KiwiCo Educational Subscription Service: What You Need to Know
Monthly subscription services are all the rage these days. If you want, you can have a new box of clothes, makeup, housewares, diapers, or pet toys shipped right to your house. Opening a package full of nice surprises can brighten your day. Wouldn’t it be great if your kids could share in the fun? Wouldn’t it be even better if they could learn at the same time? With KiwiCo, they can.
What is KiwiCo?
KiwiCo is a company that produces fun, educational KiwiCo crates that contain projects for children within a given age group. Each crate contains an age-appropriate creative project that will help your child learn while also having hours of fun. The project might be scientific, artistic, or problem-solving. It might involve building or designing or any other similar activity, but it will always contain instructions that link it to an important scientific or artistic concept, as well.
For example, here are some of the company’s past offerings. They may not be available anymore.
- KiwiCo mechanical lockbox
- KiwiCo coin sorter
- Spin art machine KiwiCo
- KiwiCo pinball
- KiwiCo project pumping heart
On the website’s store, you can purchase these KiwiCo kits individually for between $13 and $45. There are also themed packs of crates available, like a KiwiCo chemistry 4-pack for a special combined price. However, you’ll receive the largest discount on each crate if you sign up for a subscription.
KiwiCo’s founder and CEO is an engineer-slash-mom named Sandra. She has a whole team of designers that carefully create the KiwiCo projects. The website promises that each and every kit is tested dozens of times, both with adults and kids, to make sure the project is fun and educational. All materials in the kits are specially crafted for KiwiCo, so they’re safe and age-appropriate. Instead of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math), many projects are geared toward STEAM, which includes art in the mix. These kits combine science with creativity.
How does KiwiCo work?
The company’s online store is full of KiwiCo sample boxes, if you want to try out a single crate before you commit. However, each kit will be cheaper if you subscribe.
KiwiCo monthly subscription service
When you sign up for a KiwiCo subscription, you choose how many monthly kits to purchase. You can go month-to-month or purchase three, six, or twelve months at a time. Obviously, the more you purchase at once, the cheaper each crate will be. However, all subscriptions come with KiwiCo free shipping anywhere in the US. You also have the option to receive the crates every other month.
Be aware that the company handles all its customer service through its website form. KiwiCo’s phone number isn’t easy to find, though its Better Business Bureau page lists the number as (800) 714-4828.
How to cancel KiwiCo
Fortunately, if you’re unhappy with your KiwiCo box subscription, you can cancel any time after the first box ships. You can use the online service or contact form. However, if you signed up for more than one month, you will continue to be charged for the rest of your subscription period and you’ll continue to receive monthly crates. You won’t receive a refund if you cancel mid-term.
How to reactivate KiwiCo subscription
If you create an account through the KiwiCo website, you can deactivate or reactivate your subscription by logging in there. You can also pause your subscription for one month at a time.
Crates at KiwiCo
KiwiCo produces eight “lines” of crates. That is, each line is appropriate for a certain age group and contains a certain theme. With a subscription, you can switch lines any time as your child ages or changes interests.
KiwiCo Panda Crate
The Panda Crate from KiwiCo is for the very youngest children, ages 0-2. These KiwiCo infant crates focus on “building a foundation for learning” with projects and toys geared to your child’s development. When you subscribe, you enter your child’s birthday, and the kits will increase in complexity over time.
For example, at 0-2 months, crates may have items like black-and-white picture cards and infant-safe mirrors. At 3-6 months, you’ll receive items that appeal to a baby’s senses. By 19-24 months, you’ll start getting puzzle toys and matching cards. The Panda Crate is the only line that ships every other month instead of monthly.
KiwiCo Koala Crate
The Koala Crate has a similar developmental focus. Once again, the KiwiCo toys inside will be determined by your child’s specific age, from 2-4. Your child will learn skills like matching and sorting while using the kit’s materials to create simple art and science projects. Sample Koala Crates have themes like Ocean Games (including a KiwiCo fishing game), Doctor’s Visit, and Rainbows.
