Tinker Crate is a new subscription box that inspires kids to explore and learn about science, engineering, and technology—and have fun doing it. Every month, a new crate to help kids develop a tinkering mindset and creative problem solving skills. It is STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) focused and designed to help kids build their problem solving skills and to gain the confidence and curiosity to tackle problems where there’s no one right answer. We aren’t subscribers to Tinker Crate (I thought my kids would be too young to enjoy it), so I asked Kiwi Crate to send along one for review. FYI – I taught advanced earth and space science and physical science in a charter middle school. I think I’m well equipped to evaluate this box. Save 30% off your first box with exclusive coupon code MS30!
This was everything that arrived in our Tinker Crate – the supplies, a fold-out instruction sheet, and the Tinker Zine. For November, Tinkerers would be working on an electromagnetic motor!
The instructions show all the items that come in the box (you can click for a bigger photo if you’d like) as well as show what you can do with the Motor once you create it.
I found the instructions clear and easy to follow. I don’t have any kids in the age range (9-14) but I think most children in the age range could complete the project – but they might need help getting this one to work.
Fortunately even if you aren’t tinkery, Tinker Crate provides video instructions as well as one on one email support should the need arise.
The magazine was well put together – and contained ample (and interesting) historical and scientific information – it portrayed the concepts of electromagnetism through several stories on Michael Faraday in multiple formats. Faraday created the first electric motor.
There were a few activities that required neodymium magnets. I wish they’d been included in the box because we could have done all the activities. However, I know why they aren’t included – they are a safety hazard for small children. FYI, if you choose to purchase these magnets, make sure they are not swallowed by a child. They can cause serious internal injury (because they are strong).
I loved this comic! It was cute and connected the kids to something interesting and unique about Faraday.
Beyond the extra projects, there were also open-ended tinkering ideas.
Here’s a video of our completed motor! Every month your child will get Tinker Tokens that she can place in the spool (the resulting simple machine is called a thaumatrope) to see the final picture!
I liked how Tinker Crate included a compass for additional experimentation. (FYI, in the image above the power source isn’t connected).
Tinker Crate was accessible and fun for a wide range of ages, and perfect for the older child. I’d say if you have a precocious younger child that is interested in more science than crafts, that it would be a great box too – though it may stretch their vocabulary and understanding at times. Despite me thinking my kids wouldn’t be interested, they were on it as soon as I started building that motor, and my daughter (she just turned 6) read Tinker Zine cover to cover. Without prompting she began creating some of the experiments in the box (like the one below).
Everything in the magazine was solid science wise – I wish there was a bit more discussion about the field around the motor and electromagnetism at the atomic level – but I don’t think that would be accessible for the entire age range. Dare I say your kids might learn more from this box than a month in school (mostly because of lack of funding for experimental science)? Experimentation is expensive and I absolutely recommend getting as much tinkering and experimentation in those crucial middle school years – teaching children to think critically is not easy, and boxes like Tinker Crate help! The other box released so far was a Trebuchet (so not all boxes are electricity based). This was a great box, and as always, KiwiCo family boxes are well produced. I’m thinking that we may need a subscription of our own!
Visit Tinker Crate to subscribe or find out more! You can see more subscriptions for kids and monthly subscriptions for teens and tweens in the directory. Also, check out this post on subscriptions for teen boys!
The Description: Tinker Crate help kids gain crucial STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) skills through hands-on activities that are also seriously fun. Every crate includes all the materials and inspiration for a super-cool project. Ages 9 to 14+
The Price: $19.95 per month
The Coupon: Save 30% off your first box with exclusive coupon code MS30!