*** 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

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Julie
10 years ago

This looks really cool. I think my kids would love it.

Amy N
Amy N
10 years ago

That is the coolest idea ever!! Unfortunately, my boys are now 7 and 10 so it is probably a bit young for them. However, I think I will sign up for their newsletter to see if they ever come up with the next level :) Thanks for sharing!

Christine
10 years ago

I have one three-year-old and one six-year-old, and it’s summer vacation and I am not even a little bit crafty. This sounds like it would be good for me, especially if it was, you know, free.

Lori
Lori
10 years ago

I’ll give it a try. It sounds similar to something I saw on shark tank?

Cara Mosier
Cara Mosier
10 years ago

I love this idea! I work full time outside the home and my husband is a full time student (for 6 more weeks, Squee!) so we don’t have a lot of time to plan for and purchase materials for activities. Plus, what kid doesn’t like to get mail?! I know my 5 and 6 year old would love these.

Jen Johnson
Jen Johnson
10 years ago

I agree that the sponsored stuff doesn’t bother me, especially when it’s interesting, so keep using “so many words”. And I’d love to win a free box!

simon
10 years ago

Set me up, yo, my kid needs something more than Yo Gabba Gabba and the closet under the stairs.

Em
Em
10 years ago

This sounds like it would make a nice gift for someone too (maybe from grandma or something). I haven’t looked at the website yet but I want to see if it has shorter than 1 year terms (3 mos for the summer? Or the dreary winter? Maybe 6 mos might be a more doable monthly commitment). I love the idea though!

Jennifer
10 years ago

WHAT’S IN THE BOX?!?!?!

Felicia
Felicia
10 years ago

Thanks sounds fun and I would love to win and check it out. Thanks.

Kristin P
Kristin P
10 years ago

What a fun idea! Would love to try this with my boys (4 and 6).

laura
laura
10 years ago

Often at birthdays and Christmas relatives will ask what to purchase for my kids and I’ll draw a total blank because the last thing they need is more toys. I think i’ll start telling them about these boxes…they look so cool!

juliloquy
10 years ago

My kids would be all over this. We did a bunch of Magic Tree House activities that sound similar to these. Thanks for the contest.

Mary
Mary
10 years ago

In July, I’ll be home with my daughter half the week and at the day job the other half. I have no idea where to begin with activities, so this sounds awesome. Wondering if you have to “subscribe” or can just purchase individual boxes after you use one up? I’ll go look and see… We wouldn’t go through them as quickly as full time at-home kids might.

bmaryk8@gmail.com

Emily
Emily
10 years ago

I WANT A BOX. (dirty)

Kristina
Kristina
10 years ago

I think this sounds fun. I think I would rather purchase individual boxes, than go in for a full subscription. I can picture them piling up on me, with undone projects getting forgotten. I think $30 a month sounds reasonable, but paying $360 for a year is a budget buster for me.

Courtney
Courtney
10 years ago

It seems like an interesting idea, but I’m not crazy about having to subscribe. If you can get a box one-off as you want them, then that would be much more appealing.

Lisa May
Lisa May
10 years ago

We’re only a week into summer vacation, and so far we’re surviving, but something tells me that those last three summer-camp-free weeks of August are going to be, um, trying. And as it gets into the 90s regularly around here this time of year, afternoons are generally about being in the air conditioning whenever possible. So bring on the crafty shit! I deal with glitter all over everything much more calmly than I deal with a bored 4 year old.

Courtney
Courtney
10 years ago

I’d like to check it out for sure, I like to get my craft on as much as the next person. Since I’m already paying so damn much to send the kids to daycare every day while I’m working, I’m not sure I would subscribe to it.

Lisa
Lisa
10 years ago

Summer staying home all day with a 3 and 5 year old??? Um, YES! I WANT!

Vicki
Vicki
10 years ago

This is a great idea! I’d love to try it out.

Julie
Julie
10 years ago

Sounds intriguing! I’m not sure if I’d spend $30 every month on this, but having something like over the summer months would be great!

Katie
Katie
10 years ago

Considering that I don’t blink at spending $20 for lunch for 4 at McDonalds, I think I would love this service! My only worry is that I’m on the outer edges of the target age range (3mths, 2, 8, 12). In a year or so? I’ll definitely subscribe.

