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Thinking (and Acting) Out of the Box

Everyone likes getting packages in the mail, even kids. Here's a great way to pry them away from the TV for a bit. Green Kid Crafts offers an eco-friendly kids crafts box of the month!

Kids love boxes.  Give them an empty TV or refrigerator box and they’ll play for days in it using their imaginations.  Kids and boxes; boxes and kids – these two simple words got me thinking.

My daughter was about mid-way into her summer vacation and I observed that she was probably watching a little too much TV during her “down time”.  It’s not that we weren’t spending time together.  We spend a lot of time at the beach, swimming, gardening, making meals together, going for walks, playing games, and doing other activities when she’s home with me.   But there are times when I need to get my mom things done, and she needs to chill out independently.  Sometimes she’ll pick up a book and read, now that she can as a 7 year old, but you know – sometimes Sponge Bob calls, or iCarly captivates. 

I’m not going to ban television, but sometimes I’d like her to think out of the box – literally.

Over the past year, I’ve noticed several cosmetic companies have started monthly subscription services for customers who like a surprise box of beauty delivered to them for a fee.  I started wondering if they had similar services for kids – but of the crafty kind; and they do!  I’ve always liked working on projects with my daughter but the one thing I dreaded was seeking out supplies.  More than many times I’ve had to go to at least two stores in search of the materials I needed, or wait for an empty paper towel roll to be available in my house, or some popsicles to be eaten so we had the sticks.  Getting busy on the craft was fun, but the wait and search for the supplies was like a scavenger hunt.  What is so great about finding monthly subscription services for kids craft projects is that they contain everything you need in the box!  No more hunting for the project parts!  Yay!

After some online searching, I found out there’s the popular BabbaBox (geared for kids ages 3 – 6), and I also came across green kid crafts (targeted for children ages 3 -8).  I’m sure there are more companies out there that offer similar services, but these are just some examples of ones that I had researched that had rave reviews.

I was tempted to go with BabbaBox, but I went with green kid crafts for two reasons.  First, the monthly cost was cheaper, and secondly, everything from the packaging down to the projects in the kits is 100% eco-friendly.  (BabbaBox is more expensive because they send you a book every month in their kits, too.  While that may be worth the additional cost to some, Manda and I decided she would rather pick out a book on her own than leave it up to someone selecting it for her.  Besides, green kid crafts includes a list of recommended books in each shipment should you need some suggestions for related reading material to the monthly project theme.)

I placed my order for the first green kid crafts box at the end of July.  Less than a week later, the first craft box arrived.  My daughter was so excited when it arrived in our mailbox.  The entire box is relatively small, so you don’t have to worry about it taking up lots of space.  And what’s that saying? – “Good things come in small packages.”  They sure do.

Manda ran inside after checking the mail and was very excited to get her first earth friendly craft kit.  Inside were the instructions and all materials needed to complete 3 different projects.  Each project is packaged separately in its own plant-based, compostable cello bag.  So you don’t have to sort out the odds and ends on your own. The materials are not all cheap paper cut outs, either – which was my fear.  I’m sure we’ve all been there – where we order something online and we never get the box with the bling featured on the home page – but we get a cheaper, imitation version, instead that’s more cost effective for the company.  I was not disappointed as a parent; and Manda was not disappointed as a kid.

The theme of the August box was bugs.  Included were kits for how to make your own dragonfly magnets out of clothespins and popsicle sticks, another for molding bugs out of wax wikki stix complete with picture cards and bug facts, and one more self-contained kit to make kid-size wearable bug wings from giant size coffee filters, silver elastic, and Kool-Aid packets (used for dying the wings different colors).  Also included were some cool bug stickers, a pencil made out of recycled newspaper, and there were recycled Crazy Crayons which my daughter thought were awesome because they were a blend of two colors per crayon.  So even after the projects were completed, she  continued to use the pencil, cool crayons, and stickers while fluttering around the backyard in her just-made insect wings with a dragonfly magnet in each hand.  She was also playing with her wikki bugs she made by herself, too.

This was – fun in a box.

Adults really don’t need to get that involved in the projects in my opinion, for children ages 5 and up, other than reading the instructions.  If you have a younger child, then they may  not have the coordination yet to glue pieces together or hold or mold something a certain way and you’ll have to help them.  Either way – this is a great activity parents and kids can do together, or tangentially while mom is paying bills, or dad is doing the dishes and the kids are in the same room.  And, no TV time required!

So we’re going to continue our monthly subscription to green kid crafts.  All of the packaging is biodegradable, and so are the art projects if they don’t stand the test of time and play.  Every engaging project has been approved by a panel of experts before it’s sent out to you.  Oh, and they include a pamphlet in the kit which outlines a few more environmentally friendly projects that you can do with household or outdoor items with ease if you want to go beyond the bounds of the box.  I like the idea of paying $20 a month for some interactive and imaginative fun for kids that’s gone green, too.

Green kid crafts encourages  its customers to share the “earth friendly creativity” and if you go to http://www.greenkidcrafts.com and enter the code FRIEND, you can get $10 off of your next subscription.  You can also send 3, 6 or 12 month subscriptions as gifts to people if you don’t have kids of your own, or would like to give a very creative and environmentally friendly gift.  Green kid crafts has also been selected as one of ten finalists for Green America's People & Planet Awards, recognizing businesses that operate with concern for the environment and community.

You can follow Green Kid Crafts on Pinterest and view tons of earth-friendly inspired projects for kids in categories ranging from bugs, to birds, gardens, to the ocean, and reaching to outer space and beyond!  Or, you can connect with them on facebook, or twitter , too.

This blog post was originally published on the author's own website http://theladyinredblog.com

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

centurion August 06, 2012 at 03:52 PM
Man, that first sentence takes me back to my childhood. whenever anyone in the neighborhood got a new major appliance, all the kids would be excited for a new large box to play in with. Fort, castles, ships, trucks, all were made from a box. Even after it broke down, we found a use for it. And if somebody got a new washer AND a dryer, that was like Christmas.
Laura Madsen August 06, 2012 at 04:14 PM
I know exactly what you mean. When my parents moved into our new house and had extra big boxes left over after unpacking my brother and I had multi-room mansions! Just last week my daughter made a spaceship out of a big box in the basement, too. Timeless fun.
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Jo March 02, 2013 at 09:44 PM
I think I loved watching my children play with those empty boxes as they did! In the "old" days, we stay-at-home Moms created our own play projects, and they cost a hell of a lot less than $20! But, times have changed, and working Moms have to take so many shortcuts to get thru the days. I hope that someday, our culture will fully acknowledge the value of a parents' role in their children's growth, and provide the supports these parents really need.

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