When it comes to your infant’s development, there’s no shortage of websites or apps offering a wide range of exercises and cognitive therapies you can participate in with your child to foster healthy growth. Although apps are easy, one of the best ways to truly see positive growth, plus healthy cognitive and physical development is with toys. After all, playtime is one of the most important times in a growing infant and toddler’s life, so why not blend the act of playing with the act of learning? That’s what Parentology writer Claire Volkman did when she test drove six toy kits with her one-year-old daughter, and a few for “big kids” herself.
Luckily for parents, in today’s day and age, there’s a subscription box for just about everything — including educational toys. We were very interested in the the idea of getting a kit that’s directly tailored to our daughter’s age and interests, as well as one that aligned with her physical and mental milestones. Whether you’re a parent looking for a way to boost imagination and growth, or are searching for a great gift for a new parent, these educational kits — at varying price points — are a win-win for both the parents and child.
Known for their focus on early childhood development, Lovevery tailors every box you get to your child’s age. Each box comes complete with age-appropriate toys, books, sensory objects and a follow-along play guide geared to help foster cognitive and physical development for your growing child. The kits start as early as 0-3 months (infants) and go up to 36 months (toddlers). Each kit (which covers a two-month span) costs $80 and can be bought one-off or as a monthly subscription.
Following the Montessori teaching philosophy, Monti Kids deliver thoughtfully produced wooden toys that can be enjoyed for kids from newborn to three years old. The toys in the kit are simple — no lights or sounds — and were created to maximize play and boost imagination. The toys are scientifically tailored to build concentration and focus, develop fine and gross motor skills, strengthen muscles and encourage sensory play. Kits start at $297 and come in levels based on age.
Amazon STEM Club
Help inspire your child’s interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), with this specially-curated box by the geniuses at Amazon. The kits, which help foster interest in robotics, computers and natural sciences, ship every month, two months or three months and come with age-appropriate toys, puzzles and books. One that piqued our interest — a customizable domino race tracks to snap circuits with real electronics. Kits start at $19.99.
Designed for newborns to teens, KiwiCo offers 7 different lines of crates for kids of all ages, stages, and interests. The Kiwi Crate (ages 5-8) focuses its boxes on STEAM education (science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics). Sent monthly and determined by age (you enter your child’s birthdate upon signing up), each box is filled with DIY projects to help foster a love of learning and critical thinking. At KiwiCo, you can also choose a crate by interest — ranging in art and design, geography and culture, engineering and design and more. You can change your crate selection at any time to match your child’s interests. Kits ship monthly for $16.95 a month for a 12-month subscription.
Sensory TheraPlay Box
Created and curated by a pediatric occupational therapist, Sensory TheraPlay is the first box designed for high-energy and anxiety-prone children, as well as children on the autism spectrum. Offering 5 or 6 textured toys, activities, crafts and sensory-inspired books, each box aims to improve fine-motor development, as well as calm children. From wipe-clean doodle books to squeezable balls, the toys aim to foster healthy and creative communication between siblings, peers, parents and teachers. Each box is $39.95 and delivered monthly.
CrateJOY We Craft Box
Perfect for budding artists and designers, We Craft Box offers a box of supplies for crafters every month, including 2 – 3 easy to follow crafts for every occasion. Each box comes with easy-to-follow instructions, photos of the finished products and every material you’ll need for each craft. Meant for kids ages 3-9 years old, this is the ultimate way to share special memories with your children using their imagination — no screens required.