Inside the Crate: April 2013

Children are instinctive recyclers and reusers. How often have you bought a toy, only to find your child more enchanted by the giant box it came in than the toy itself? The toy was just a toy…while the cardboard box was a rocket ship, a candy store, or a castle!

This month’s box hopes to inspire more of that enchantment, with crafts that make something new and exciting out of something that might otherwise be thrown away. To get ready, we hauled hundreds of boxes from our warehouse to our local elementary school’s basketball court and let our Kiwi Crate kids loose!

Old cardboard boxes became safes with complicated codes, buses, trains and skyscrapers. My family built an entire house, complete with a peaked roof and mail delivery! Kids and grownups alike had a magical day together in Kiwi City.

This month’s first project—making recycled paper—is all about the magic of making something out of almost nothing. We were so excited about it that we really put our kid testers (and product team) through the paces to get it right. After all, Earth Day is the perfect time to talk about how paper is made!

Traditional paper-recycling crafts usually call for a blender or food processor, but we wanted to design a craft kids could do safely, without heavy machinery. Little did we know how many kinds of paper we’d have to test before finding the right colors, textures, and blends! And we worked just as hard to find the perfect paper-making tray.

In the end, we did it! Our testers loved getting their hands wet—and I loved seeing how excited they were once they realized they’d made something useful and special. Right away, Nathan turned his paper into a special card for his mom. Look how proud he was!

I’m very proud of our papermaking project, too!

While the papermaking craft is about recycling, the second project is about making something beautiful out of elements you can find in nature—fallen leaves. The technique teaches kids to make a stamp out of leaves and decorate a reusable bag. Lucas figured out he could use more than one leaf to make a special pattern on his bag.

Since then, he’s tried stamping with larger leaves, flowers, and even pebbles! I hope this craft encourages your child to notice other items in nature that can be turned into art materials, too.

Part of the fun of this box’s second project is hidden in the reusable bag itself. It’s made from 100% recycled paper, while the handles are made from 100% recycled polypropylene. The bag’s very sturdy—and it’s the exact right size to tote around your Kiwi Crate box!

Speaking of the box itself, we have a very special surprise for our subscribers this month. In honor of Earth Day…we’ve redesigned your Kiwi Crate package!

We’ve switched to a manufacturer that only uses corrugate cardboard produced from sustainable forests. We’ve also reduced the amount of material in the box–for example, you’ll see there’s no tissue paper this month–and made the existing material more useful. (You can find out even more about our redesign here.)

Just cut off the top flap to turn the box into a fun printed environment for imaginative play. As a bonus, we’ll be including Kiwi play cutouts in every box. Download our paper Kiwi (and his friend, Worm) here!

I hope this helps your child get even more play out of the box!

Boxes aren’t the only household items kids love to reuse in imaginative ways. (For example, a paper towel roll is a natural telescope.) So we challenged ourselves to think up creative new uses for everyday items that would be thrown away, like odd socks, cereal boxes, and empty CD cases. This month, kids will turn odd socks into no-sew stuffed toys, make cereal boxes into mailboxes, and use old CD cases to display our very own printable desk calendar!

Kids’ limitless imaginations really inspired us this month! We’d love to hear how your child is inspired to reuse household items like cardboard boxes and juice packs…not to mention this month’s new Kiwi Crate box. Happy Earth Day!

8 Replies to “Inside the Crate: April 2013”

  1. awesome! way to move toward being a socially responsible company! is the packaging for only April’s crate ? It seems a little ironic to have manufactured a plastic tray for the earth day crate, though. was there anything “eco-conscious” about how you guys did this? thanks!

    1. Hi Chrissa! Thanks for your questions. In answer to the first one, yes, our packaging redesign is here to stay! Our future boxes will also be manufactured sustainably, and we’ll also be offering paper play figures every month.

      In answer to your second question, we tested many different materials for our paper making tray. We found this tray offered the most options for reuse. It can get wet without damage, and air-dries quickly. We’re hoping our subscribers can use it to recycle lots of paper that would otherwise be thrown away!

      1. Thanks for replying so thoughtfully and promptly, Sandra. Would be great to see instruction on your website or FB for binding recycled paper together into secret diaries or storybooks. I think even my 5 year old is ready for the former! Very much appreciate of the new efforts you’re making & congrats on Wonderbox!

  2. This will be our first Kiwi crate so we are anxiously looking forward to receiving it.

    I applaud you for trying to find imaginative ways to reuse items we typically would throw out. We are attempting to do the same for my son’s 5th birthday. We are making an igloo out of recycled milk cartons, (it will take nearly 600 most of which I have salvaged from the local coffee shop). I am hoping that this will be a fixture in the backyard for the summer and that we can even have camp outs in it. Also, love the idea to recycle boxes. We are also doing the same thing with smaller sized boxes such as cereal and granola bar boxes, etc to use as building blocks. I hadn’t thought of using large scale boxes but this could also be so much fun for the kids. Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. Loving our new kit! We just made the paper this evening and would like to make more. I wanted to know if the white shredded paper was regular tissue paper or something special. What sort of papers do I need to be able to use this kit to make more?

    Thanks so much!!!

    1. Hi Vida!

      The shredded paper in the box is regular tissue paper, but you can use almost any shredded paper to do the project, with different results. (Different colored tissue papers will give different results, too!) The main difference will be that heavier paper will take longer to break down in the bottle. So glad you’re enjoying this month’s crate, and happy creating 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *