Snail mail may be an industry in decline (seriously, nobody ever puts pen to paper anymore), but getting a package will always be in style — which is why subscription boxes are the perfect way to keep the good old fashioned simple pleasure of getting something in the mail alive.
For children, there can still be a magical feeling of excitement when something pops into the mailbox — especially when that something is a super fun subscription box that shows up every month without fail.
From craft boxes to boxes for little globe-trotters and even ideas for the Lego-obsessed, we have rounded up the best subscription boxes for kids.
KidPik: For the fashionista
Got a girl who loves fashion but hates shopping with mom? Then KidPik is right up your alley. Aimed at girls 4 through 14, the subscription service allows little girls to set up a fashion profile (with help from parents) on their site. Then the KidPik team curates a box of goodies for her and sends it out. Each box typically has about six to seven items (tops, bottoms and accessories) at an average price of $12.50 an item. You don't pay until you get the box and decide what you want to keep, so you can always send it all back if she's not a fan. The company also offers a 30 percent discount if you decide to keep all the outfits in the box, and a "basics" line that you can buy from separately to complete her wardrobe. Currently KidPiks can be sent monthly, every three months or twice per season (eight boxes a year).
Kiwi Crate: For the crafty kid
Geared for crafty kids ages 3 through 8, the Kiwi Crate arrives each month full of fun hands-on projects that include science experiments, art projects and build-and-play games. Each crate includes two to three projects based on a different theme each month, such as Space Hero, City Adventure and Around the World. I was sent the Rainforest theme, which included cool crafts like a jumping frog game and a craft in which kids create their own rain stick. These little boxes include everything you need for the craft (even the scissors) as well as a Highlights-esque magazine and other activities to further explore the theme. Kiwi Crate subscriptions start at $17/month and shipping is free. (If you aren’t quite sure if you want to commit, you can purchase individual activity packs on the Kiwi Crate website or at Target stores.)
Next Up: For the foodie
Originally published Dec. 2015. Updated August 2017.
Kidstir: For the foodie kid
Got a budding chef or foodie on your hands? Kidstir is geared for kids ages 5 through 10 and features monthly subscription boxes filled with hands-on food adventures for kids. Kidstir would also be a great way to introduce your picky eater to healthy and nutritious foods. The first subscription box includes a personalized cookbook binder and future boxes are geared to a chapter of the cookbook, such as snacks or breakfast. Your child will love creating their own cookbook and whipping up dishes (with your help), as each box features step-by-step recipes, as well as three kid-sized tools, among other fun items. Kidstir subscriptions start at $12.95/month with free shipping.
GiftLit: For the book lover
Whether your child is just starting to read or is already a bookworm, GiftLit is a great subscription box to help build up their home library. Geared for ages 2 through 12, literary experts choose the perfect books for your child’s age and reading skill. You pick the theme, including favorite fiction for boys or girls, fantasy, page turners, new releases, around the world, classics or historical fiction, and the literary experts can pick out the perfect book — or you can make your own substitutions. You can see which book will be sent each month. You can purchase a GiftLit subscription for three months ($58), six months ($115) or a 12 month ($230) gift subscription. As a bonus, 10 percent of their profits are donated to literacy programs for schools and libraries.
Next Up: For the toy lover
Pley: For the toy lover (who is short on space)
Dubbed the “Netflix of toys,” Pley, formerly SparkBox, allows you to rent toys (and LEGOs) for kids up to 4 years of age. The concept is pretty genius — after all most kids will play with toys for a period of time, get tired of them and they end up gathering dust and cluttering the house. With Pley, your child will receive fully-cleaned and sanitized toys that are matched to your child’s age. If your child happens to fall in love with a specific toy, you can even purchase it for a discounted price. Pley subscription plans start at one toy a month ($12.99), up to three toys a month, including premium toys ($29.99).
Little Passports: For the traveler
Geared towards children ages 5 through 12, Little Passports is a fun way for your kids to learn about the world. Your child will learn about the world we live in with Sam and Sofia, who teach geography, history, culture and language. Your can pick the World Edition, in which your kids will join Sam and Sofia as they travel to a new country each month, or the USA Edition, in which they visit two new states every month. The Little Passports subscription plans start at just $12.99 a month.
Next Up: For the gamer
Loot Crate: For the gamer
With Loot Crate, your kid will get a box full of “fun and expected geek and gamer gear every month.” Each month, your child receives a box of 6 to 8 cool items, including gear, snacks, toys and art. The boxes are kept a secret until they are delivered — however the theme is revealed (for example this month is Adventure). Loot Crate doesn’t give a specific age, only saying they have a wide range of demographics, are family friendly and gender neutral. Take a look at past boxes to see if it is appropriate for your child. Loot Crate subscriptions are $14/month (plus $6 shipping) for one month or $12/month for a three- or six-month plan.
Green Kid Crafts: For the science lover
Green Kid Crafts subscription boxes are the perfect choice for today’s modern kids — they are educational, fun and eco-friendly. Geared towards kids ages 3 through 10, each eco-friendly box is filled with three to four creative and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) activities to help them learn and succeed in school. Your kids will love the themes, which include Outer Space, Nocturnal Animals, Mad Scientist and Backyard Science. Green Kid Crafts subscriptions are $19.95/month for a three-month subscription, $18.95/month for a six-month subscription or $17.95/month for a 12-month subscription.