6 Great Online Resources for Your Maker Kid (including Kiwi Crate!)

Thanks to our friends at Toca Boca for including Kiwi Crate as one of 6 Great Online Resources! Enjoy reading the list and let us know of any other great resources your family uses.

6 Great Online Resources for Maker Kids

By Amanda Bindel, Toca Magazine Writer

The maker movement depends a lot on makers’ generosity with their ideas and skills, and the Internet puts much of those shared resources right at our fingertips. These ideas can be the spark that ignites new ideas and innovative risks, inspiring kids to create. Here are six sites that will inspire kids with project ideas and teach them some of the basic skills that they can build upon.

1. Make: magazine

make_logo_rgb

  • Make: magazine brought the whole maker movement into the mainstream, and remains the major player. Magazine subscriptions are available in digital formats and print, but the website includes lots of free resources as well.
  • The site caters to all ages of makers, mostly in the world of electronics. Check out the kids section for ideas geared toward younger makers and families.

2. Instructables

instructablesrobot

  • Instructables features user-submitted instructions for all kinds of projects classified into categories: technology, workshop, living, food, play and outside.
  • The projects and how-tos are mostly geared toward adults, but kids could help with some of the projects (and certainly enjoy using the creations — like light sabers made from plumbing materials or a quill-dipping pen).

3. DIY

diy_logo_1024_trans

  • DIY.org offers free video instruction and project challenges for kids to complete. Makers can then share their creations and earn badges for different skills. DIY Camps start at $10 and match kids with a counselor and a small cohort group to work together online honing a specific skill.
  • Skills covered go well beyond the techie or crafty focus of many maker sites. Kids can explore sports like archery and gymnastics; traditional skills like knot-making and leather-working; nature appreciation like ornithology and oceanography; and totally modern tech skills like Minecrafting and meme hacking. Most projects will appeal to tweens and teens.

4. Kiwi Crate

kiwi-crate-PMS376

  • A monthly subscription delivers materials and inspiration for projects for creative and curious kids, right to your door.
  • The website’s DIY section offers ideas organized by theme — nature, recipes, science, etc. — and by material — balloons, clay, glitter, googly eyes and more. Projects are rated for messiness factor, age range and estimated time.

5. PBS Design Squad Nation

designsquadlogo

  • This PBS Kids site includes full episodes of the reality show that has kids completing engineering challenges. Kids can also watch shorter videos highlighting different projects, play games and find how-to instructions. Possibly the coolest feature is the “What can you make?” spinner. Kids select three items they have on hand, spin the wheel, and get suggested projects they can complete using those items.
  • These projects are mostly geared to tweens and teens but are ranked as easy, medium or hard so parents may find some projects that they can do with younger kids. 

6. Maker Camp

makercamplogo

  • Free online camps are sponsored by Maker Media. Themes for summer 2015 include Funkytown (music and instruments), Farmstead (sustainable energy, food, etc.), and Fun and Games (DIY games).
  • Community organizers can also use the resources to host a neighborhood making camp.

Interested in joining Kiwi Crate? Enjoy 30% off your 1st month’s box. Promo code applies to all brands: Kiwi Crate, Koala Crate, Tinker Crate, and Doodle Crate

What’s your favorite online resource? Let us know!

5 Insights into Why the Maker Movement Matters

Our new friends at Toca Boca sat down with experts in the maker movement including the father of the movement, Dale Dougherty, to discover how the movement started, its roots in play and how making makes kids smarter.  In this Toca Magazine article, “A Movement in the Making,” you will find tips for what parents can do, too!

Here are our favorite 5 quotes that inspire us at KiwiCo:

Interested in reading more? Check out the full article here.

To see how Kiwi Crate encourages maker moments through our DIY projects, sign up for our email newsletter today and receive weekly weekend activities!

Interested in joining Kiwi Crate? Enjoy 30% off your 1st month’s box with promo code: TOCA30. Promo code applies to all brands: Kiwi Crate, Koala Crate, Tinker Crate, and Doodle Crate

Kiwi Crate’s New Friends at Toca Magazine

At Kiwi Crate, we’re excited to join forces with Toca Boca as we celebrate the creativity and learning that hands-on experiences can spark in curious kids. This is a topic we feel passionately about at Kiwi Crate, and one that is regularly explored on Toca Magazine.

