Koala Crate is a monthly subscription box from KiwiCo for preschoolers ages 3 to 5. It is educational and always hands-on. The activities are designed to be developmentally appropriate and enriching while also keeping it engaging, fun, and universally-appealing.
This month’s Koala Crate theme was WILD WILD WEST! As always, the box comes with all the supplies needed to create a trio of fun, age-appropriate crafts – plus it has a magazine with extra games and activities.
There are two books that will come in your Koala Crate. Imagine! magazine is “a play and learn magazine” made for you and your preschooler to explore together. My son loves it! I like that the instruction booklet is separate from the magazine, so you can preview the activity while your child works on the activities in the booklet.
Imagine! magazine contains information relevant to the theme so your child learns a bit about the topic while having fun with the craft and play activities. The information is provided in an age-appropriate format and always feels like a game, not schoolwork.
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A fun story introduces your child to the theme of the box. The same group of friendly characters is featured each month, and the familiar faces encourage engagement.
Your kids will always learn a little bit about the top beyond the projects, as imagine! provides some background – at least enough to provide some context and tie the cartoon in with the projects.
In addition to the main projects, there are several games and activities in imagine! magazine.
Activities usually include tracing, matching, picture finds, or word recognition games. The book also includes instructions for some extension activities you can do at home with commonplace household items, plus some suggestions for further reading.
The instruction booklet is intended for the adult helper and gives detailed instructions for the activity.
It lists all the supplies, the 3 primary activities, the messiness level, and any grownup assistance needed. They’ve recently added some additional symbols denoting the developmental skills practiced in doing the activity, such as fine or gross motor skills.
Every activity tells you the required materials, engagement questions to ask your child, step by step instructions, and play ideas. Though most crafts are self-explanatory, they have helpful illustrations and clear instructions, so it’s hard to go wrong.
This Crate is a good example of how Koala Crate treats a theme. They build multiple activities around it, giving your child lots to do while remaining immersed in the topic. It makes it easy for caregivers to transition the child from one activity to the next without interruption, but it also creates break points for spreading the Crate across a few crafting sessions. When you are done crafting, your child has always learned something and has fun stuff to play with.
All the materials you’ll need to make this month’s activities! The activities in a box usually all relate to the same central theme, but they each tend to encourage different types of play and help develop different skills.
My son was so excited about this theme that he dressed himself up in his cowboy gear!
The style of the magazine makes it very appealing for pre-readers, too. And no, face washing isn’t mandatory in the Old West.
At first glance, he treated this activity as identification and counting the objects. I asked him what was different about one of the hats, and he said, “It’s purple.” Having just turned 3, he wasn’t quite able to pick out or articulate some of the more nuanced differences.
Our first and second projects were building bandana and horseshoe print bean bags!
He knew just what to do for these, he just needed a little assistance re-inking the stamp and pressing really hard ONCE on each print. The kit came with small wooden beads to fill our “bean” bags.
The bandana made a lovely Western accessory for wearing, and it also served as a target for our bean bag toss.
The third project was constructing a hobby horse. The construction is very child-friendly. The horse head is pre-sewn, and the finishing seam is sealed by simply knotting the horse’s mane.
The features are all self-adhesive and can be applied by a child with ease. Knotting the mane and bridle and applying the final adhesive to the neck is the only part where an adult may want to help out.
The projects from this box are definitely ones to keep for awhile — These are being added to our dress-up collection for more Wild West fun!
Koala Crate is great for preschoolers, as it relies heavily on shape, color, and pattern recognition and other pre-reading skills. There is always some age-appropriate learning, and it really keeps the kids busy. You can do the activities in a single marathon session, but they are also easy to spread out over several days. All of the boxes in the KiwiCo family are excellent parent, babysitter or grandparent activity boxes, perfect for adding some structure and fun to quality time with the kids, without any pre-planning hassle.
Our 3 year old needs some help figuring out what to do, but he can actually do many of the activities without help. Our other son is 6 now and has transitioned to the older boxes, but he still really enjoys Koala, because he can do the activities himself.
Have you tried Koala Crate? What did you think of this month’s theme?