3 Creative Ways to Reuse your Crate

Cardboard is an awesome building material that is recyclable and biodegradable. It’s durable and protective, but it is also easy to bend and cut. It’s about half air, making it a useful lightweight material for building projects. As kids (and cats!) know, sometimes a cardboard box is as fun as the toy that came in it! Ever since it was invented, cardboard has inspired construction and creativity! 

As journalist Andrea Lange pointed out in The Magic of Cardboard

“Children have long preferred the box to the toy that came in it: cardboard is light and strong, easy to put up, quick to come down and, perhaps most important, inexpensive enough for experiment. Cardboard constructions can be crushed, painted, recycled and stuck back together…cardboard creations become more sophisticated as children gain skills: It is as malleable as the body and the mind.”

At a time when many toys are becoming complex and reliant on technology, it’s reassuring to return to creative possibilties of the box, seeing it not as trash but as a renewable resource for play.  Here, at Kiwico, we have deep respect for the value and versatility of cardboard. In addition to being committed to recycling and sustainability,  we are always looking for awesome uses for our crates. 

From extra storage containers to crafty DIY activities, the ideas are endless. Here are four easy cardbox projects to make with your kids.

We’d also like to hear from you: What are your cool cardboard ideas and creations? Let us know in the comments below!

1. KiwiCo Crate Kitchen: (Ages 3 to 4)

Create a mini-refrigerator and a simple stove. For this project you will need three KiwiCo crates; one for each appliance and a third to create handles, burners and shelves. An adult assistant is necessary for younger kids who need help cutting cardboard. Small measuring cups make fun pots and pans. What will you cook up?

2. KiwiCo Box Castle (ages 3 to 4)

Create a fortress with a drawbridge. For this project you will need one KiwiCo box for each wing of the palace. An adult assistant is necessary to cut out windows and outline the drawbridge. Kids can paint the palace, add banners, and have a party. If you like this project you might enjoy our Medieval Crate

3. KiwiGo Box (ages 3 to 8)

Create a case to carry your art supplies. This is fun a fun project for little and big kids alike. Paint your name, add stickers and other decorations to make your case unique.  What will you pack? Where will you go?

Looking for additional cardboard based projects? Cardboard Box Creations by Laura Baker, published by Lonely Planet Kids is a terrific source of inspiration. For a brief history and creative potential of cardboard we recommend The Magic of a Cardboard Box by Andrea Lange.

What are your cool cardboard creations? Tag us at  #KiwiCoBoxCrafts

5 Creative Valentine’s Day Projects to Make with Kids

Valentine’s Day is a love-ly holiday for making heartfelt gifts! All over the world, people send candy, flowers, and cards to express affection and appreciation. At KiwiCo, we encourage kids to make their own awesome projects to share with family and friends! From magnetic hearts to light-up pencils, here are five STEM craft activities to make with your kids!

Valentine's Day cards for Kids

Need some help making handmade Valentines for classmates? That’s why we created our Valentine’s Day Card kit that comes complete with everything you need to make 27 craftastic cards.

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Easy Science Fair Projects for Kids | 13 Experiments

Easy Science Fair Projects for Kids

Science can explain many of the world’s magical mysteries in surprisingly simple ways. These easy science experiments reveal the cause behind some phenomena, but also let kids explore the frontiers of science. With these quick projects, they’ll use chemistry, electricity, and biology, to feed their creativity and make scientific magic!

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8 Lucky Lunar New Year Traditions to Celebrate with Kids

Lunar New Year Traditions: Parade Dragon

Lunar New Year has been observed in China for more than four thousand years, starting from ancient celebrations of the end of the long winter season. Because it marks  the earth coming back to life and the beginning of the growing cycle, the Lunar New Year is also called the Spring Festival.

Although modern-day China uses the solar Gregorian calendar, the traditional Chinese calendar follows both the sun AND the moon. Every lunar year begins with the moon cycle that starts  between January and February and ends on the full moon 15 days later. So the Lunar New Year in China falls on different dates on the Gregorian calendar, somewhere between January 21 and February 20. 