Together, the Panda and Koala lines have replaced the older KiwiCo Tadpole Crate that was designed for children under 3.
KiwiCo Kiwi Crate
For children ages 5-8, the Kiwi Crate features KiwiCo science projects that build confidence and foster a love of learning. However, there are plenty of art projects involved, as well. Sample crates allow your child to build an arcade claw to catch pom-poms, build a rocket and kite to learn about flight, or learn about the science of trees.
KiwiCo Atlas Crate
Similar to the Kiwi Crate, the Atlas Crate is appropriate for ages 6-11, but it centers on geography and world cultures. These crates often feature a single country – the sample crates are Japan and Peru – and contain craft projects, inspiration booklets, and DIY activities.
KiwiCo Doodle Crate
As you might expect, the Doodle Crate has a heavy focus on art and creativity for children ages 9-16 (and up). Your child might create a felt succulent garden or a faux leather portfolio or handmade soap. KiwiCo Doodle Crate reviews are especially positive.
KiwiCo Tinker Crate
The KiwiCo Tinker box is also appropriate for ages 9-16+, but it’s geared more specifically toward science (chemistry, biophysics, and astrophysics) and engineering (mechanical, industrial, and electrical). KiwiCo STEM kits can include building projects like mini trebuchets, hydraulic claws, or walking robots.
For all of the above crate lines, you have the option of requesting a Deluxe Subscription. For an extra $9.95 a month, each crate will also contain an age- and theme-appropriate book hand-picked by KiwiCo’s editors. However, this option is not available with the Maker or Eureka lines.
KiwiCo Maker Crate
KiwiCo says its Maker Crate is appropriate for ages 14-104, so if you’d like to order a subscription for yourself, this might be the one for you. This monthly craft box teaches even experienced artists new techniques like macramé, punch needling, or terrazzo clay. You’ll receive all the materials and instructions you need for each project.
KiwiCo Eureka Crate
Finally, the Eureka Crate from KiwiCo allows children and children-at-heart to build more complicated science and engineering projects like a desk lamp, a pencil sharpener, or a ukulele. The focus is on the science behind everyday objects and technology, and the projects are fun and challenging for teens and adults alike.
How much does KiwiCo cost?
KiwiCo’s prices depend on the frequency of your subscription and the age level of the kit. Each crate can cost as little as $16.95 or as much as $29.95. Here’s a breakdown of the pricing.
|One Month||Three Months||Six Months||Twelve Months||Deluxe Subscription|
|Panda, Koala, Kiwi, Atlas, Doodle, or Tinker Line||$19.95||$56.85
|$9.95 per month|
|Maker or Eureka Line||$29.95||$86.85
You can receive 30% off your first purchase if you sign up for the newsletter first. Additionally, sites like Groupon will occasionally feature KiwiCo promo codes and KiwiCo coupons. Although there is no true KiwiCo free trial, the company will sometimes run promotions that offer the first month free with the purchase of a 6-month subscription. However, you must commit to paying for the remaining five months.
As a company, KiwiCo has 4.5 stars out of 5 on Trustpilot, meaning that the vast majority of customers are satisfied with the quality of the products and the customer service. In fact, 78% of reviewers marked the company as “excellent.” In the comments, customer service agents have responded quickly to attempt to fix any problems noted in negative reviews. However, you should also know that the Better Business Bureau has given the company an F rating based on its failure to resolve complaints. Since the website doesn’t offer a phone number or email address, just a contact form, directly getting in touch with the company would seem to be difficult.
However, longer reviews also praise the company’s educational content and innovative projects that don’t feel store-bought. Most of the complaints pertained to subscription or delivery errors rather than the content of the boxes themselves. Be aware that the company will renew your subscription automatically unless you cancel it or manually turn off the auto-renew feature. This may be a factor in the abysmal BBB rating.
Alternatives to KiwiCo
Of course, KiwiCo isn’t the only subscription service to offer monthly educational entertainment. Here are some of its most notable competitors.
