I'm Pretty Sure Getting Toys in the Mail Is the Best Thing That Ever Happened to My Toddler

Lauren Gordon

Lauren Gordon

Playing with my son is one of my truest, most legitimate joys in life. Truly, when we turned some invisible (but very real) corner around 17 months, he went from passively playing to full-blown imagination, and I swear it made me love my baby just a bit more. Watching him use his mind and creativity is especially delightful, and through play I can see firsthand how he absorbs new information.

  • Being he is my first child, grandparents have gone to great lengths to spoil him with toys. 

    toys everywhere
    Lauren Gordon

    (P.S. That above picture is just real-talk; motherhood is messy, man.)

    But the truth is in his collection, we don't have a ton of toys that educational. Yes, there are a few, but overall we've essentially stuck to books and cars. That's why when I was offered the opportunity to try KiwiCo, a STEAM, STEM, and science toy subscription box, I jumped at the chance.

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  • We started with a Panda Crate, which caters toys to kids ages 0 to 24 months. KiwiCo offers crates that cater to kids up to 14 years old (and adults!).

    Lauren Gordon

    The Panda Crate we received has six toy activities selected with the help of experts at Seattle Children's Hospital to bring parents research-based techniques to help support a child's development.

    Each Panda Crate, which is $19.95 and comes with free shipping, includes two months' worth of age-appropriate products and activities. You can choose to get more crates and at different prices, and as your child gets older, you can expand into the other crate options.

  • In our crate, everything arrived neatly packaged and was complete with cards explaining what was inside and how to play with the toys.

    Lauren Gordon

    After I freed everything from its wrapping, I put it back in the box and let my 21-month-old son "open" it. 

    My son had the opportunity to play with animal puzzles that went inside a "peek-a-boo" base, a hide-and-seek mat that folds into a cute puppy design, and an animal match-up game. We also got toy rockers we had to build together and an adorable book.

  • The first thing that captured his imagination was the hide-and-seek mat. 

    hide and seek mat
    Lauren Gordon

    I'm not entirely shocked, considering all this kid loves to do is open things. Inside the mat you can hide adorable animal felt characters under flaps. I made him close his eyes as I hid them, and when he opened them, he went to town on finding them. Once we found each animal, I asked him what sound it made. We even took turns and he hid them for me to "find" and got a kick out of me guessing "wrong."

  • Next we tried the matching game. 

    Lauren Gordon

    Per the instructions, I set up the cards with the mama animals on one side and the babies on the other, making sure the related ones weren't next to each other. I asked him to point out the "mama dog" and  then asked him where her baby was. With every animal he found right, he'd let out the proper animal sound and clap victoriously. It was pretty sweet.

  • The animal rockers were admittedly a bit of a challenge. 

    Lauren Gordon

    Using the instructions, it took me a minute to figure out where everything lined up, and my impatient toddler wasn't having any of it. Once I started involving him (asking him to pull the felt through the hole), things got a lot better.

    It was actually a nice teachable moment for me; as parents, I think we tend to want to just get things done quickly, but there is a lot to be said about slowing down and involving our children. Once we got it rocking, he was so proud of himself!

  • The winner of this box by far and away was the peek-a-boo puzzle. 

    Lauren Gordon

    My son was enamored with it. We played by putting the puzzle sticks in order and counting out loud. We talked about the animals on each stick and the puzzle picture on the back. But if I am being honest, his favorite part was pressing down on the sticks in the stand and watching them leap up and out. The giggles we both had filled the room.

  • All in all, I'd say we had a pretty great night playing together with this KiwiCo box.

    Lauren Gordon

    It challenges you as a parent to really engage with your kids, and it gives them something to look forward to. He was so excited that a package came just for him and that he and his mom had some truly interactive time. 

    To try KiwiCo for yourself, check out the many box options the company has for all ages (from the Panda crate for babies 0 to 24 months, to the Maker Crate for kids up to 104 years old!).

    Psst: If you choose to purchase an item on this list, CafeMom may receive a small cut. Each item and price is up to date at the time of publication; however, an item may be sold out or the price may be different at a later date.