Green Kid Crafts April 2016 Subscription Box Review & Coupon – Nature

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IMG_3449Green Kid Crafts is a monthly subscription box that sends 5-8 themed projects made with eco-friendly materials to your home every month. The boxes contain hands-on explorations in science, math, technology, engineering and art that are intended to challenge children from 3-10 years of age.

IMG_3450April’s theme was nature. This got my son very excited. He loves being outdoors more than anything.

IMG_3453Each set of crafts is grouped together by theme. The introductory card depicts some of the exercises: paper mache earth, paper making, sun paper and nature necklace. Once your child has completed all of the activities in the box, the folks behind Green Kid Crafts have enclosed a badge to stick on a banner to signify the box’s completion.

IMG_3451Before we began, we checked out this nice visual representation of the different activities awaiting us in the box. Then we got to work.

IMG_3452We began by sitting outside, listening, looking, smelling, feeling and discovering the world around us. We chatted about the box’s suggestions for how to explore nature. My son is excited to go camping with me this weekend.

IMG_3680We decided to walk through our backyard to pick up treasures for our sun print. We placed our findings on the paper and laid it on our porch.

IMG_3682After five minutes outside, we placed the paper in water and brought it inside.

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By the time three minutes was up, our paper had turned dark again. I’m not totally sure what we did wrong here. Were we supposed to put the leaves on the white side of the paper? Although we can’t see the shadows as well as we had hoped, we had a lot of fun doing this project.

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After I helped cut out a frame from the Green Kid Crafts box, my son affixed his sun paper and a magnet to the back and hung his nature picture on our refrigerator. He loves hanging his artwork there!

IMG_3684Next up, my son decided to make a couple nature amulets. He went back outside to pick up another leaf.

IMG_3685He divided a piece of clay into two and laid his leaf down onto one piece. He laid the dried leaf provided onto the other piece of clay.

IMG_3688Next, he painted around them.

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He took a straw (not provided) and used it to make a hole in his amulet. He laid his amulets out to dry overnight.

IMG_3728The following morning, he threaded a piece of yarn through the amulets and wore his creations happily.

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The next activity dealt with identifying animal tracks.

IMG_3690As an experienced tracker I was a little disappointed with this activity. None of these tracks were drawn to any sort of scale, and I think that half the fun with tracks is how they reflect animal behavior and vice versa. I felt like some of that is missing here. For instance, you’re almost never going to see opossum tracks that look like 11. I think I’ve seen them once. Almost always they’re going to look like a mess because of their direct register gait. Also, in practice, it’s pretty easy to confuse a coyote with a dog track. Their gait is usually a dead giveaway, however. That’s easily missed here. Still, my son had fun and asked when I’m going to take him animal tracking. “Pretty soon.”

IMG_3783In this next activity, you or your child blows up a balloon and uses it as a base for constructing a globe out of paper mache. My son thought the paper mache was really cool for about five minutes. After that, he lost interest, and this became a mommy activity. It was a bit challenging since we didn’t have a good place to hang the balloon. As a result, I had to hold onto it with one hand while applying paper mache with the other. For lack of anything better to do, I left the globe to dry on some paper outside. The best setup for this activity would involve an available arbor or something elevated outside that you could use as a base from which to hang the balloon. That way you wouldn’t have to hold the balloon while you’re applying paper mache, and it could dry without sticking to everything else. Despite our difficulties with this project, I do think that the five minutes during which my son enjoyed the paper mache provided a great sensory experience for him.

For what it’s worth: before we began applying the paper mache, my son drew rough outlines of the continents on the balloon using a washable marker. If either you or your child starts in a similar fashion, know that the paper mache just smeared the lines to the point they were unusable. If you want lines, I’d try using a Sharpie. Otherwise, winging it would be cool too. (Note: Green Kid Crafts suggested some extensions for this activity–making volcanoes, for instance–but given my son’s five minute attention span for paper mache, I decided not to attempt any more paper mache activities at this time.)

IMG_3895For the following activity, we returned to our yard to pick up treasures to place in our shadow box. It’s such a lovely time of the year for scavenging. The roses, jasmine and other plants are in bloom. As a bonus, we found a new flower in our backyard. Sitting just to the right of the rock above, it’s hard and waxy and quite lovely. It’s the first time that that plant has bloomed since we moved into our house a number of years ago. Does anyone know what it’s called?

The final activity for the month was paper making.

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Years ago, I made paper (with help) out of old blue jeans, but I’ve since forgotten how to do it. I was extremely excited by this activity! While my excitement was definitely more pronounced than my son’s, he was still eager to learn how to do it.

I really appreciated the historical notes at the bottom of the paper making instruction card. Evidently, people used to use cotton a lot when making paper!

IMG_4210The first order of business when making paper is to create a paper pulp. My son did this by placing tissue paper into a jar, adding warm water and shaking.

IMG_4214Once he had a pulp (his also included colored paper in one batch and colored paper and seeds in another), my son removed it from the jar and laid it out on felt.

IMG_4223After squeezing all of the water out of the paper, my son laid his papers out to dry outside.

IMG_4226Once they were dry, we picked them up and moved them inside.

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What a fun box of crafts and science experiments! Once we had completed all seven projects, my son proudly affixed his badge to his shirt (he couldn’t pass up the chance to wear a “nature expert” sticker!).

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We can’t wait to complete more projects together next month! I wonder what we’ll learn about then!

Through 5/21 you can use coupon 1FREE to get 1 month free with a 6-month subscription or 3FREE to get 3 months free with annual subscription.

Has your family tried Green Kid Crafts?

Visit Green Kid Crafts to subscribe or find out more! Get a free trial box! Use this link to get the deal. Pay $4.95 shipping.

The Subscription: Green Kid Crafts
The Description: In the Discovery Box you’ll find three eco-themed crafts connected by a monthly theme using art, science, movement, and play. All materials are non-toxic and sustainable where possible.
The Price: $20.00 per month

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