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3 Inspiring Young Creators: Kid Inventors’ Day

Kid Inventors' Day: Fionn
via Atlantic Mirror

Kid Inventors’ day is on January 17th, the birthday of Benjamin Franklin! You might already know that Benjamin Franklin was a founding father of the United States and that he was famous for his experiments with electricity (most notably the kite experiment) What you might not know is that he is also credited with inventing the first swim flippers almost 300 years ago at age 12!  Kid Inventors’ Day was created to acknowledge past and present accomplishments of kid inventors; To encourage the creativity of future young creators. This year, to celebrate National Kid Inventors’ Day, we want to feature some awesome young innovators around the world.

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How Trebuchets Work | The Science Behind Trebuchets

How Trebuchets Work: Trebuchet Crate Example
Buildable trebuchet from our Tinker Crate

A trebuchet is a type of catapult that uses a swinging arm to throw a projectile. They were created for a terrible purpose, but they’re also an amazing example of human ingenuity. For centuries, the trebuchet was the most powerful war machine in the world. They stood as tall as 60 feet (18m) and could fling 80 pound (36kg) objects up to 980 feet (300m). They were so powerful as siege engines that they even changed the way that castles were built, with walls becoming increasingly thicker to protect against trebuchet barrages. 

After the invention of the first trebuchet in China during the fourth century B.C.E, the concept spread quickly and was further developed by engineers in the Middle East and Europe. Innovators across three continents and many different cultures contributed to their design, displaying incredible mechanical skill and scientific vigor.

But how do trebuchets work? How did they manage to be so powerful, lift so much weight, and make such a large impact on the world around them? What can we learn from the trebuchet designs of the past?

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How Shadows are Formed: The Science of Shadows

February 2nd is Groundhog Day! Groundhogs (also called woodchucks) are a member of the squirrel family (they are not hogs at all!)  As the tradition goes, if a groundhog emerges from its burrow and sees its shadow, spring is still 6 weeks off;  if the groundhog doesn’t see his shadow, it means warmer weather is on its way.

Have you ever wondered what causes shadows? Or how a shadow might change shape depending on the time of day or time of year? Look around you now;  If you are in a lighted space, chances are you will see a shadow because shadows are all around us.

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Science Activities for Preschoolers | 12 Fun Projects

Science Activities for Preschoolers:  12 Projects

No one is too young to experiment with science! Hands-on science activities let preschoolers marvel at the magic of the world around them. They may not learn the precise STEM concepts behind the activities, but they’re still practicing skills that will be a foundation for later learning. All the science activities for preschoolers listed below have fast results to keep kids engaged and spark curiosity. Start every project with a hypothesis and give your child the opportunity to guess about how the world works. The most important part of all these projects is having fun, so let little hands get messy and discover something new!

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Winter 2020 Reading List for Kids

Cold days and winter weekends are perfect for curling up and reading a good book! Reading helps develop good communication skills and the IMAGINATIONS of young minds! Plus, when children feel confident in their ability to read, they can start to take the initiative when it comes to learning new things. That’s why we offer upgrades to Deluxe on our subscription lines. When you upgrade your KiwiCo subscription to Deluxe, we include a unique book to extend the fun and learning of each month’s crate! Our Deluxe team reviews hundreds of books each season to select our favorites. Since our crates are designed to spark curiosity, innovation, and learning, we chose books that do the same. 

Below is a list of our winter 2020 Deluxe Book selects. We’ve organized the list by age group but some of the ages overlap. Each book includes STEM and STEAM learning and ALL of them are seriously FUN!

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7 Creative Uses for Leftover Wrapping Paper

Leftover Wrapping Paper Header

The holiday season is a time of generosity, family and gift-giving. Unfortunately, it’s also a time of waste: In the United States, people throw away 25% more trash during the winter holidays than any other time of year, resulting in millions of tons of garbage. One of the worst culprits is wrapping paper because most wrapping paper isn’t made from recycled materials and can’t be recycled. Every year, 4 million tons of leftover wrapping paper and shopping bags will end up in a landfill.

Here at KiwiCo, we are always looking for innovative ways to repurpose materials. Upcycling is eco-friendly and an opportunity for curiosity and creativity. Even if you plan to re-wrap your gifts using the same paper next year, here are some creative projects to use your wrapping paper scraps and cardboard tubes.

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