Stuff We Like: Gifts that Keep on Giving
Need a creative gift idea? Instead of searching the shelves (physically or digitally) for the hottest new toy — which, if you’re lucky, your child might appreciate for about a week after his birthday — consider gifting him a subscription to one of these cool services. Whether your little one is a bookworm, a budding scientist, or an artsy, imaginative type, these subscriptions keep the fun coming each month. Each offers different packages, from a 1-month subscription (great for a try-out period, especially if you’re gifting it to a child outside your household) to a full year. Check them out:
Otherwise known as the Superfly Organization of Active Recruits, SOAR was created with the mission to get kids off the couch and active in the “real” world. Through SOAR, kids become superheroes by learning to expand their imaginations and help others. Each monthly package contains information about a global issue — delivered through a comic book, puzzles, and games — along with a related “top secret” mission that your child must complete to make the world a better place. The first mission package includes a superhero cape and official superhero certificate, and subsequent packages include trading cards, stickers, and other fun stuff that relates to the mission. Recommended for kids ages 3-10. Subscriptions available for 1 month, 3 months, 6 months, or 12 months ($24.99-$149.99).
With the rising focus on STEM education in our country, which is causing a surge of new programs for budding chemists, engineers, and the like, science has never been cooler in the eyes of kids. Nurture your child’s interest in the field by signing her up for The Young Scientists Club, which will mail her an award-winning science kit each month. Each of the 36 kits is themed, and topics range from recycling to planets to the digestive system. Celsius the Science Bug leads kids through each kit, helping them learn about biology, ecology, anatomy, and much more. Easy-to-follow instructions for parents are also included. Recommended for ages 5-12. Choose a once-a-month or twice-a-month subscription ($11.99 per kit), which you can cancel at any time.
The Young Scientists Club also offers The Magic School Bus Science Club (based on the popular books and TV show), which features 12 kits ($19.99 each) that include science-themed fun led by Ms. Frizzle and her students.
For Budding Bookworms
Founded by two moms who wanted high-quality books for their own families, GiftLit is an organization that promotes a love of reading. A team of literary experts, including writers, editors, children’s librarians, and doctors of literature, selects the best new and beloved books for different age levels (baby to adult). For children, GiftLit offers a 3-, 6-, or 12-month gift of books ($25-$230), grouped by age and theme. Age groups are broken down into three- to four-year categories, so books are targeted to your child’s reading level. The recipient receives one book per month, and any book can be substituted or returned. The company gives back, too: 10 percent of profits go to organizations that promote literacy.
A subscription to BabbaBox means your child will receive a monthly box full of fun activities meant to stimulate his curiosity and promote learning. The company was founded by Jessica Kim, a mom of three who wanted to create meaningful learning opportunities for her kids despite her busy schedule. Her mission, she says, is “to empower parents to discover more meaning in everyday moments and create a fun and enriching childhood for their kids.” Each BabbaBox is themed (past themes include Gratitude, Detectives, and Polar Explorers) and includes materials for several hands-on projects, a product that helps your child engage with nature and/or the world around him, a book to help stimulate his imagination, and prepaid downloads to extend learning and exploration. Recommended for kids ages 3-6. Membership is available in 1-, 3-, and 12-month packages ($39.99-$239.99).
Kiwi Crate is another company that drops DIY projects at your doorstep each month — a great gift option for kids ages 3-7 (more on that here). But if you’re looking to throw a memorable birthday party for your little one, the company offers mini crates that work perfectly as party favors. Your party guests can construct a flying comet, design their own superhero capes, create a set of wings to wear (pictured), and more (choose from six mini crate projects). The mini crates are available in quantities of six or more ($5-$12 per crate) and are available in several colors so you can coordinate with your child’s party decorations. Choose one theme or mix and match to give your guests lots of creative options.