Rochelle
Rochelle
10 years ago

Holy wow! My little guy is almost 3 (month and a half!) and I spend some days struggling with what we should do. This is perfect! I’d love to get him one of those boxes!

Beth
Beth
10 years ago

Sounds great!

Kristen
Kristen
10 years ago

I’d love to try it! I have three boys 3, 5 and 8 home 24/7 right now – I think I should win based on that alone. ;-)

Hannah
Hannah
10 years ago

I have five nieces (ranging from 1-8) and this box might save their lives (and mine) in a babysitting emergency. Sounds like an Auntie’s dream :-)

rachel
rachel
10 years ago

looks cool! thanks for the info.

Jenna
Jenna
10 years ago

This looks great, a good idea to tell grandparents for my daughters upcoming birthday.

T
T
10 years ago

Love this idea! Think I’m going to give it a try.

Sarah
Sarah
10 years ago

Looks like fun! I love that everything is included (like paintbrushes etc) because you know someone’s (my) child would be painting with a toothbrush if they didn’t do that. *ahem* Not that I would be too lazy to go buy a paintbrush for her.

Kelly
Kelly
10 years ago

Sounds fun! Creativity for the not-so-creative (me)

Jen
Jen
10 years ago

I have to be honest, at first blush I was thinking that there was no way I was going to spend $30 a month on something like that. Honestly though, by the time I got to the end of the post I not only realized that I already DO spend $30 a month on that kind of stuff and that I don’t do nearly this good of a job at it. In other words…your post was a success and I’m probably going to give it a try!

JennyA
JennyA
10 years ago

SO, ah, don’t enter me in the thingamajig. I just wanted to say that I *may* have read the whole post, even though I dont’ even have kids, because I like your posts. BUT! I’m not completely useless, because I MIGHT ALSO be forwarding this to some friends of mine who DO have kids.

Robbie
Robbie
10 years ago

This is right up my 5 yr old daughter’s alley

Crysty
Crysty
10 years ago

That would rock for me and my girls, they are about the same ages as your boys! I would like to try one month and check it out before I commit to a subscription.

Jessica
Jessica
10 years ago

I would love to win a box. Sometimes I just run out of ideas. Tried to sign up for a box and use the coupon code today, but the website wouldn’t let me. Maybe the code is broken?

Andrea
10 years ago

man, I love how you can joke about Seven whilst talking about KID CRAFTS! Ahahaha! even if I wasn’t interested in the product, which I AM, that was a good laugh. Really like the idea of this, truly, because I feel like a deer in the headlights at Michael’s.

Amy
Amy
10 years ago

Best reviewer ever. My kids would love this.

Jen
Jen
10 years ago

I’m always down with an honest review. Thinking my 3 year old would probably love this!

Amy
Amy
10 years ago

My 3 and 6 year old would love this!

Annabelle
Annabelle
10 years ago

We’d love this. I was wishing a few years ago for just such a company, and though it might make a great start up. I’m so happy to see that someone did!

Brianna
Brianna
10 years ago

This is a great idea! I have basic craft ideas, but I’m no good at getting the right stuff and executing the idea.

Melinda
Melinda
10 years ago

This is such a fantastic idea! I will pass it on to my friends with children of the appropriate age.

Nancy
Nancy
10 years ago

This sounds like fun — I don’t think I’d commit $30 in an ongoing way, but it’d be a lot of fun to try!

deb
deb
10 years ago

What a great idea – hope the company is successful:)

Melissa
Melissa
10 years ago

Sounds like a great product!

CK
CK
10 years ago

Holy lands – I think this is brilliant!! I struggle with ideas to do with my kids – and I always have the best plans that fall more than short, because the planning, shopping, keeping all items together… AYE! But knowing that everything is in a box…. WAYYY cool. Even if I don’t win the box, might consider it regardless. The mom that thought of this gets TWO thumbs up! And I love that I discovered this through you – otherwise I would have never known!

Kim Brown
Kim Brown
10 years ago

I’d like to try it! I also think this would be a great gift from a grand parent, maybe they should look into marketing that way?

Jodie
Jodie
10 years ago

Great ideas!

As far as your “what’s in the BOX?” comment, all I could think of is this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WhwbxEfy7fg

Warning: LANGUAGE

Warning: HILARIOUS