KiwiCo vs. Amazon STEM Club
Amazon already seems to be everywhere, so it might not surprise you to learn that the retail giant has even gotten into the learning box subscription industry. Amazon’s STEM Toy Club costs $19.99 a month and features boxes for three separate age groups: 3-4, 5-7, 8-13. You can purchase the boxes individually at a higher price.
Unfortunately, the quality of the Amazon STEM toys seems to be average to low, with not every experiment or activity working as promised. Additionally, some users reported that the kit required them to supply their own extra materials, like red cabbage or raisins for a kitchen-themed box. Finally, the subscription requires some effort to cancel, which can be extremely frustrating. KiwiCo, which is actually cheaper with a subscription of three or more months, seems the clear winner here.
KiwiCo vs. Little Passports
If your child thinks the Atlas Crate sounds like the most interesting line, then Little Passports is a subscription service you might also want to look into. This service offers its own five lines: Early Explorers (ages 3-5), World Edition (ages 6-10), USA Edition (ages 7-12), Science Junior (ages 5-8), and Science Expeditions (ages 9+). The first three contain educational materials about travel and world culture, and the last two focus on science. Subscription costs range from $19.95 (12 months, Early Explorers) to $27.95 (monthly, Science Expeditions).
Little Passports has less of a focus on artistic creativity than KiwiCo. Instead, it’s more geared toward paper activities (e.g., maps, sticker collecting) and science experiments. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, depending on what you or your child wants. Little Passports also serves a narrower age range. Luckily, the quality of the Little Passports materials seems to be similar to KiwiCo’s. If you’re trying to decide between the two, take a look at the specific offerings in your child’s age range to see what they might prefer.
In summary, is a KiwiCo crate worth it? The actual content of the crates seems to deliver on its promises, according to many reviews. Additionally, this is one of the lower-priced educational subscription services, and you can cancel any time. However, the very low BBB rating and problems some customers have with their subscriptions need to be mentioned. You may have a difficult time contacting the company.
If you’re curious, you could always try ordering the crates on a monthly or 3-month basis to see how well it lives up to expectations. Of course, be prepared to cancel quickly if you don’t like it, and then keep an eye on your bank statement to make sure your cancellation has been respected.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does KiwiCo sell individual kits?
Yes, you can purchase kits from any of the lines individually. These range in price from about $13 for the simplest kits to about $45 for the most complex.
Is KiwiCo enough for two children? How much is KiwiCo for two kids?
Understandably, some parents want to know whether ordering KiwiCo one crate for multiple children is feasible. While the multiple activities in each crate will mean that more than one child can take a turn, and many of the activities are reusable, your children will likely need to be close in age for this to work well. The lines are tailored to age groups so specifically that what engages one child might be dull or repetitive to someone two or three years older or younger. If you want to find out for yourself, order an individual crate and see how well it works for both children.
Another option is the “rotating lines” subscription, in which you’ll still receive one crate a month, but one will be from one line (e.g., Koala) and the next from another (e.g., Doodle). In other words, each child could receive an age-appropriate crate every other month. That way, you won’t pay for more than one subscription.
When does KiwiCo ship?
Your first crate usually ships within one to two days after you place your online order. Thereafter, they will ship within a day or two of the payment processing date provided on your confirmation email.
Does KiwiCo ship to child or adults?
Each crate will ship to the recipient – that is, the person whose name you provide when you sign up for the subscription. Before you can even look at the options, you must input the recipient’s name. Thus, if you order it for your child, the package will be addressed to your child.
Does KiwiCo accept Paypal payments?
As of early 2021, the website does not yet accept Paypal. Instead, you will need to use a valid debit or credit card.
When does KiwiCo take their payment?
They charge your account each month on the payment processing date given in your confirmation email. For example, if it’s the 27th of the month, you will always be charged on the 27th of the month. If you want to check this date, log into your account.
Can I track my crates from KiwiCo?
Yes, they will send you an email with tracking information each time a crate ships.
Did KiwiCo go on Shark Tank?
No, they never appeared on ABC’s reality show Shark Tank.
Are KiwiCo and Little Passports the same company?
Although they provide similar subscription services, KiwiCo and Little Passports are two separate companies.