Updated: Nov 10, 2021
My child is not spoilt. She doesn’t have all the latest designer gear and I spend plenty of time saying ‘no’. However, I buy her clothing (mostly second hand) throughout the year, as well as magazines and books. Plus, I spend money during the holidays on activity days and visits.
So, when it comes to birthdays and Christmas it’s difficult to think of things she really needs. Since she’s not into toys all that’s left is new clothes, which she’d love but we’re trying to be a sustainable family too. The conflict is exhausting. Parents and grandparents who have ever had the traumatic experience of walking through a gift shop with a young child will know kids (even the really nice ones) love to get stuff. They don’t even care what it is! Personally, I think they’re a little young to be materialistic. Rather, I think it’s the impact that getting something new has. It can be inspirational, it makes you feel good and it’s exciting, isn’t it. What you don’t want is for them to lose interest in the gift a week later. It’s not good for the wallet or the environment!
Subscription boxes for kids offer an educational, fairly eco-friendly alternative to presents. Offering fun and inspiration, they give children a thrill when their box drops through the letterbox each month. Plus, although some can be done independently, many encourage family time together.
Yes, it’s not the same as a ‘big present’ but it’s potentially a longer lasting gift that isn’t going to go to waste. So, I decided that subscription boxes are the way to go and spent hours researching all the different kinds. So, here I am sharing with you what I thought were the top subscription boxes for kids in 2021 and for 2022.
Art Subscription Boxes For Kids
Make and Wonder
Age: 3-10 years Price: £15.90 per month
This creative subscription box is inspired by female artists. Each box contains a bio and examples of work by a female artist. There is then at least one activity for children to create an artwork inspired by the style of the artist. There are also three different sizes of box so that siblings may all enjoy the activities. I LOVE how different all the projects are and how child-led they are. Also that the boxes are designed around works by women, based on the fact that most people struggle to name five female artists. WHAT’S GREAT is each activity is more a guide than a set of instructions, so children have the freedom to be creative.
LOLA - Lots of Lovely Art
https://www.lotsoflovelyart.org Age: 3+ and 6+ boxes available Price: £27 per month
LOLA is not the cheapest subscription box. At £27 per month this one is pricey, but it is good value for money, if you can afford it. Each box contains art materials as well as the projects. What’s special about this one, aside from the very high quality of the art projects themselves, is the focus on inspiring appreciation of art. With information and recommendations included, there’s plenty of opportunity for children to develop and indulge their interest in art. I LOVE that this is a family business founded by creative women who want to share their passion for art with the younger generation.
WHAT”S GREAT is that you can just order a box and not subscribe every month. This means the boxes can make great gifts too.
News and Magazines
Age: 8-14 year olds Price: Circa £2.15 per issue (depending on length of subscription)
A monthly news magazine designed for children aged 8-14 year olds. The Week is a well-loved current affairs magazine that introduces kids to the big issues in the world, in a gentle, straightforward and non-condescending way. Don’t worry, it’s honest but it’s optimistic. In fact, I’m wondering if us adults should get our news this way too. I LOVE that it’s a ‘grown-up’ activity designed for children. It sends a clear message that information about the world should be accessible for children. After all, it is them who will become the future leaders.
WHAT’S GREAT is how reasonably priced it is.
Age: 8-14 year olds Price: Circa £5 per issue (depending on length of subscription)
Aquila is a science, history and general knowledge magazine for children 8+. Each month brings a new theme and although the magazine is educational, it’s fun too. The design is lovely, filled with beautiful illustrations and no two issues are alike.
I LOVE that it will get kids reading non-fiction without the pressure of having a whole book. There’s also the option to buy the binder too, which is great because magazines get messy.
WHAT’S GREAT is that back issues are just £3 when you buy a subscription. So if there’s an old issue with a theme your child would love then you can order that too.
STEM Subscription Boxes For Kids
Age: 6-12 years
Price: £11.25 per box
A box of science experiments coming through your letterbox every month is sure to inspire budding young scientists. Even the more basic box comes with all you need to carry out 3-4 every month, as well as booklets and comic-book-style instructions.
