Kiwi Crate Review ā€“ Treasure Chest


Every month when this little green box shows up at the front door, we know we’re in for loads of fun. The January Kiwi Crate Treasure Chest box did not disappoint!

Right from the start the kids saw the “X” stickers and were ecstatic at the idea of a treasure hunt.

The Kiwi Crate Treasure Chest kit included:

  • a wooden treasure chest project
  • an assortment of different patterned paper to make our own treasure maps and imagination maps
  • stickers to decorate the maps
  • colored pencils
  • a regular pencil with an adorable Steve the Kiwi eraser top
  • a ruler; and the booklet full of activities
  • fun facts and even a DIY Jolly Roger!

Sage loves to read to her little brothers, so she enthusiastically read us the comic from the booklet.

They couldn’t wait to create their own treasure maps! Liam spent time really studying the parts of a map to make sure his was just right.

Noah was all about building the treasure chest. He was able to assemble the chest with very minimal help. This chest has continued to be a source of joy long after we finished all the projects from this kit. Noah proudly displays his chest in his room, when it’s not hidden away full of treasure waiting to be discovered again.

Liam insisted on pulling out his pirate costume from a past Halloween and dressing the part for these activities.

Noah is busy at work creating his own treasure map.

Here is Sage’s map, which included her room as well as the Great Room where we began our quest.
I liked that this kit introduced different parts of a map, such as the legend and the compass rose. It gave us the opportunity to really discuss direction and location and how important it is to be able to read a map. In this day and age, where everyone has a cell phone or tablet equipped with GPS, it’s still imperative we show children how to read and understand actual maps so it doesn’t become a lost art. The booklet also talked about the other types of maps such as a weather map, star maps and topographical maps. The children were fascinated to learn about all the different types.

Captain Liam working hard on his own personal Jolly Roger, complete with an “X” to mark the spot where the treasure be buried. šŸ˜‰

Sage knows that all good Jolly Rogers come with the ever dreaded skull and crossbones. Shiver me timbers!

Pirate Noah opted for a more direct approach to identifying his ship by writing his name in large print across the front.

Pirate Sage shows us that the most important thing to a pirate is collecting dubloons (gold coins), which she prominently displayed on her Jolly Roger. ARRRRRGG!

The kids loved the pirate themedĀ Treasure Chest projects. If you haven’t tried Kiwi Crate yet, you can get 30% off your first month of Kiwi Crate using coupon code SHARE30.

What did you think of these Treasure Chest projects?

St. Patrickā€™s Day Fun Facts

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Here are some fun St. Patrick’s Day facts for you and your kids:

  • St. Patrick’s Day is aĀ national holiday in Ireland, and is celebrated around the world to honor the patron saint in Ireland, St. Patrick. Legend says that St. Patrick drove away all the snakes from Ireland. There are no snakes in Ireland today!
  • On St. Patrick’s Day in Ireland, people traditionally wear aĀ small bunch of shamrocksĀ on their jackets or caps.
  • Legend says thatĀ each leaf of the cloverĀ on a shamrock means something: the first is forĀ hope, the second forĀ faith, the third forĀ loveĀ and the fourth forĀ luck.
  • Irish fairies have been said to put a pot of gold at the end of each rainbow with leprechauns guarding it!
  • You’ll typically see a rainbow when the sun is behind you and rain is in front of you. Rainbows form when the sunlight behind you hits the raindrops in front of you at a certain angle. The different colors that make up the sunlight separate and form a rainbow. When you see sunlight normally, it looks white, but is actually made up of the spectrum of all colors including red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet!

Here isĀ a fun leprechaun hat craft that my kids put together for St. Patty’s day.

How cute is the rainbow themed straw ladder! J

Darby Girl ā€“ January 2016 Review

If any of you were with me when I started Carefree Crafts in 2012, you’ll know my daughter Sage, who was then 5, was crazy about crafts. She has evolved from working on simple crafts kits that we began creating on Carefree Crafts, to more advance crafts now that she is 8 years old. We ordered a Darby Girl subscription last month, knowing it was for pre-tweens and teenagers.

The Darby Girl Subscription is $19 every 2 months. I like the idea of a bi-monthly box, especially since homework, ballet, swim, and basketball keeps Sage busy during the week!

