*** Update: contest is now closed, winner to be announced on the next post

First things first: this is a sponsored post, in that a company sent me something to review and paid me to do so. Sponsored posts aren’t my usual thing, but in this case I was super-interested in the product and thought it sounded like a fun opportunity. If you’d like to skip it, no hard feelings — I recommend checking out the fascinating ongoing craziness between The Oatmeal and FunnyJunk.com. Or maybe this mesmerizing teaser for The Master, which I am inexplicable addicted to watching over and over (“How would you yourself rank your overall health?” “Strooooooong“).

Okay! So I got a chance to check out a BabbaBox from BabbaCo. BabbaCo was founded by Jessica Kim, who I do not know personally but seems to be a very cool lady with enviably shiny hair, and the idea behind the company is to provide a monthly subscription of fun crafty activities to do with your kids (target ages 3-6).

Basically, the idea is that you subscribe to BabbaCo’s service (U.S. only, at the moment) for $29.99 a month, and every month you get a box of activities (and all associated materials) that’s centered around a particular theme. Each box comes with 2-3 hands-on projects/supplies, an ‘explore’ project which encourages kids to engage with the world, a book, and a prepaid download.

(BabbaCo has a “What’s in the Box?” section with more info. Also, are you able to see the words “What’s in the box?” without instantly thinking of this scene? Man, me either.)

I got my BabbaBox a couple days ago, and here’s what it looked like:

box

The interior packaging was great, which I think is a big plus for something like this. Part of the fun of this would be opening it up together, so it’s nice that they clearly gave a lot of thought to the presentation.

Here are the contents of the box, unpacked:

boxcontents

The theme for this box was “gratitude,” and I’m not gonna lie — my initial feeling was that I wished it was “dinosaurs” or “killer robots” or “super obnoxious things that make pshew pshew pshew sounds” because, well, that’s what my kids are mostly into. I wasn’t immediately convinced the boys would be interested by the activities, but once I started digging into them, I could see that they had a pretty universal appeal.

The three main crafty projects involved paint, stickers, pens, and other fun/messy things, and the kids were delighted by the influx of new materials. The first thing we made were thank-you cards:

thankscards

Another activity was a hot pad (painting words on a cork pad), a third was a plastic serving tray (finger painting, creating handprints, stenciling letters). Again, everything’s included — the washable paint, stickers, brushes, etc.

The included book was called Giving Thanks, and it’s a nice one. I like the artwork quite a bit, and the message (a father walking with his son, giving thanks to nature) worked really well for us — Riley said it reminded him of walking in the woods near the cabin with his dad:

book

Although you should take note that according to this amusing Amazon review, it’s a PAGAN book full of dirty PAGANISM and you might want to be careful because it could possibly turn your child into an animal-worshiping heathen OH MY GOD BURN HIM WITH FIRE.

“This is not a book about being thankful for nature. It is about being thankful TO nature. The book teaches children to be thankful to animals, and inanimate objects of nature – not God. It would be helpful to the consumer if this book was labeled somewhere as a book of Paganism as this is not clear from the cover.”

(Hooooooooooo boy.)

There was a “gratitude camera” and journal for posting the developed photos of the things you’re thankful for (I plan to send the camera with Riley to his day camp this week and make a journal of that instead):

camera

Also, a free code to download the Cookie Doodle app, which Dylan was a big fan of:

dylanipad

Decapitated cow! Where’s the severed head? IT’S IN THE BOX!

(BabbaCo, at this point: “Holy shit, this is the worst blogger review *ever*.”)

Lastly, there was a little gift for mom in there:

tea

All in all, I thought this was a very, very nice collection of things. It seems like BabbaCo really puts a lot of effort into assembling items that are engaging and strike a good balance between offering lots of opportunity for education — and just being plain old fun. It feels pretty flexible, like you can either laser-focus on the provided theme, or treat it more loosely to fit your own preferences.

As for the value ($29.99/month, and there’s an annual membership that’s available as well), I think it’s particularly well-suited for parents like me. Meaning, I’m not naturally creative when it comes to activity ideas, and I don’t have a ton of materials at all times. It’s nice to have a bunch of pre-defined things to do, and not have to run out and buy a bunch of supplies for one particular project.

I easily spend $30 every month on dumb crappy things to distract the kids. I mean, EASILY. On the other hand, committing to $30/month is a different sort of purchase decision, but I think the fact that the box isn’t something that’s instantly used up and forgotten makes it a decent investment. Plus, there’s the value of having someone else hand-pick the contents — you’re gambling that you’ll like them, of course, but it saves time and makes for a fun shared surprise each month.

Conclusion: I like the BabbaBox, and I think some of you with kids in the 3-6 range might like it too. I also like that this is an independent business run by a big-dreaming woman with little kids of her own, and I am not EVEN going to call her a mompreneur.

BabbaCo gave me a couple deals to pass along to you. One is a coupon code, which you can use to get 50% off your first box if you buy a subscription. Here’s the code, which is good for the next 7 days:

SUN50OFF

They’re also offering a giveaway of one BabbaBox to a randomly-chosen winner. To enter, leave me a comment (be sure to include your email address!) and I’ll do the integer-generator webamajig, and if you win — to be eligible, they’d like you to have signed up for their newsletter, and the good news about that is it automatically gives you another chance to win — a box will be mailed your way ASAP.

(Unfortunately, they only ship in the U.S. right now.)

Okay, if you’d like to throw your hat in the free-box ring, please do leave a comment — you can tell me whether or not this service sounds interesting, what you’d like to see them add/change, or just say hi, it doesn’t matter. I’ll announce a winner by Friday, June 22nd. Good luck, and if you actually read this far down, I AM REALLY SORRY I USE SO MANY WORDS.

*** Update: contest is now closed, winner to be announced on the next post

Comments

211 Responses to “BabbaBox review and giveaway”

  1. Frema on June 20th, 2012 8:59 pm

    I’m with Jodie – when you asked about “What’s in the box?” my first thought was JT’s “D!ck in a Box” video from SNL, too. (Apologies to Mr. Pitt.)

  2. Jaime on June 20th, 2012 9:31 pm

    I’d love to try it out. My daughter is a tad bit older than the targeted age range- she’s 7, but she loves arts and crafts.

  3. Sarah on June 21st, 2012 3:39 am

    Nice! Sorry. I have a 3-month old. That’s about as eloquent as I get right now.

  4. Liz on June 21st, 2012 5:07 am

    What a neat idea! Would love to try it out …

  5. Ashley Garrett on June 21st, 2012 10:40 am

    Love! Want! NEED!!! (Got a 5 yr old who likes to glue stuff together)

  6. April G. on June 21st, 2012 2:46 pm

    This is such a great idea!

    (I subscribed to their newsletter too!)

  7. nanann on June 21st, 2012 3:52 pm

    Really, one of the few things the girls love better than crafting is mail. It is like a 2-in-1! Would certainly love to try this out.

  8. danish on June 21st, 2012 5:16 pm

    Ooh! my sons would love something like this!

  9. Phoebem on June 21st, 2012 8:50 pm

    Who wouldn’t like pre-selected and shopped for crafts.

  10. Charlise kindsfather on June 21st, 2012 10:39 pm

    Hi!
    Oh gosh, well I was diagnosed with Lupus a bit back and could use some creative intelligence right about now. I NEED to win.

  11. The Friday Kiernan: Some Pig Edition | Kate Baxter-Kauf on September 22nd, 2013 8:17 pm

    […] Did a ton of science experiments. I bought a BabbaBox subscription last summer when Linda featured it (and provided an exceptional coupon), and while I’ve really enjoyed it, […]