I’m one of those moms that means well but falls short on a daily basis. By that, I mean that I am a busy (and overworked) stay-at-home mom of 3 children under 5 who tries (tries being the operative word here) her best to balance housekeeping (in an almost obsessive compulsive way), cooking healthy whole foods, blogging, being a wife, caring for and entertaining 3 children, homeschooling (preschool) and driving kids between soccer practice and violin lessons – BUT, I somehow, in the midst of the craziness, almost always fail at researching, planning, running around to purchase/gather materials for, and/or carrying out any planned crafts, activities, and any sort of enrichment for our 2 older kids. I have NO TIME or energy to do so, and this is especially true since newest baby was born last autumn. On most days, I feel like a failure to my kids. (Please tell me I am not the only one.)
Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a service that delivered ready-made boxes of engaging activities that you could easily do with your kids without all the planning, organizing and running around? But there is! Developed by a team of child development experts, parents and teachers, BabbaBox is a monthly subscription service that does just the thing, complete with the instructions and materials for interactive fun for kids aged 3 to 7.
Lately I’ve seen a growing trend in these types of boxes – boxes designed for moms, for infants, and even toddler busy boxes, but BabbaCo went a step beyond to fill a huge need for the slightly older child. Especially in my current situation (with a newborn), this new and innovative service was an answer to my prayers.
What is a BabbaBox exactly? The monthly theme-based boxes are centered around 4 major components (Create, Explore, Story Tell and Connect) and each contain:
- 1 theme-related book (Story Tell)
- 2-3 hands-on projects (Create)
- 1 tool or instrument for mobile, explorative fun – such as a camera or binoculars (Explore)
- 1 prepaid online content or downloads to reinforce the monthly theme (Connect)
- and a gift for the parent
The founder (a busy mom herself) emphasizes the fact that you won’t have to buy or clutter your home with a big bag or box full of materials that you only need one of. But that’s not what really drew me in. What I immediately loved about the BabbaBox was the convenience – that it would take me no planning whatsoever, which would translate into a less stressed me. I can essentially continue to do what I do (forget or lack the time to research and plan something fun, creative and educational in the midst of my chaos) and still feel good knowing that I would be “saved” by BabbaBox. (View a sample box here.)
What I loved about BabbaBox:
- I utterly love the concept. Truly brilliant!
- Each activity was separated in its own bag (no time or guesswork as to which materials were for what project).
- With each of the activities, there was an awesome little pamphlet of easy to understand instructions, fun and educational facts to share (good for the adults, too), and extra tidbits of info for the parents on how to further engage the child or what specific skill they are developing while doing a particular part of the activity.
- The themes are appropriate for the age and centered around the corresponding season or month.
- The projects in the box are creative and not just your average, run-of-the-mill or last minute craft you end up pulling together out of desperation. (I am naturally not of the crafty or even creative mindset, so this is huge area of relief for me.)
- Impressive, beautiful projects that I can proudly display.
- The book is actually a high-quality one.
- Though each box is targeted for one child, siblings can definitely share the projects. I found that there was more than enough material in our box for both of my kids to complete their own projects or at least collaborate on one single project. This eliminates the need for multiple subscriptions. Unless, of course, you have more than 2 kids.
- It’s a timesaver!
However, our particular BabbaBox was not completely without its flaws. That being said, keep in mind that I have only received this one box, and it may not be reflective of all the boxes. In fact, I really would have liked some of their other boxes much better. They would have been easier and better suited for the ages of my own kids (which are on the younger range of BabbaBox’s targeted ages). On their blog, they showcase a few quick video previews of the boxes. I highly suggest you watch them to get a feel of the variety of activities that come in each box:
- October preview (Harvest)
- December preview (New Year)
- January preview (Sun, Moon, Stars – this is the box that I received)
What I didn’t like:
- Though exquisite (almost breathtaking), 1 of the 2 included projects in my particular box was slightly on the sophisticated side for my young kids. My 2 kids eventually got bored at the labor intensiveness of the project. While they had fun at first, waiting for something (the lovely paper mache moon nightlight) to be finished with 2 overnight dryings was a bit much for their age. They were completely disinterested in finishing up the project on the second day, and I ended up doing it by myself while they played. At the preschool age (which is where I assume most of their customers would be), kids like more immediate results and not something so complex. Nevertheless, my 2 year old won’t go to sleep without my turning on that soothing, flickering nightlight.
- At $29.99 per box (less for annual subscriptions), the price is steep for moms like me to shell out. (The included book retails for $12-18, which contributes to the high cost.)
- I was not able to use the “Connect” feature, as I did not own an appropriate device for our particular month’s download.
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