Over the coming  weeks, we will share some of Toca Magazine’s inspired articles where you can:

  • Learn how making makes kids smarter from the father of the maker movement
  • Explore the inspiration behind DIY as a hands-on play model
  • Discover more online resources for your maker kid

Kiwi Crate and Toca Boca both believe that kids’ creativity is a powerful force, and we want to help parents support their kids as they create, build and explore. Thank you for joining us!

Don’t miss out! Sign up for our newsletter and get these stories delivered to your inbox.

Interested in joining Kiwi Crate? Enjoy 30% off your 1st month’s box with promo code: TOCA30. Promo code applies to all brands: Kiwi Crate, Koala Crate, Tinker Crate, and Doodle Crate

Review: How Kiwi Crate Saved My Summer… And Quite Possibly My Sanity

Introduction, by Kiwi Crate: This article is a guest post by Francesca Banducci of The SITS Girls and Bloggy Boot Camp. Francesca is a believer that this community is a movement, and not just a website. Francesca lives in beautiful Northern California with her family and is currently on a quest for unending free WiFi & stronger caffeine.


We are only a few weeks into summer, not even halfway, and my kids are following our tried and true script.

  • “I’m bored.”
  • “There is NOTHING to do.”
  • “Can I get on the computer and play a game?”

I could say that I sit up at night coming up with fabulous craft ideas for my kids to do so the boredom will end, but I don’t. There just are not enough hours in the day. I want them to have fun craft projects and a memorable summer, but I also work full time and have a laundry list of to do’s that every parent faces.

As a parent, your daily to-do list doesn’t stop just because your kids are out of school. It would be really great if fun activities would arrive like magic without me having to come up with an idea, go to the store to get supplies, and then come up with a new way to use those supplies when my original idea doesn’t work as beautifully as everything I see on Pinterest.

Enter Kiwi Crate.

Kiwi Crate offers subscriptions boxes that arrive at your door each month with everything (seriously, every single thing) you and your kids need for DIY fun. My kids were so excited to open up the box and see what projects were waiting inside.

We received a Doodle Crate and a Tinker Crate. These crates are created for tweens and teens up to 16 years old. This is a real life-saver for parents with older kids who want to be creative and build fun things, but don’t want to fail making yet another popsicle stick picture frame with stickers.

Our entire family was delighted with the detailed plans for building our own catapult, as well as the fun instructional video that we watched on the Kiwi Crate website. Catapult making is serious business and requires true dedication. Thankfully the Tinker Crate had everything we needed to complete this innovative and unique project.

This is a great subscription box for engineering-minded kids who are excited to build and learn. It’s also great for kids (or parents!) who like shooting things across the room. Summer should be fun – but there is no reason why you cannot add a little science and math in the mix too.

To further the fun factor, Kiwi Crate also sent along a Doodle Crate DIY project too. All three of my kids enjoyed getting in on the create-your-own stamp action.

Like Tinker Crate, Doodle Crate came with everything we needed to make our stamps, including a special cutting tool just right for kid-sized hands. Not only did we pass a whole afternoon without me hearing the dreaded “I’m bored,” all three of my kids sat at the table and worked on their projects together for hours. It was summer bliss.

Here’s to summer fun and creativity! Check out all the options Kiwi Crate has for kids of all ages and bring DIY fun to your doorstep this summer.

Use the coupon code THEKIWI30 to save 30% off of your first months crate + free shipping. This discount applies to all of Kiwi Crate brands: Kiwi Crate, Koala Crate, Tinker Crate, and Doodle Crate. This code is available for 1st time customers only.

Make it a Summer of Discovery!

Can you believe that summer is right around the corner?? (Or maybe it’s already here for you!)

For kids, at this point, it’s pretty much unbounded joy — celebrating the fun and freedom of the season ahead.  For parents, it’s a bit more of a mixed bag.  There are lots of things I’m really looking forward to: the long days, beautiful summer evenings, and not-so-early-crazed-and-rushed mornings. Plus, looking ahead at three months of summer feels so full of possibility and promise! But it’s a little terrifying too: “HOW are we going to fill all those days? HOW much screen time is okay??”  And when the inevitable happens (“I’m BORED!!!”), how do we respond?

We’ve done our fair share of raising / entertaining the 12-and-under set here at Kiwi Crate (there are 30+ of them between us all), and we wanted to share a few of our favorite screen-free summer activities with you, to help you and your kiddos make it a Summer of Discovery this year.

1. Milk Rainbows

Part of the fun of summer showers is that there are always rainbows afterward –  but who wants to wait that long to see one?

The wait is over when you make milk rainbows at home with your kids.

