How Does KiwiCo Work? “Start With This Crate” Subscription, Store, Gifting + more!

KiwiCo is one of the pioneers in modern kid’s subscription boxes, having launched in 2011. With time has come a ton of offerings and options to sift through in choosing what makes the most sense for your family.

How does KiwiCo Work?

Highlights from this post, click to jump to any section in particular:

  • KiwiCo creates STEAM based activities and products for kids of all ages
  • I love shopping the KiwiCo store by interest or age for gifts or when looking for something specific
  • KiwiCo has 9 subscription lines to choose from based off age and interest
  • You can preview all Panda Crates, choose what to start with, and see what comes next; for all other subscription lines you can select which crate to start with below and each crate afterwards will be a surprise
  • Gifting and large group options are available as well
  • Use KiwiCo discount code TCM for 50% off your first month of a new subscription (NOTE: Panda Crate is only 20% off) here!
kiwico panda crate plus review

Generally speaking, KiwiCo works via their subscription lines, and also via their storefront where they sell individual items. But within each of those there’s some nuance and things to know, which we'll cover in this post. They also have options for gifting and schools/groups.

Watch How KiwiCo Works Video:

Click here to watch + subscribe on Youtube!

KiwiCo Store

KiwiCo’s store is probably one of my favorite places to shop for kids learning toys and activities. 

It spans from newborns to adults with one of the easiest to navigate interfaces. 

You can see current trending products, fan favorites, curations based on interest or age.

They offer free shipping for orders of $49 and return within 60 days.

It’s pretty easy to find projects and activities for kids that are educational, hands on, and intersect their age and interests perfectly. 

The other thing I love about their storefront are the bulk party packs. They have options for birthday parties or holidays with multiple kids from capes to paper doll kits. 

You can also find some individual crates from their subscription line for sale, at a higher price than if you were a subscriber. But some people don’t mind paying a premium in exchange for knowing what you’re getting.

These do go on sale for Black Friday typically too, but discounts on it are rarer than their subscription line.

KiwiCo Subscription

KiwiCo’s has 9 subscription lines to choose from! You can also use code TCM for 50% off your first month of a new subscription (NOTE: Panda Crate is only 20% off) when you click here!

Subscription lines

During the early years there’s basically a set line for the age, so Panda Crate for newborns up to 3 years old, then it jumps to Koala crate for 3 to 4 year olds, and finally the Kiwi Crate is for 5 to 8 year olds.

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Once your child turns 6 you can choose between the Atlas (up to 11 years old)  or Yummy crate (up to 14).

Children ages 9 to 14 have the Tinker (up to 14 years old) and Doodle (up to 16 years old) crate to choose from.

And finally the Eureka Crate is for 12+ and the Maker is for 14 year olds and beyond. 

In other words: as a 14 year old, you have 5 different lines to choose from. Obviously these crates are curated by interest as the kids get older, but they also have a quick + easy quiz to help you choose. 

The big thing with their subscription line historically is that you don’t know what you’re getting. While the subscription lines offer previews of their crates – they don’t show you everything you can expect.

However in 2023 they dropped an interesting update: the ability to choose which crate you'd like to start your subscription with!

But there's a catch: KiwiCo's “Start With This Crate” option is only available for some of their lines and some of their most popular crates (keep reading for the full selection + how to access!).

This is a huge announcement and means subscribers are getting somewhere with more control and insight into KiwiCo subscriptions.

Historically, when you subscribe, you don't really know what you're getting, and every month is a surprise. You cannot preview all of the crates for an age range or line in advance, but rather see a small sampling. With this new option, you'll know your first crate.

Which KiwiCo Crates can I choose from?

Panda Crate (0 to 36 months)

Panda Crate now lets you preview every single crate in their line! Meaning you can subscribe at a specific age to receive that specific crate! This is HUGE and something I know so many families have been asking for!

kiwico panda crate plus review

Koala Crate (3 – 4 year olds)

Koala Crate allows you to start with:

I LOVE this though since that’s one of their most popular crates in the storefront, which typically retails for $29.95 + shipping. So it’s great you can choose to start with that which automatically gives you a discount, even if you only do a monthly subscription (and you can use promo code TCM on a new subscription to bring the price down even more!)

Kiwi Crates (5 year olds to 8 year olds)

Kiwi Crates are a sampling of the STEAM crates before KiwiCo's projects get more complex and niche. Future lines tend to focus more on the science, art, or engineering; while in Kiwi Crates you still get a variety as you can see from the “start with me” crates available (starred my favorites):

Tinker Crates ( 9 year olds and up)

Tinker Crate currently offers one of the most options to choose from, with a dedicated landing pages to all the options when you click here.

Currently you can choose to start with the following Tinker Crates:

  • Best selling domino machine,
  • Hydraulic claw,
  • Spin art machine,
  • Levitating lantern,
  • Bubble lamp,
  • Flywheel flip car, or their
  • Glowing fireplace for the holidays

Eureka Crates (12 years old and up)

Eureka Crates lean heavily on the science and engineering side of STEAM and have some of the coolest projects. I starred a few of my favorites to start with:

Doodle Crate (9 to 16 years old and beyond)

Doodle Crates are great for the crafters and younger makers.

Currently you can only start the Doodle Crate with the paint pouring option here.

Maker Crate (14 year olds and up)

Maker Crates by KiwiCo are for the “makers,” crafters, and creatives. They offer some really fun and beautiful projects that double as home decor.

They currently allow you to start with two of their Maker Crates:

Setting up a subscription

When signing up for a subscription you have a few choices to make along the way though:

  • Length of subscription/number of crates: Crates arrive at a fixed time, so these coincide
  • Add ons: Some subscription lines have add-on book options
  • Recurring or non-recurring: Recurring subscriptions are often slightly discounted 

kiwico panda crate plus review

Subscription discount

You can use discount code TCM for 50% off your first month of a new subscription (NOTE: It's 20% for Panda Crate's!)

KiwiCo Gifting 

KiwiCo offers several gifting options on their main menu

New moms will love the “baby registry” option. And our grandparents have done the “gift a subscription” option in the past too. 

They also have a “group gift” option where anyone can set up a group gift. If you don’t reach your desired gift amount, the sum gathered will be given to the recipient as a gift card.

In other words: say you want to give a subscription with a few people, you set up the group gift, and people can give what they want to it. If for whatever reason you don’t reach the desired amount for the subscription term you set, the money just converts to a gift card for the recipient to use for a smaller subscription or at the KiwiCo storefront

Lastly, they have the option to explore their “Gift guide” section which suggests a nice combination of subscription and storefront options.

KiwiCo for Schools + Groups

Educators get a discount when ordering 25-99 crates in bulk. You can also inquire for a custom quote, subscription, etc. 

Final thoughts

KiwiCo truly offers one of the easiest customer experiences for finding what you’re looking for given how expansive their offerings are. 

I think they’re moving in a great direction allowing customers to pick their first crate and hopefully we'll continue to see more strides for knowing exactly which crates we're getting in advance with a KiwiCo subscription!

Don't forget to use KiwiCo discount code TCM for 50% off your first month of a new subscription (20% off Panda Crate)!

kiwico panda crate plus review