I LOVE that it’s not just good for those who want to grow up to be scientists. Sparking curiosity is really important in the young because that’s a trait that will keep children interested in learning their whole lives.
WHAT’S GREAT is how cool the experiments are. There’s slime, rainbows, glow in the dark effects - all the things kids tend to love. I’m just hoping it’s not too messy!
Age: 5 years-teens
Mel Science kits will bring the whole family together. Perhaps because children may need a little assistance but mostly because the projects are so cool. I see this being one where the kids will have to stop the adults from taking over. It’s not cheap but it is good value. Mel Science also has various methods that support science learning for homeschooled children.
I LOVE the build your own headphones kit that aims to explain how sound works by guiding you through making your very own set.
WHAT’S GREAT is getting to make robot hands and experiment with light, sound and motion through making sets that demonstrate how they work. It’s just really smart.
Learn About The World Subscription Boxes For Kids
Age: 4-10 years
Price: £12 per box (£25 for the starter kit)
Geo Journey kits aim to teach children about the world they live in and take them off on a monthly adventure across the globe. Each box contains facts, stickers, photos, an activity booklet and a souvenir based on the month’s destination.
I LOVE the mini suitcase that you get when you begin the subscription, which kids put all the contents of their monthly kits into. A map, travel journey and passport really gets them ready to commence the adventure.
WHAT’S GREAT is the premise. Teaching children all about different cultures and other parts of the world opens their eyes to fascinating facts and all the possibilities that lie ahead of them.
One Third Stories
Age: 4-9 year-olds
Price: £19.99 per box/storybook
One Third Stories are a unique way of learning languages. Each month you receive a book that begins in English then starts to replace some words with foreign language words. You’ll also get an audiobook version so your child can hear the words spoken and then there’s a series of activities to work through that will really help process the new words and phrases they have learnt. Think it sounds much more fun than conventional ways of learning languages? Me too! Plus, you rarely read a children’s book just once, so children are going to hear/read those foreign language words and phrases over and over.
I LOVE the concept because it’s so much easier to remember stories than facts. So learning language within a story format is a genius idea.
WHAT’S GREAT is you can choose between French, Spanish, Italian and German and it’s an opportunity for you to learn with your child too.
Mysteries in Time
Age: 7-11 year-olds
This is a great value subscription box that sends children on a journey through time. With each box focusing on a particular time in history, in a particular place in the world, children will learn about both history and geography, as well as culture.
I LOVE that it’s only £6.95 per month. This means it’s not got the greatest kits included but t=it does have plenty of activities and a great design. Plus it’s far more educational and inspiring than supermarket magazines with plastic toys which retail at similar prices.
WHAT’S GREAT is there’s not enough time at school to teach children all the history of the world so it’s a real treat to have another fun digestible way of learning about the different eras and empires and their influence on the world.
Nature Subscription Boxes For Kids
Mud and Bloom
Age: 3-8 years
Price: £13.95 per box
Mud & Bloom is a sustainably created subscription box that aims to educate children about the natural world. Getting out and about is essential with this kit. Each box contains gardening and nature based activities and instructions as well as fact cards and nature news.
I LOVE that many of these activities involve time spent together. For example, foraging and planting.
WHAT’S GREAT is that it’s so much better for the planet than many other alternatives for children’s gifts. Plus a child who learns the value of nature will likely become an adult who seeks to preserve it.
Willow and Wild
Age: 3-9 year olds
A beautiful activity based subscription box for children 3-9 years old, this nature box is all about fun and learning together. There’s cooking, gardening and out-and-about activities to keep little ones (and their adults) busy each month. Plus, the contents are beautifully designed.
I LOVE the variety in the activities. Inspired by nature, it includes crafts, planting and recipes.
WHAT’S GREAT is that it shows children how to grow and cook their own food. It’s also plastic-free (where possible) and organic.
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