2. Plantable Paper

As the weather gets warm and you find yourself in the garden, why not get your kids involved too?

Making plantable paper is easy and fun, with the bonus reward to come in a few weeks when the flowers germinate!

3. Banana Ice Cream

As the weather heats up, if your kids are anything like mine, there is a near certainty that they will ask for ice cream. My response? If you can make it, you can have it!

Here is an easy DIY ice cream that is sure to satiate your children’s desire for the icy treat with only one ingredient and without the excess sugar in pre-packaged brands.

4. Eggheads

Looking to make breakfast a bit more interesting?

Next time you are whipping up eggs for the family, save the shells and create a friendly-faced garden with your kiddos!

5. Marshmallow Sculptures 

Sitting by the campfire and making s’mores with the family is one of the great summer pastimes– how to keep your kids from eating the entire bag of left-over marshmallows gets a bit more sticky…

For this one time, encourage your kids to play with their food and create the masterpieces built from your camping leftovers!

6. Dancing Staples

If you have ever gone camping with your kids, you know how curious they are about how a compass works and where exactly magnetic North is.

Let them explore how magnetic fields work with this simple experiment!

7. Balloon Powered Lego Car

Rather than piling into the car for a trip on the open road this summer, why not let your tykes take to the raceway in your home by building a balloon powered lego car!

Use your imagination and create a racecourse with the furniture in your home!

8. A Kiwi Crate subscription

Get all the materials and inspiration you need for a summer of discovery delivered right to your door from KiwiCo.  We’ll deliver a crate to your child each month, filled with projects to spark their creativity, enable hands-on learning… and lots of fun!

For more DIY ideas, visit: https://www.kiwico.com/diy/

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

2015_02-Dr-Seuss-blog - for blog size

In honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday, we asked the Kiwi Crate team to share how they have been inspired by the great American author. Check out our favorite quotes below and visit our Facebook Page to share yours!

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.” 

Megan from Product Design loves this quote because it captures our product design philosophy at Kiwi Crate. We always create products with our smallest customers in mind!

“From there to here, and here to there, funny things are everywhere.”

Clara from Merchandising loves this quote because it reminds her that it’s important to take the time to find things to giggle about. Humor makes each day brighter! Kara in Customer Service treats the world as her stage. Whether she’s sending knock knock jokes to customers, asking her dog for a high five, or tap dancing on stage, she strives to find silly moments each day.

“I like nonsense; it wakes up the brain cells.”

Ryan from Product Design loves this quote because it speaks to creativity, in both children and in adults. It helps her remember that often the best way to solve a design problem is to step back and wake up your brain with some silliness. Fortunately, she has two little boys who help make sure that she’s never lacking for nonsense in her life.

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

This quote has inspired both of our interns! Pedro from Marketing was inspired as a kid to fall in love with books, which allowed him to explore both real and fictional places he would have never imagined he could visit. In turn, reading sparked his curiosity to pursue higher education, which has offered him the opportunity to experience many different countries and cultures around the world. Sarah, who is also from Marketing, is reminded to be her best and to constantly strive to learn from every opportunity and obstacle. She loves learning and trying new things and thinks that it is important to have a positive approach to all opportunities to develop herself and her work.

“Today you are you! That is truer than true! There is no one alive who is you-er than you!”

Patty from Customer Care loves this quote because it reminds her to always be happy with herself and that there is no one else like her in the world who can be as awesome as she is at providing quick and delightful service to our customers or doing the latest Zumba dance moves.

“You do not like them. So you say. Try them! Try them! And YOU MAY!” 

Lara from Marketing loves this quote because it reminds her to embrace new challenges and experiences. Just because something is unknown, and may seem scary (or gross!), you never know – it may turn out to be a really wonderful experience. She also loves it (and Green Eggs and Ham in general) because it might actually get her kids to try a new vegetable (or a new sport!)

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.”

This quote really resonates with Lisa from Product Design because it reminds her that she just needs to pick the destination or the next step in life – and she has all the tools she needs to get there. Sometimes the destination is a needed vacation or the next step in her career, and other times it’s something new she wants to learn or help her kids achieve.

“You’re never too old, too wacky, too wild, to pick up a book and read to a child.” 

Jyoti, a Software Engineer, loves this quote. She loves animated book readings with her child. This quote resonates with her story time experience. That sweet request of reading one more book at bedtimes makes her forget everything and she becomes a child again to explore the fascinating world of books together.

“You’re off to great places! Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So… get on your way!” 

