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My 7 year old son (soon to be 8!) is absolutely crazy about anything STEM related. With help from Pinterest and other blogs, I was able to keep up with his insatiable curiosity for a long time but now he’s expressed interest in circuitry and coding and those just aren’t my area of expertise. Thank goodness there are now amazing STEM-focused subscription boxes that can fill in the gaps and continue feeding my child’s natural interests!
A month ago, I reached out to six STEM subscription services to have them send trial boxes for my son and I to experience. If you’ve read this blog long enough, you know that there’s no way I’d give you all an opinion on these STEM subscription boxes without having seen them first! Here are the boxes I reviewed:
I’m happy to report that while the contents and focus of each is drastically different, all six boxes were thoughtfully assembled, extremely well made, and totally able to hold my child’s attention. Since I was happy with the quality of the boxes, the only thing left to talk to you all about are the specifics like categories, price points, and targeted age brackets. I hope having all of this information in one place helps you make the right STEM subscription box choice for you and your child!
STEM Subscription Boxes
Below you’ll find the name, suggested ages, and price of each box. Age requirements can fluctuate depending on child maturity and adult interaction. Prices will vary depending on length of subscription.
Box 1. Bitsbox (Suggested Ages: 6 – 12 years, $40/month)
Description: Bitsbox is a monthly subscription box that shares easy coding projects that teach kids to program apps. Because the kids learn by copying small bits of code into an online editor, it’s essential that they have access to an internet ready computer with a physical keyboard. Once written, the apps can be shared and viewed on any mobile device.
Mom Point-Of-View: I was initially worried that this was going to be above my child’s head since we don’t allow much screen time but as soon as I explained how to use the “shift” key, he was ready to go! I was really impressed with the quality of the book design and the fun little trading cards but if you feel like your child doesn’t need physical copies, there’s also a $20/mo. PDF-only option as well.
Box 2. Creation Crate (12+, $29.99/mo)
Description: Creation Crate is focused on teaching children and adults alike how to build electronics without any prior experience. Each box contains a combination of hardware and programming software so that a project can be completed entirely straight out of the box. Since each month builds on the skills learned previously, your child will gradually become more and more proficient in the basics of electronics.
Mom P.O.V: My seven year old was practically foaming at the mouth when he saw the wires and circuit board in this box! He’s still a bit too young to complete the Mood Lamp entirely on his own but it’s a great project to work on with either his father or me. To tell you the truth, I’m kinda excited to begin learning about electronics too! (UPDATE 4/15/18: My son is now 9 and STILL loves this box! Entering the code one key at a time is still slow-going for him but I love that he’s working on keyboard skills. Also, it makes the payoff when the project works that much sweeter!)
Box 3. Groovy Lab In A Box (8+, $29.99/mo)
Description: Groovy Lab In A Box is your classic science subscription box with enough supplies to complete approximately 5 projects for the month. The 20+ page lab notebook was easy enough for my 7 yr old son to read through by himself and taught him the beginning basics of the engineering design process. Our box sample contain projects that were themed around water and ice.
Mom P.O.V: I absolutely loved that every single supply needed to complete these projects was delivered in this box. That meant my son could open the box and start working immediately without any frantic runs to the drugstore. The five different experiments plus the design challenge at the end continued to engage my son throughout the entire month. (UPDATE 4/15/18: We’ll be signing up for this box during summer break. Perfect for those “I’m bored!” moments!)
Box 4. Stem Box (7-13 yrs., $36.00/mo)
Description: Stem Box is technically focused on getting young girls interested in the STEM field but they even say on their website that boys can totally enjoy these boxes too! Each box contains one project with enough supplies to complete multiple trials.
Mom P.O.V: The project we got (Chromatography) was a bit more complicated than the other science experiments but it was a completely new field of study for my son, which he was totally excited about. With the exception of rubbing alcohol, the box contained all the supplies needed for multiple trials of the experiment. I especially love the included links to videos from experts in the STEM field that happen to be awesome women!
Box 5. Tinker Crate (9-16+, $19.96/mo)
Description: Tinker Crate provides hands on STEM projects straight to your door. Each box contains supplies to make a single project with additional materials to allow your child to “tinker” with the completed project. Since they are part of the Kiwi Crate umbrella, you also have the option of switching your subscription to one of the other box options.
Mom P.O.V: They recommend ages 9-16 but my 7 year old was totally able to complete the project without any assistance. This, of course, may vary with each box but it’s a good baseline to go off of. I’m totally digging the solid wood supplies and love the basic problem solving skills this box provided.