citric acid, and colored powder to make more of the color mixes.
We even had some leftover at the end, so we got more than we needed!
The box also included plenty of trays so we could easily grab a clean one for the next part of the experiment (or to repeat a step, for fun); we never had to stop and clean off a tray before we could keep going.
My only real issue with the Colorful Chemistry kit, and the other KiwiCo crates, is that they can get a little bit pricey.
I loved the instructions, the materials, the organization, and everything in the box we got, but the whole afternoon could have been replicated for a couple of bucks at the grocery store.
The curation and surprise you find in the subscription kits, as well, is really awesome!
But I’m not sure it’s the kind of thing you’ll want to lock in for 12 months or 2 years.
I could see trying out a crate for a few months to stock up on some new toys, books, and activities, (or ordering something like Colorful Chemistry as a gift or a fun one-off), but it’s probably not the kind of service you’d stay subscribed to for the long haul.
One other minor downside is that when you start doing a lot of KiwiCo crates, like we have, you end up with a lot of leftover projects lying around.
We’ve built rockets, homemade arcade games, lanterns, and more — my daughter plays with them for a while but after a week or so they lose their luster and then you have all these not-easy-to-store crafts lying around!
It’s not really KiwiCo’s fault but something to keep in mind if your house is already feeling cluttered.
My daughter and I had a ton of fun using the KiwiCo chemistry set, Colorful Chemistry.
(Remember, the one we tried is an individual box you can order at any time. Kiwi is probably better known for their monthly subscriptions like Kiwi or Koala crate, full of age-appropriate curated toys and activities.
We’re a paying customer as-of this writing, and we get the Kiwi Crate every month!)
It’s a little bit pricey compared to what the raw materials would cost, but it was a really fun change of pace for an afternoon at home — and any of these kits would make an absolutely AMAZING gift for any kids you know.