*** 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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elz
elz
10 years ago

I’ve seen a few of these craft boxes and they really intrigue me. I’ve never signed on though. I’d love to try this one out. Changes?- how about instead of the gift for mom they just throw in some good chocolate?! Or a margarita mix, I’m not picky.

Candace
Candace
10 years ago

This sounds like possible fun. Though it would be nice if they had an every other month subscription.

jodie
jodie
10 years ago

Ohhh pick me, pick me!! My five and three year olds would LOVE a package full of projects! What a cool idea.

Celeste
Celeste
10 years ago

Sounds like fun – but I’ll momentarily need one for bigger kids.

BabyKMama
BabyKMama
10 years ago

My son is almost 3-1/2, and loves doing “projects”! This would be great to have during the summer, until he starts preschool (and they can clean up the mess!)

sara
10 years ago

Love this idea! And that it comes with a book. Library building helps make it worth it.

Katie
Katie
10 years ago

This is a great idea! When I get my boys at home (since I work full-time, that’s the weekends for me) I find that they lose interest in Lego’s and movies quickly, yet love to create things. And I’m not creative, so this is something I’m very interested in.!

Andrea
Andrea
10 years ago

Can I just say that I adore the book, “Giving Thanks.” The Amazon reviewer was way off base. I think Riley hit the nail on the head if he was reminded of time spent with his dad.

Christina M
10 years ago

I am so down with this concept. I have a four and a five year old and I spend a metric butt ton on craft supplies each month sometimes with absolutely no project or *clutches pearls* theme in mind… just flying by the seat of our pants. So, yeah. This would be neat.

Bethany
Bethany
10 years ago

After spending a week on a car trip with my BFF and her two kids, I want to win this to give to her and to celebrate her awesome mom skills! I cannot believe she deals with them every day – I have still not recovered after over a week at home!

Kirsten
10 years ago

This is perfect for me! I’m surrounded by crafty people and always wishing for “help” in this matter.

jennifer merz
jennifer merz
10 years ago

Sounds awesome!

Stacy
Stacy
10 years ago

My niece and nephew would love this!

Sheila
Sheila
10 years ago

I would love this! My 5 year old likes crafts, and pre-defined ones would help a lot! Fingers crossed!!

kelly
kelly
10 years ago

This sounds like fun!

Valerie
Valerie
10 years ago

I am the same way – not too creative but have already wasted so much money on crafty supplies with no fricking clue what to do with it. Not very satisfying! I also agree that wasting 30$ a month is easy but committing to spending 30$ every month is something different. This might a be a good gift idea for grandparents or other family members looking for ideas.

Ter
Ter
10 years ago

I nominated you for the sunshine award. Please see your blog listing at http://suburbancreampuff.wordpress.com/2012/06/20/a-bit-behind-but-worth-it/

Really cool idea, btw. We don’t have kids yet ::pout:: but something to squirrel away for later!

Stacie
Stacie
10 years ago

This concept sounds like great fun! I love the mix of activities. Just what we need for long summer days… :)

Susan S.
10 years ago

Day 2 of summer vacation and I’m already thinking “How do I keep these kids occupied?” This sounds like a great idea!

shannon
shannon
10 years ago

Sounds awesome- would subscribe and try this definitely if only they delivered to Canada (sigh).

Kristin H
Kristin H
10 years ago

Throwing my hat in the ring because it sounds neat!

Carol
Carol
10 years ago

This sounds like a great idea.

Melissa A.
Melissa A.
10 years ago

Looks like a good idea. Thanks for the review.

Marty St Laurent
Marty St Laurent
10 years ago

This would be great for “the grandchildren are visiting for a week” box!!

Melissa Anderson
10 years ago

This is a great idea, although I think the cost is a bit steep. I could see maybe doing a summer subscription, to keep them entertained for those months, but it’s a bix expensive to do all year round. I’d love to win a free box here or their annual subscription now that I’m subscribed as well. Pick me!

Kelly
Kelly
10 years ago

Great idea. I am a working mom and don’t have time to run and buy supplies for each project I want to do with my kids…or think of a project for that matter.

Sara
10 years ago

Single Mom. Two boys (ages 3 and 6, whad’ya know). This sounds PERFECT for us!

Tessie
10 years ago

I’m sort of loving the “grab bag” subscription trend. Count me in to win!

adequatemom
10 years ago

What a neat product. I am not eligible to win, being Canadian, but just wanted to applaud the concept. Hooray for crafty kids and big-dreaming moms!

Heather
10 years ago

I can see why you would want to participate in that, it looks like a wonderful product.

zig
zig
10 years ago

its sounds interesting. my kids like getting things in the mail

Tia
Tia
10 years ago

I signed up for a cheaper version alot like this years ago. This one looks alot nicer so I’d would love to try it out. My son would love getting something like this in the mail.

Nikki B
10 years ago

This is an awesome concept – would love to try it out.

bessie.viola
10 years ago

This is way cool – I struggle with finding fun things to do with my daughter, and I think she’d like this a lot.

Also, HI!

Jessi
10 years ago

Looks like fun, my son would love this. Thanks!

Tammie
10 years ago

I guess it’s a good idea in the sense that it gives you the tools to do something creative, I think I might buy it once or on a one off. Not sure I would want something coming to me every month… things would start to pile up and this would stress me out.

Jenny
Jenny
10 years ago

I want this! Er, I mean, may I please have this, please. :-)

rebecca c
rebecca c
10 years ago

OMG yes- sign me up for this box. I am craft-challenged and am often shown up by the preshcool teachers who send my kids home with all kinds of cool handmade stuff. My claim to fame are two felt Moose and Zee puppets that are now missing assorted eyes and ears. I need a box!

Melanie
Melanie
10 years ago

I’d love to try this out – I wish they had different boxes geared towards younger kids though! My daughter is only 1.5 but I still need activity ideas!

Erin
10 years ago

Very cool idea. Going to check it out now. Chalkboard painting cans was last kid project here that went awry all over our sunroom carpet.

Cori
Cori
10 years ago

I’ve been wanting to try something like this f

Deb
Deb
10 years ago

A great idea for activities to do with my grandaughter when she visits.

Masha
Masha
10 years ago

This sounds amazing and actually very reasonable given the range of activities. I think I’d like to try it. My 3.5 year old loves “projects!”

Heather
Heather
10 years ago

I love this concept and want to be thrown in the ring for the givaway!

I have to say though, I love the Se7en reference. My husband and I say it all the time.

Sharon
Sharon
10 years ago

I would love a service like this! I have shelves of art stuff all given to my kids at various birthdays, etc, but I never know what to DO with the stuff! “Here, put stickers on paper, kids. No, it’ll be fun, just like it was every day last week.”

Anyway, would love this service. Can’t afford it. But pick me randomly pick me!

Marisa
Marisa
10 years ago

I’d love to try this because I am severely lacking in the creativity department.

Windi
Windi
10 years ago

This would be awesome to have when my 4 year old nephew visits, especially since I’m now a little distracted with our 7 month old.

Jessica
10 years ago

I love the idea of this box, but for me it’s a bit too much to spend on a monthly basis. Mostly because I think Jacob is still too young to enjoy it but it’s something I would try out in a year or so when I know he could do everything in the box!

Ashley
10 years ago

This is brilliant! Even though my oldest is almost 8, he would dig this :)

Laura
Laura
10 years ago

Very cool idea!!! I shudder to think of the multiples of $30 that I’ve wasted trying to figure out activities to do with my son…this is a great solution. Thanks for the review!