Subscription boxes will turn up at your door every month, bringing a new and exciting activity for your child.
The great thing about subscription boxes is that they usually include everything you need to get on with the activity - no hunting around for glue, googly eyes or a special ingredient. There's a subscription box that will appeal to most children whether they enjoy crafts, cooking, gardening or whatever.
A subscription box makes a great birthday gift for a relative or order one for your own child to give them something a bit different to look forward to. Perfect for a rainy day.
Crates of creative fun
With boxes (called crates) designed for little ones aged 0-2 years right up to 14-adult, there is something for everyone in these beautifully-designed subscription boxes. You can choose a box with an engineering, art and craft or science theme. Each range has a different name - the adult one is called a Eureka Crate. My son has had a few subscriptions as gifts and has made things like a walking robot and a spinning art machine - all arriving in a package the size of a shoebox. We have recently received the most adult boxes and had fun making a wooden ukelele, pinball machine and a perpetual desk calendar (which I have snaffled for my office!). Prices drop if you take out a longer subscription - for instance, £24.06 per month, which drops to £20.04 a month for a 12-month subscription.
Stick your beak in!
Encouraging a love of crafting and creating, while also learning, Toucan Boxes are aimed at ages three to eight. Designed by a mum of three children and a Montessori teacher respectively, they wanted to encourage children to get hands-on and unleash their creativity while having fun making things, creating memories and learning at the same time. There's plenty to keep kids entertained - a dinosaur craft to make, a shadow puppet theatre craft or the materials to make your own painting inspired by Van Gogh's Starry Night. Each box is personalised with your child's name and includes two crafts, stickers (because who doesn't love a sticker?) and a magazine that has extended activity ideas, puzzles and colouring pages. £8.95 a month. Take out a 12-month subscription and the price drops to £5.95.
Here's the science part
If you have a science boffin in the family and they are missing the lab at school, this is the perfect educational subscription box for them. To give you an example, in the starter kit you will find a VR headset, smartphone stand, solid fuel burner, safety goggles and more. A subscription gives you one experiment set each month, which includes two to three experiments, equipment and enough chemical reagents for at least two attempts, and visual step-by-step instructions. The subscription also includes VR lessons, which you can access on a smartphone. Try your hand at making powdered minerals glow in the dark, turning a copper coin to 'gold', and making your own hand warmer. The chemistry sets subscription is aimed at kids aged 10 and over, but Mel Kids are science kits for five to 10-year-olds - you might make a wooden rocket that really works or a fan. The Mel Lite (one experiment a month) is £17.90, while the kits with two to three experiments per month are £29.90. The Mel Kids sets cost £24.90 a month.
A purr-fect global adventure
Meet Banjo Robinson, a cat with a taste for global travel. Clever old Banjo has a cunning plan - to encourage five- to eight-year-olds to learn about different countries, and to have fun reading and writing without even realising it! Banjo is a pen pal with a difference. Look out for personalised letters from Banjo, which tell the recipient all about the fascinating places he's travelled to. Use the supplied wall chart to track his travels. You'll also receive stationery, colouring sheets and stickers so you can write back to Banjo. Just leave the letter under the sofa and he'll get it! An activity pack arrives every two weeks and subscriptions cost £24.99 for three months, up to £59.99 for a year.
Back to nature
If your child has developed an interest in the garden and growing during lockdown, cultivate that enthusiasm with a subscription to Mud + Bloom. There's usually a couple of things to grow in each box - it might be some living willow sticks to grow your own willow tree, seeds for some lovely bright annual flowers, or your own veg. Each month the box will also include some seasonal information about nature and growing, a quiz and craft activities. Crafts could include painting pebbles, making twig stars or creating an ice lantern. Then they will be encouraged to learn more about nature with a task such as identifying winter garden birds maybe, or hunt for wild spring flowers, The activities all support the National Curriculum, the seeds are organic and organic peat-free compost pellets are included so your children can get busy sowing their seeds right away. £11.95 a month or £10.95 if you pay for a year. A sibling box, which includes enough materials for two children, costs £14.95 a month.
Not-so horrible history
History doesn't have to be boring, thanks to the Mysteries in Time subscription box for seven- to 11-year-olds. This educational and fun box includes a number of activities including some fiction, non-fiction, crafts and puzzles, designed to help children get a really good understanding of each historical period. Follow Max and Katie as they go back in time and solve mysteries. The first box includes a large map to go on the wall. It features a timeline - add your timeline sticker each month as you learn about a different time in history. The classic pack costs £7.95 plus 95p UK postage. The Bumper box (which also includes a gift and a craft activity) is £12.95 plus £2.95 UK postage.
Let's get cooking
Founder Helen Burgess is a registered nutritionist whose aim is to improve children’s health and wellbeing. The Little Cooks boxes are designed to help children aged three to 10 make healthy food choices, discover that healthy food doesn't have to be boring - and to have fun and make happy family memories in the kitchen. Each box contains the dry organic ingredients needed to make healthy, tasty bakes (any fresh ingredients needed are listed in an email sent out before the box arrives so you can be prepared). There's an easy-to-follow recipe, more ideas for child-friendly family meals and collectable stickers. A nice extra touch are the table talk cards, which are designed to spark fun and laughter at the dinner table. With the first kit, you receive a record book so that your little cook can track their learning and progress. Every three months they move to a new level, and receive a badge and certificate at each stage. Complete the record book for a very special gift! A little Cooks Co box costs £12.99 a month. Save more with a longer subscription - for example a prepaid 12 monthly subscription works out at £8.33 a month.