Happy February, everyone!
This was quite a treat because there are fewer things my kids love more than making cards. Do you remember what a hit the Surplus Sticker Upcycling Project was in our house? We do handmade cards whenever we can, and often, the girls will make them without my even being involved (hurrah). Last Christmas, I set up a card station in our playroom to make various pop-up and lacing cards, which kept them occupied for a fair bit of time in the post-school wintry advent afternoons.
Each Valentine's Day, though, we usually dash off quick store-bought candy tags for their classmates. We've thought of hand-making cards but the idea of writing "Happy Valentine's Day 20" times is daunting, especially for preschoolers and kindergarteners, when all they really want to do is sign their name and plaster every square inch with stickers and gems.
Last week, the good people at Kiwi Crate asked if I'd like to review their Handmade Valentines mini-crate and I said yes. The girls were so excited when the little crates arrived in the post.
I love the artwork.
And the illustrated instructions.
Here's what came in each crate:
plus 24 shapes in a good mix of feminine/masculine/neutral designs
to punch out - no scissors required.
There are 24 pop-up card blanks
that fold out
to glue those little shapes onto (that's what the glue stick is for)
to make a super-quick Valentine's card.
There is also a pair of plain cardstock cards with which to make your own pop-up cards from scratch, and instructions to teach you how. Jenna and Emily turned theirs into cards for their teachers.
The instructions claim that this is a low grownup-involvement activity, and we found this to be true.
Kate, who is five, made her Valentines on her own. She only needed me to show her how to fold the first card, after which she told me, "I can do them by myself."
Which she did, systematically going down her class list of names to ensure she didn't leave anyone out. Did you notice those pink bunny shapes? None of them made it onto Kate's cards. She saved them to give to Bunny. She also managed to convince Jenna to surrender her own bunny shapes. One must have priorities, I suppose.
but no - it worked perfectly well and, unlike white glue or double-sided tape (which would've been viable alternatives), left no mess or annoying scraps of backing paper to clean up.
Jenna, who loves sorting, organized all her punch-outs on the floor before beginning her card-making.
All her cards had gems on the back.
Like Kate, she painstakingly completed each card before moving on to the next.
Emily opted for an assembly-line approach.
When all our cards were made, we broke out the candy.
Emily stuck hers on with glue dots.
Then we packed the completed Valentines back into the crate to bring to school. We love how they turned out, and how quick they were to put together.
And we absolutely loved not having to write Happy Valentine's Day 20 (+) times :)
This is the third Kiwi Crate I've reviewed here on ikatbag. See my other reviews here and here. (Incidentally, a mini crate contains materials to make one project, while a single crate contains materials to make a few projects based on a common theme.) As with the other two crates, I am impressed with the quality of materials and artwork in this one. The punch-out shapes are hopelessly adorable. All of us had immediate favorites (you already know Kate's). We love the thought that went into making all the bits and bobs user-friendly and low on fussy fiddliness: the shapes could be punched out (rather than cut out with scissors), the embellishments were self-adhesive, and the glue stick was mess-free. The markers added a lot to the kit, even though it would've been a complete kit without them - the kids enjoyed the convenience of not having to locate our own at home to use. The ink didn't smudge, even on the red front of the cards. The girls each finished a full set of cards in an hour to an hour-and-a-half (depending on the number of cards they made).
A couple of things to note:
- This mini-crate, which costs US$14.95, comes with enough materials to make 24 Valentines (and one additional pop-up card from scratch). If your child's class has more than 24 students, you will need more than one crate. Emily's class has 28 students but Kate's has only 18, so we were able to poach enough surplus materials from Kate's crate to supplement Emily's.
- While Kiwi Crate activities are designed for the 3-7 year age group, older kids will probably enjoy them as well. That said, younger kids will need help with gluing on the little punch-out shapes, and holding them in place for the few seconds it took for them to dry. They will also need help with both punching out that curved slot with the little heart (see picture above) and tucking the front flap of the card into that curved slot. We found that it was easy to rip the corners if the kids followed their natural instinct to peel the curved piece back (rather than bend the red front flap to tuck behind it).
For this week, enjoy free shipping on all Kiwi Crate a la carte orders over $25 (subscriptions always ship free). Use the code "SHIP25" at the checkout. This code is valid until Friday Feb 7 2014. To be sure to receive your Handmade Valentines mini-crate in time for Valentine's Day, you should order by Monday, Feb 10 at 9am PST to receive it on Thursday, Feb 13.
Note: this was a free sample generously offered by Kiwi crate to us for review. The views and opinions in this post are my own.