It can make your heart sink when you realize the holiday gift you searched for all month is already gathering dust just after New Year’s. How often does the latest fad your kid is obsessed with end up as another flop headed to Goodwill Instead of risking bodily harm this holiday season for something plush or plasticy that will simply take up space you don’t have, you might want to gift your kids a subscription service. This way, they have something to look forward to all year long.
Here are 10 of our favorite subscription box options that offer kids fun while also honing their coding, music, reading, or cooking skills. If 10 isn’t enough to choose from, here’s another list from a couple of years ago that still holds up today.
I’m The Chef Too!
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With Nick Jr.’s The Tiny Chef Show entering a genre already featuring the likes of Netflix’s Waffles & Mochi and Junior Baking Show, kid’s cooking shows are having a moment. If your kids are tired of looking at octopus cakes on TV and want to bake one of their own, then a subscription to I’m The Chef Too! is a great way to get started in the kitchen. Available in 3-, 6-, and 12-month plans, each kit includes pre-measured dry ingredients for the recipe with a STEAM-based project and an educational activity guide related to the month’s theme. Kits start at $34.95 a month. The longer you subscribe, the more you save.
Kids Art Box
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If your kids are looking for new ways to express their creative side away from crayons and paper, Kids Art Box offers two subscription options based on your child’s age. The Create Together Art Box is for 3- to 7-year-olds and includes three art activities, one science project, and one visual recipe or origami tutorial with instructions. For those between ages 6 and 12, there’s the My Artist Box, which includes four projects and educational material about famous artists like Frida Kahlo or Leonardo DaVinci. Both boxes contain high-quality art supplies and start at $38 for a monthly subscription.
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KiwiCo has nine subscription crates for every age and interest. Panda Crates are designed to encourage child development in babies and toddlers, and Maker Crates feature engineering activities for teenagers to work on with adults. Others feature fun and inventive ways to teach children about geography, cooking, and art. Individual crates start at $27.95 but vary in price depending on the length of your subscription.
Just Like Me Book Box
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The company’s website points out an alarming fact from a 2019 study by the Cooperative Children’s Books Center at the University of Wisconsin: Of the 4,035 children’s books published that year, just 471 were about Black people. This subscription service aims to increase a child’s exposure to African-American characters by sending two to three age-appropriate books each month for $35.99; as your child gets older, so do the books the service selects.
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If you have a LEGO-obsessed kid (or spouse), you’re aware that the price for sets continues to rise to astronomical levels. If you still want to fuel your child’s creativity while keeping money in your bank account, check out Brick Loot. The family-run service sends subscribers monthly themed boxes filled with exclusive accessories, figurines, and other surprises compatible with LEGO products. One kit starts at $33.28 and lowers in price the longer you subscribe.
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If your kids are like mine, they love stickers—my youngest will place them on his forehead the moment he gets one. If your little ones are eager to add more to their collection (or face), Pipsticks has two subscriptions for you to choose from. Their Petite Pack, which starts at $11.95, has seven sheets of premium decorative adhesives. The Classic Pack, starting at $17.95, has 15 sheets with a retail value of $50. Past boxes have included fun designs and features, including scratch and sniffs, puffy stickers, and a storage pouch.
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If your kids are tired of Cheez-Its and old Halloween candy, Universal Yums brings snacks from around the globe to your doorstep. Each month’s theme centers on a different country with the best and weirdest delicacies from each location, including fried-egg-flavored chips from Spain or shrimp chips from South Korea. Subscriptions start at $15 (prepaid for a year), and all packages include a booklet with trivia and games about the month’s theme country.
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Sure, school computers have come a long way since playing Oregon Trail on the Apple IIe. And while tablets and Chromebooks make for great learning tools, children rarely create anything on them. Bitsbox offers technology-obsessed kids the opportunity to learn coding and other technology concepts so they can build new apps each month. A 12-month basic subscription starts at $24.95 a month and includes a binder to organize their projects.
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Is your son or daughter melodically curious, but you’re not quite ready to spend the money on band camp yet? Music Library subscription boxes come with an instrument and a hardcover musically themed book for $42 for a month-to-month subscription. And if you want to keep your hearing (and sanity), they offer a monthly subscription with just the books.
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My kids love joining me on grocery shopping trips because it whets their appetite for next week’s dinner selections. It also makes them curious about how things in the kitchen work. Kidstir takes this to the next level with three recipes each month and a shopping list to bring with them on their next Trader Joe’s run. There’s also a magazine, games, cooking utensils, stickers(!), and augmented reality videos they can cook along with.