It’s happening! The days are cooler, the nights are downright cold (in the 30s around here!), and the leaves are definitely turning. It’s my favorite time of the year and we are soaking in every minute of the beautiful mountain fall that we possibly can. This is the season where we do most of our hiking, can manage to fit in a couple more camping trips, and are rewarded by some excellent wildlife, especially in the Yellowstone area.
Despite all the wonder that is FALL, I must admit I am getting a bit nervous about winter for the very first time. The reason? My kids are SUPER active, love the outdoors, and as much as we will be outside still, it is going to be a lot tougher than summertime (maybe because of the sheer amount of time it is going to take to get two wiggly kids in full winter gear!)
While this blog is focused primarily on the outdoor life, its also about a balanced life, and that does include indoor time too. Lately I have been on the search for great ideas to keep Mr. Busy #1 and Mr. Busy #2 busy inside.
I was thrilled to come across Green Kid Crafts. While I am pretty crafty myself, I find that more and more I welcome ideas others have for getting myself prepared to help me enrich my kids and our family time together.
Green Kid Crafts was founded in 2010 by a working mom (Penny) who saw the need for tools to help make the most out of the limited (or chaotic) time many parents have with their kids. It continues to be completely mom-run, green and committed to helping families play together while still learning about the great outdoors (using natural and sustainable materials.)
The kits are geared towards kids aged 3-8 (though this is obviously dependent on the particular kid.) They are incredibly well thought-out focusing on the following Healthy and Happy Kid points **This is what makes me love these boxes so much – they are WAY more than just some craft supplies in a box!**:
- Create something I’m proud of. Projects allow kids to be creative, build confidence and enjoy a sense of accomplishment as they produce crafts they love, that are unique and special to them.
- Move my body. Activities develop fine and/or gross motor skills and encourage active play.
- Use my thinking brain. Completing the projects flexes kids’ sequencing, reasoning, and/or problem solving skills.
- Discover the world around me. Each Discovery Box gives kids a wider view of their world, from either a nature-based, scientific or cultural perspective.
- Care for myself, others, and the planet. Kit themes and project activities also teach children to be considerate and respectful towards people and nature.
We received the “Bugs” kit in the mail (which was actually the kit for August). J couldn’t wait to get his hands on it. The kit included 3 different projects (they guarantee at least 3 with each kit.) We (meaning I) wanted to really make the most of the box, so we only did one of the projects a day. They all took less than 15 minutes, which is the perfect time frame for the attention-span of a 3 year old. They can, however, take a little longer than that depending on the attention to detail of the kid (we’re not really worried about details around here right now…) **Click on any of the photos to see them larger!**
1. Bug Wings (the favorite of the 3)
I think this was the favorite because 1. It made the biggest mess and 2. It ended with a new costume and running around the yard!
KoolAid is used to dye a HUGE coffee filter (so glad we had a plastic tablecloth). We then formed it into wings (with elastic string and pipe cleaner included). Great fun and REALLY blue/green hands for the rest of the day. 🙂
2. Dragon Fly Magnets
The project included coloring the sticks with crayons (J did ok with this, but did need a little help…and then gluing the “wings” onto the body (a clothespin) of the dragon fly. They also came with a magnet so they could be hung on the fridge. He is proud of them and still shows them off…
**The only problem I had with this entire box was this project. The picture shown on the directions suggested different directions that the actual directions told (the picture showed the wings being glued on the clothes pins, the directions told you to slip the wings into the clothespin.) We followed the written directions and tried to put them into the clothespin. One of them worked, the other one didn’t because there wasn’t enough room for two popsicle sticks and the clothespin split. Not a big deal, but would have preferred for the directions and picture to match (and for them to be fool/kid proof!) This is also one disadvantage to seeing just one box of a subscription craft program – I have a feeling it was a bit of a fluke!**
3. Explorer Cards (Wiki Sticks Project)
This final project was chock-full of informative information all about bugs. It included 6 explorer cards (praying mantis, ant, spider, mosquito, bee, moth and ladybug) telling about how each bug is born, where they live and what they eat. While the information beyond the picture was in most respects above J, it is something I will hang onto and pull out when he is a little older.
The cards also ask you to take a pencil (included) or wikki stix (also included) and create an insect using the criteria which makes an insect an insect. It was a great way to talk through it together as we made the wikki stix insect. Another one that is hanging on the fridge and shown off!
I LOVE that Green Kid Crafts also included a “Discover More” pamphlet in with the supplies with 6 other ideas on how to explore bugs using household objects (honeycomb made out of cardboard TP rolls, etc.). They also list four Bug books they recommend to enrich learning (pictures of the covers and a quick blurb are also included.) Kudos to them for continuing the learning and fun BEYOND the box!
I am super impressed and would love to get a subscription for our kids of Green Kid Crafts. While the boxes are set up to be used by one kid, you can also add on the materials for another kid for just $10 more. In my opinion, the convenience and time-saving is worth that! We will be hanging on to the materials that were not used up (the instruction cards, explorer cards, crayons and pencil) and will pull them out again!
There are three different options for getting the Green Kid Crafts boxes to arrive at your door:
- A month to month subscription ($19.50 or $29.50 to add enough materials for a sibling) that is billed every month and you can cancel at any time.
- A yearly subscription ($214.50 – add the sibling materials for $10/month) with a discount that gives you an entire month free.
- Someone can be awesome and buy your kids a subscription, available in 3, 6 and 12 month increments.
- They also offer seasonal special craft kits that are a one-time purchase (ranging from $14.50-$16.50). Great for a little extra craft boost or to send as a gift. Right now they are featuring a Holiday Ornament Kit, One World Puppets and a Superhero Kit.
- Plan ahead for parties with their Party Pleasers (enough for 12 kids – $18.50)
The Green Kid Crafts site you see is brand new this month. They are celebrating by offering everyone $5 off their order (of anything) by using the code NEWSITE (good through 9/30/12)
Find them here:
They have a fabulous blog on their site chock-full of great information. You can also find them on Facebook; on Twitter; on Pinterest (tons of great ideas for crafting with stuff around your home!); and on YouTube.
I want to know: What do you think of craft subscription programs? Any thoughts on Green Kid Crafts?