Brenda from Marketing loves this quote because it reminds her to be excited and not delay on whatever mountain she is trying to conquer (her mountains range from planning the next Kiwi Crate email campaign to getting in shape to swim a relay across Lake Tahoe to getting her kids to school on time).

Do you have a favorite Dr. Seuss quote?  We would love to hear it!  Head over to our Facebook page to share with us.

Sneak Peek: Introducing January’s Theme

blog - overall

Let’s kick off the new year with a brand new crate! The theme this month is Let’s Bake.

Begin your baking adventure by pulling out your very own chef’s hat and apron included in your crate to decorate. Learn about the tools you need to bake and make your own frosted cake with icing clay and fun toppings – yum!  Plus, learn all about the chemistry of baking and the “magic” that makes cakes rise.

There is so much fun to be had this month and we can’t wait to share it with you!

Let's-Bake-1

My Chef Dress-Up

Before you starting baking like a chef, first you need to look like one! Decorate your chef’s hat and apron using fun food-shaped stickers and crayons.  Great for young chefs to wear in real or play kitchens!

 

Let's-Bake-5

My Frosted Cake

Now that you are dressed for success, it’s time to bake a cake!  In this project – which is great for inspiring imaginative play – create your own layered cake with sponge cake pieces. Decorate your cake in whatever way your creativity takes you, with super-cool “icing” clay and colorful cake toppings. Don’t forget to share the cake with your friends and family!

Let's-Bake-2

explore! Magazine

In this month’s explore! magazine, Steve meets a new friend, Dave the Elephant, who helps Steve make a mud pie! Steve and Dave discover the tools they need to bake and then share their mud pie with all their friends.

Learn to make your own salt dough and then craft it into a pie, a pretzel or a croissant! Investigate what yeast does in our science baking experiment and find out what the height of a chef’s hat means. You can also turn your crate into your very own stovetop to help you bake!

Let's-Bake-3

Kiwi Crate Library

Here are a few of our favorite baking themed books you can share with your friends and family to extend the baking fun!

Whopper Cake
by Karma Wilson
Ages 4+

Join a grandfather and his grandson in making the biggest cake (and biggest mess) for grandma’s birthday!

Cook-a-Doodle-Doo
by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel
Ages 4+

After having trouble baking a strawberry shortcake, Rooster learns from his mistakes and makes a masterpiece with his friends.

Cakes and Miracles: A Purim Tale
by Barbara Diamond Goldin
Ages 4+

Learn more about Purim, a Jewish holiday, and how baking and working together leads to closer familial ties.

 

 

Sneak Peek: Introducing December’s Theme!

Kiwi Crate Frozen Fun Crate

Snow, snowmen, scarves and skiing – it’s the time of year when the cold weather sets in and hot chocolates are a must-have. But it doesn’t mean you can’t have loads of fun!

The theme this month is Frozen Fun! Bring out your creative side by making your own ice cube paints or put on your scientist’s hat and conduct an ice melting experiment. We hope you enjoy the chance to play, explore, learn and create from the comfort of your own home with this month’s crate!

Kiwi Crate Frozen Fun Crate

My Snowman Toss

Have a ton of fun decorating a snowman with festive stickers and colored markers! Discover a range of different patterns by mixing and matching faces with different bodies. Let out all your energy by throwing a foam snowball at your snowman in our snowball toss game!

Kiwi Crate Frozen Fun Crate Source: The Hungry Runner Girl

My Winter Luminaries

Build a pair of stunning, glowing luminaries and decorate them with beautiful wintery scenes. Place a battery powered tea light (included) inside of your luminary to brighten up your room this winter!

Kiwi Crate Frozen Fun Crate

explore! Magazine

In this month’s explore! magazine, Steve makes a new friend – Tanya the Arctic Fox! Steve and Tanya work together to build a snowman and go on an adventure to find everything they need.

Discover the difference between snowboarding and snow tubing or learn how to bake cinnamon snowflakes that will fill your home with a delicious holiday smell!

Kiwi Crate Library

There are heaps of books you can share with your family to make the frozen fun last longer – here are a few of our winter themed favorites!

Kiwi Crate Frozen Fun Crate

 

Ice
by Arthur Geisert
Ages 4+
This charming tale tells the adventures of a group of pigs trying to escape the heat entirely through witty illustration.

The Story of Snow
by Mark Cassino
Ages 4+
A visual and easy-to-understand exploration of snowflakes and their creation. Sure to excite young scientists and inquisitive readers!

