Boxes here, boxes there, boxes, boxes everywhere! Every thing these days seems to have a subscription box to the rescue. From make up to food to perfumes to kids’ activity boxes – there are boxes and boxes to choose from. In a booming consumer economy like ours – where people are well travelled and well read, it is a great way to explore and discover options in any market. Mumbai Mom has tested out various boxes – from beauty subscription boxes to meal kit boxes, but has purposefully shied away from one category – KIDS!
Surprised? Well, the explanation is a bit convoluted but do hear me out. I’ve always found the entire ‘educative toys’ economy a bit overwhelming. Call it the hindsight of a second time mother, but flash cards and mid-brain activation systems make even hairs waxed out of my hand – stand! I am from the ‘let children be children’ school of thought. And therefore, I never gave any thought to getting kids’ activity boxes for our children.This rather reckless assumption came to a screeching halt when the good people at Flintobox contacted us for a review. I was pretty upfront about my attitude about such boxes and the fact that I would only do an honest review (which this is going to be – and it is NOT a paid review).
Call it the hindsight of a second time mother, but flash cards and mid-brain activation systems make even hairs waxed out of my hand – stand! I am from the ‘let children be children’ school of thought.
So here goes, Mumbai Mom’s unflinchingly honest review of the Flintobox : Kids’ Activity Boxes .
Kids’ Activity Boxes
A brief background of the Flintobox service : it is a monthly subscription box with up to six graded activities for children – there are different boxes for different age segments. One can visit the Flintobox website and choose the subscription based on the age group of child.
The Flintobox that I received for review was for the 2-3 age group since my son is almost three years old. The theme of the box that I received was ‘Amazing Animals’. There were 6 different activities that were neatly packed away in 6 separate well labelled bags. I was very impressed by the size of the box – it was quite compact for the number of activities that it was carrying.
As previously mentioned, the activity box that I chose was for the 2-3 age group.
The first activity that we opened out was a simple puzzle set ( 3-5 pieces ) of different jungle animals and their young ones. What surprised me most was the quality of the puzzle. I am not going to mince words here – there are children’s puzzles out there which have wood splinters or are made out of bendy styrofoam like material that somehow never fits together. Therefore the quality of the product itself was something of a revelation for me. Not to mention that the puzzles were all well designed – in terms of the art work, execution and even the so called ‘cognitive’ learning for the child. And hullo, my little monster actually sat and played with the puzzle for 30 mins+ flat! For me that was a bigger WIN than anything – keeping a child engaged and entertained without resolving to tomfoolery on a screen device is a great achievement for any parent.
The other five boxes included innovative games : ‘Where I live’ was a silhouette matching game of animals with their habitats; ’Little Alligator’ was a fun dress up game with a cute costume – one that both my 3 year old and 9 year old played with and had a blast with; ‘Snake lines’ was a threading activity – with some innovative usage of cardboard tubes ; ‘Animal Prints’ was a sensory messy play activity which came equipped with its own gloves, apron and animal cut outs ; ‘Sounds in the Jungle’ was a lovely little book with a story about all the sounds that jungle animals made.
Learning and Engagement
During and after every activity, parents have the choice of using a guideline to assess how much the child has learnt though the activity. If you use this as a guideline and don’t fret over it – its a useful tool at best. There are also ideas about how to extend the activity forward – which I found mighty interesting and useful. To turn a game around on it’s head is after all what creativity is all about. Furthermore, all the activities in the box followed the same theme and design sensibility – and this I think ensured that the child could seamlessly take the learnings from one activity to the next.
Without going into a deep-dive analysis about what my child learnt through the activities in Flintobox, I can very confidently say that whatever he learnt (Lion’s little one is called cub – bingo!) was in a fun way. More than anything, I was truly happy with the fact that my kiddo was spending time doing fun, creative stuff rather than zipping around the house in all manners of four wheelers (Don’t ask!).
The Research and Development team at Flintobox clearly spends a lot of time in designing these boxes. As a parent I found the attention to detail very good and even the materials used being of a superior quality. I can say that I am a convert to the idea of subscription boxes as opposed to draining out approximately the same amount of money on one piece of Made in China plastic.
However, there are caveats : Boxes of activities arriving every month would mean that much space requirement in your home; Most of these activities require some amount of parental guidance or presence – do not expect these to be babysitters like the iPad; Mumbai Mom has not tested the boxes for older kids – so no comments on that.