We’ve tried quite a few subscriptions for the kids over the years, and yet I read about even more on an almost weekly basis. It seems one is only limited by time and budget when it comes to learning fascinating things by mail. Here are our favourites:
- Cricket magazines. Each of my kids receives a different magazine, and we recently jumped up a level for each of the kids. Zahra gets Muse, Noah gets Ask and Leila gets Ladybug. Upon receiving these in the mail, the kids almost always retreat to a quiet corner of the house to devour them or beg me to read them cover to cover. The content is high quality and there are no advertisements.
- Little Passports and Early Explorers. These come from the same company, the first being geared to ages 6 and up, and the second to ages 3 to 5. I rely on these alone for any study of geography that happens in this house. What I love about Little Passports especially is its power to get all my kids around the kitchen table and working cooperatively to accomplish a series of small goals: reading a letter, locating a country on the world map, cooking up a recipe or solving a puzzle.
- Kiwi Crate. Hello, art curriculum. From the beginning, I’ve been impressed with these arts and crafts boxes. All the supplies you need for two or three projects are provided, and then there is a wonderful booklet with stories, puzzles and instructions for additional crafts and even science experiments. The Science of Color was one of our favourite boxes. We also enjoyed a box about backyard insects, and another about water. Ok, let’s just say they’re all good. Kiwi Crate is geared for children 4 to 8, and all three of my children enjoy it.
- Montessori By Mom. I took a leap of faith last year and purchased a 12-month subscription to this more pricey box. It surpassed all my expectations. While I’m no longer an active subscriber, the contents of the 12 boxes I received are still being used on an almost daily basis—and not only by my 4-year-old (it’s geared to ages 3 to 5) but also by my 6-year-old, and even occasionally by my 8-year-old! The potential learning activities in each box are vast, and Montessori By Mom provides you not only with all the materials you need but also instructional videos and additional downloadable resources on their website. All of the materials are attractive, high quality items that will withstand years of use by many kids. I love it so much I’ve gifted individual items from the Montessori By Mom store on occasion.
- Herb Fairies. Herb Fairies is a book club and so much more. There are 13 books in the series, which follows a group of four children as they explore a hidden world of fairies and other forest friends and learn about the healing power of plants. You can choose to listen to the audio versions or have the books printed on demand. (We chose the latter since my kids like to go back to them time and time again and, even when we are listening to the audio, they like to follow along in their books.) With this online subscription, you also have access to herbal recipes, fact sheets, colouring pages, journal pages and an online community of likeminded kids and parents.
Today, Zahra worked through yet another subscription package, Highlights Magazine’s Top Secret Adventures. I had received a free offer for this in the mail and decided we had nothing to lose. They sent us their Greece package and, by mistake, their China package before we cancelled. I didn’t have enough time to look it over and I was under the impression that it would be a parallel product to Little Passports. All I can say is, wow. Think Carmen Sandiego meets Little Passports and the two conspire to write an issue of Highlights magazine. Our first package came with a world map, a beautiful and informative Greece travel guide, stickers, a puzzle book and suspect cards. Zahra worked for three days to figure out what was stolen, who stole it, and where it was hidden. She had to use reference materials to find answers, and many of the puzzles were quite challenging. There’s no way the younger two kids could have participated in this, but it was an excellent exercise for Zahra, and we’re both looking forward to the China package.
We have also received a box or two of other subscription services in the past, such as Green Kids Crafts (not impressed), Doodle Crate (even better than Kiwi Crate for the 9+ crowd), and Tinker Crate (also fabulous for the older kiddos and top on my list should we be able to swing another subscription). I recently saw The World’s Most Fascinating Rock Collection, which also piqued my interest.
I should also mention that most of our subscriptions are gifts, and for that, we are very thankful. The fun in each of these is threefold: getting mail, exploring the box together, and feeling the love of the person who sent it.
What subscription services have you tried, and which ones would you recommend?