Snow
by Uri Shulevitz
Ages 4+
A simple story paired with lively watercolor illustrations that shares a boy and his dog’s hopes for a snowy day.

 

 

 

 

Sneak Peek: Introducing November’s Theme!

Kiwi Crate Discovering Dinosaurs Crate

November is the last month in our Time Traveler series! The theme is Discovering Dinosaurs and we hope you’ll join us for our trip waaaay back in time. Explore the world of dinosaurs and learn how paleontologists discover dinosaur bones. Try measuring different sizes of dinosaurs and learn how to make dinosaur fossils you can dig up yourself!

Kiwi Crate Discovering Dinosaurs Crate

My Dinosaur Fossils
Arrange dinosaur bones into different dinosaur skeletons. Then use clay to make your own dinosaur fossils.

Kiwi Crate Discovering Dinosaurs Crate

My Dinosaur Dress-Up
Use colorful felt to make your own dinosaur visor and feet. Practice stomping around like a dinosaur or play a game of dinosaur tag.

explore! magazine
In this month’s explore! magazine, you’ll meet Meg the Mole and help Steve the Kiwi dig for dinosaur fossils. Learn about the different types of dinosaurs create your very own dino fossils. You’ll even find a recipe for baking fossil cookies, now that’s a colossal treat!

Kiwi Crate Discovering Dinosaurs Crate

Kiwi Crate Library
Here’s a few of our favorite dinosaur books for you to read with your little ones!

Kiwi Crate Discovering Dinosaurs Crate

Dinos To Go
by Sandra Boynton
Ages 2+
Rhyming verse and playful cartoons tell the story of many kinds of silly dinosaurs, complete with tabs for easy navigating.

Bones, Bones, Dinosaur Bones
by Byron Barton
Ages 4+
A simple story that explores the process of paleontologists searching for, excavating, and preparing dinosaur fossils for a museum.

Flip-O-Saurus
by Britta Drehsen and Sara Ball
Ages 4+
With over 1,000 different combinations, this book provides an opportunity for kids to learn about and assemble different dinosaurs.

 

The Reviews Are In!

 

As you have probably heard, we recently expanded our Kiwi Crate family with the launch of Koala Crate, Doodle Crate and Tinker Crate. We wanted to get real opinions from real people about what they thought of our latest offerings, so we reached out to a few of our favorite bloggers to get their opinions on our new crates.



Tinker Crate

“What surprised me the most was the quality of the included materials.  Our trebuchet is well-built and can withstand the stress of living in a house with three boys.  It has already migrated to our playroom to sit next to the castle inhabited by dragons and knights.”

– Holly from Kids Activities Blog

Tinker-Crate-Monthly-Subscription-Box-Kids-Activities-Blog

Tinker-Crate-Instructions-for-Trebuchet

 

Kids Activities Blog Tinker Crate

Kids Activities Blog, written by Holly Homer and Rachel Miller, is all about great things to do with kids that are easy, fun, have learning elements and can be done with stuff you already have at home. Their first book, 101 Kids Activities that are the Bestest, Funnest Ever!, is now in bookstores.

Kids Activites Blog

Click here to read the full post!



Koala Crate

“This month was the biggest hit, filled to the brim with materials for a color scavenger hunt (the BEST), a watercolor banner craft and a color sheet experiment for mixing colors and learning hues. With an insert for parents that includes questions to discuss with your child, time investments and messiness factors, it’s a foolproof way to connect with your kids in an educational (crazy fun) way.”

– Erin from Design for Mankind

 

Design for Mankind Koala Crate

 

Design for Mankind Koala Crate

 

Design for Mankind Koala Crate

Design for Mankind is authored by the amazing Erin Loechner.  A former art director/stylist in Los Angeles, Erin has been blogging and speaking for more than a decade and has garnered a loyal, design-loving following with over one million fans worldwide.

Design for Mankind

Click here to read the full post!



Doodle Crate

“Most of all I loved seeing their creativity.  It was fun to just let them go at it and not have to hover and make sure things turn out perfectly….This totally took the stress factor away for me and made me just want to sit down and craft more!”

– Trina from La La Lovely 

La La Lovely reviews Doodle Crate

La La Lovely Reviews Doodle Crate


La La Lovely reviews Doodle Crate

La La Lovely is a lifestyle blog with an eye for design in all areas of life, regularly featuring décor, design, style, travel, family, children, food + all things lovely. Trina McNeilly’s DIY crafts and projects are always styled to perfection.

La La Lovely

Click here to read the entire post!