The world needs more innovation and problem-solving than ever before—that’s why KiwiCo decided to start small, teaching kids innovation and problem solving right now to change the world to come. After all, today’s tinkerer may be tomorrow’s breakthrough scientist. With unique STEAM activities (science, technology, engineering, art, and math), passionately crafted by a team of experts and delivered to your doorstep—serious exploration (and even more serious fun!) is just a crate away. From recreating arcade games to exploring the ruins of ancient civilizations, KiwiCo allows kids to explore worlds near and far—from home!
KiwiCo’s crates take over 1000+ hours in the design and testing phase, but the secret ingredient to ensuring every crate leads to a “Woah, Awesome!” moment? —making sure every activity is tested by kids, and most importantly, approved by kids. Use code SMITH at checkout to get 50% off your first month of any subscription today at kiwico.com.
KiwiCo’s Kid Testing Process
After product designers brainstorm hundreds of ideas, the best go on to prototyping before testing, testing, and even more testing. But before the product is finalized, the most important testers take the prototypes for a spin—the kids!
“In the early days, we held our “kid testing” sessions in my garage and driveway with neighborhood kids. Those sessions helped us hone our offering and define our philosophy,” says Sandra Lin, KiwiCo’s founder and chief executive officer. “That kid testing was so critical to our early success, we institutionalized it: every single project we offer goes through multiple rounds of testing—first with our product development team, and then several more times with kids. As we test, we answer questions like, ‘Will it work?’, ‘Is it too messy?’, ‘Can the kids manipulate the materials?’ and ‘Does it allow for ongoing play and exploration?’”
Today, KiwiCo has shipped over 30 million crates to kids in over 40 countries, and while the testing no longer takes place in Sandra’s garage, it remains a crucial step in the design process. KiwiCo’s kid-testing sessions are fun, engaging, and educational, offering kids an opportunity to play in an open-ended way that encourages them to be creative, solve problems, explore, and discover. And, as any parent knows all too well, kids are brutally honest—their unfiltered feedback helps product designers make important decisions, like which materials to use. During the development of Froggie Lab Dissection, kid testers declared that Froggie, a plushy toy designed to teach kids about anatomy, needed to be more huggable, ultimately leading to a softer final material and buttons instead of Velcro for softer closure. Kids also provide useful information for the KiwiCo editorial and graphic design teams to create exciting and enriching content to pair with the products!
Many of the kids involved in KiwiCo's process are inventors in their own right, working on projects ranging from self-disinfecting hazmat suits to innovative prosthetic arms. These are kids who know creativity is a crucial part of scientific innovation, and they’re also kids who know you don’t need to be a grown-up to start making a difference—and to start discovering your dreams along the way!
By the time a KiwiCo crate ships, it’s gotten the kid stamp of approval. Ready to learn about two kid-tested and kid-approved crates from KiwiCo? Read on!
Designed for children ages 5-8, the Kiwi Crate includes activities covering science, arts and crafts, imaginative play, and more! The activities translate topics like science experiments, muscles and organs, mechanics and building, art techniques, and motion and force—into easy-to-grasp, enriching activities that are downright fun. All the while, kids are learning to discover, explore, and create things utilizing both STEAM and the world around them.
Discover what a program is and why computers need them with the Robots and Coding crate. Kids can build and decorate their own friendly robot buddy while actively learning about robotics and computer programs through puzzles, games, and more! Start a Kiwi Crate subscription with the Robots and Coding crate today!
There’s the Arcade Claw crate, where kids learn the mechanics of a classic arcade game at home. From making the pom-poms attached to each prize to learning about the history of games—including ones that are more than 500 years old!—kids do each part of the process themselves, working on technical skills (building the claws and making the prizes) to sharing and taking turns.
There’s also Fun With Flight crate, which allows kids to make rockets from their own homes using a common household object. “Straws make the best, indoor-friendly, rockets ever,” says our KiwiCo product design team. “They’re great for kids, but just as importantly, prevent parents from having to dodge flying objects at home!”
A favorite among the team is The Science of Trees, where kids use liquid color to create vibrant flowers and see how capillaries work firsthand. The project allows kids to explore the natural world and the art it inspires, and it came directly from work with kid inventors. “When the designer's son demanded a crate about trees, his mom delivered and turned a classic capillary action experiment into a cute STEAM activity. She was delighted to see her kids want to complete the experiment over and over and loved having the end results around to decorate their home,” says the KiwiCo product design team.
Made for kids ages 6-11, the Atlas Crates are designed to help kids develop an appreciation for other world cultures. Through immersive, hands-on STEAM activities, kids can connect creatively and intellectually with communities and customs. Start with a high-level exploration of the world, introducing basic navigational skills by pondering a world map and building a DIY globe. The subsequent crates each dive into a new country to offer discoveries in culture, geography, history, and traditions. Explore each new location through enriching projects, DIY activities, plus recipes and more in the Atlas Cards.
How about a trip down under via the Explore Australia crate? Kids will get to discover the wonders of the Great Barrier Reef, weave their own fiber dog sculpture inspired by the Tjanpi Desert Weavers, and build a hopping wooden kangaroo!
Most Atlas Crate subscriptions begin with the World Crate, in which kids will meet Anya and Milo, world travel buddies who will join them on their explorations of different countries in subsequent crates. They’ll master the basics of maps and navigational skills, a real-world skill they can start practicing on day one. Kids will build a real globe, learning about the history of world exploration and navigation. By collecting Atlas Cards, kids will start to assemble their own travel books, inspiring them to think about real life adventures and what they’ll want to see as they explore the world around them.
Each subsequent Atlas Crate explores a new country, allowing kids to dive deep into different cultures from around the world. On a trip to Japan (via the Japan Crate), kids will celebrate Children’s Day by making their own koinobori carp windsock and using a mini mallet to whack at a traditional game, daruma otoshi. The fun continues into snack time with a recipe for onigiri, delicious Japanese rice balls enjoyed by kids across the world.
On a rainy afternoon, why not travel to Peru? In the Peru Crate, you’ll find projects that include making your very own fluffy alpaca. Weaving a mini blanket and matching chullo hat is a great way to learn about different cultural art practices, and an ancient tossing game called sapo will test your aim. Discover mysteries of the Nasza Desert by creating Nazca Line art, and catalogue the whole day in an Adventure Book, which allows kids to create and keep a travel diary they can return to document their discoveries.
From the initial concept to the final details, kids weigh in with their stamp of approval, ensuring that each crate is both educational and fun. With crates that help kids hone scientific instincts, broaden curiosity about the natural world, and develop technical skills like problem solving, KiwiCo’s crates are a great way to turn your home into the site of amazing discoveries kids will remember for years to come. Not ready for a subscription? No problem! Shop individual projects and kits based on age (5-8 years, 9-11 years) and categories like chemistry, pretend play, art, and more.
Don't forget to use code SMITH at checkout to get 50% off your first month of any subscription today at kiwico.com!