Here is the box that we got. I really love the teal blue color and chevron pattern on the sides and back of the box.

darby girl january 2016 box

I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect from this Darby Girl box, and we got everything you needed to make 2 craft projects. You could go out and buy all of these supplies yourself, but it was nice to have it all assembled and delivered to our door!

darby girl january 2016 box contents

This was the information card (front and back).

darby girl january 2016 info card frontdarby girl january 2016 info card back

Darby Girl Project #1 ā€“ AmiGami Rabbit

Our first project was an AmiGami Rabbit. I have not heard of AmiGami before, but it looked like a pretty appealing project for my daughter. When she opened the package, she was excited about all of the cool colored paper and stickers she could use to decorate her AmiGami Rabbit. This project retails for ~$6 on Amazon.

darby girl january 2016 amigami rabbit

To make your AmiGami, Sage punched out the perforated cardstock to attach ears, tail, and tongue with the included yellow fasteners. It was a bit tricky figuring out how to assemble this using the instructions, but then we just looked at the front of the package and created our own AmiGami Rabbit. There were a bunch of stickers that were included too, as well as additional cardstock decorations. I loved the curling effect on the purple paper strips. This is a project that your child could do over and over again, which is a nice touch. Sage will be able to use this as a decoration in her room and will go nicely because it is pink!

darby girl january 2016 amigami

Darby Girl Project #2 ā€“ Emoji Clay Magnets

The second project was DIY Emoji Magnets out of clay. The materials included:

darby girl january 2016 sculpey yellow clay

darby girl january 2016 2 inch metal cookie cutter

darby girl january 2016 sharpie markers

darby girl january 2016 promag magnets
darby girl january 2016 liquid fusion

With these materials, we took the yellow polymer clay, rolled it out to an 1/8 inch thickness using a rolling pin (I had fondant rolling pin that helps to roll material to an even thickness). We used the metal cookie cutter to cut out the round yellow face shapes, and put them on a small cookie sheet. The instructions said to put them in the oven at 275 degrees for 10 minutes.

darby girl january 2016 sculpey yellow clay circles

Once they came out, it gave off a bit of a plasticky smell, but I turned on our fan hood, and the smell was gone in a matter of minutes!

We let the clay shapes cool for a couple of hours, and used the included Sharpie Markers and Emoji face templates as a guide to draw our Emoji faces. The last step was to use the Liquid Fusion glue to attach the magnets to the back, which worked like a charm.

darby girl january 2016 diy emoji magnets

The total retail value of this month’s Darby Girl box was ~25+. For $19, this box was a pretty good deal, given how cute the projects were. Sage and I especially loved the Emoji magnets!

What do you think of Darby Girl? I think it would make a great gift for that pre-tween or teenager who loves DIY and craft projects.

You can get your first month free with a 1-year subscription using this link!

Happy Valentineā€™s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Here’s a fun pink Heart Owl Valentine’s Box that we made for Sage’s 3rd grade Valentine’s Day party.

valentines box owl pink

We made this owl using a large heart paper punch and scrapbook paper to make paper hearts. We covered the front and sides of a box (you could use a cereal box) with pink paper, and placed the paper hearts on the box using a glue stick. The owl’s head was made using pink hearts, and the bottom of the owl was made using varying colors of pink scrapbook paper.

We tucked 2 pink hearts for the wings on the side of the box and used circle punches for the eyes (white and black). The orange nose was made using an orange heart that we turned upside down. We had a red ribbon as a decoration for the owl’s “hair”.

Sage made the “love bug” that is sitting on a the owl’s body, and attached it with pink accordion paper slips to give the bug a 3D effect.

We cut a slot in the top of the box with a knife so her classmates could put valentine’s cards in the box while the box was standing up.

Sage was so proud of her Valentine’s box! Perfect for 3rd grade!

valentines box owl pink class

Valentine’s Day Coupons from Kiwi Crate, Little Passports, and Happy Trunk

Do you still need a Valentine’s day gift for the little ones in your life? Don’t miss out on these great kids subscription box coupons!

Kiwi CrateĀ Valentine’s Day Coupon

Get 40% off your first month of Kiwi Crate with coupon code KIWILOVE.

Valid: 2/11-2/15

Little Passports Valentine’s Day Coupon

From now until Wednesday, February 17th, Little Passports is offering 15% off any subscription plan! You can take advantage of Little Passports’ Sweet DealĀ by using coupon codeĀ SWEET at check out.


The Happy TrunkĀ Valentine’s Day Coupon

Send love with The Happy Trunk! Use coupon code LOVE20 to get 20% off your order.


Kiwi Crate Review ā€“ Shadow and Light

We got the Kiwi Crate Shadow and Light box and it included some really cool science and craft-themed projects.

Kiwi Crate is a delivers all the materials you need to inspire your kids to see themselves as scientists, artists, creators, and makers. The box is geared towards kids ages 5-8, but Noah (age 4) loves it and can work on the projects with some help! Kiwi Crate is one of the few kids craft subscription boxes that includes enough materials so all 3 of my kids can work on each of the projects!

This box included materials for 2 projects:

  1. My Shadow Puppets
  2. My Kaleidoscope

Kiwi Crate always includes their “Explore!” magazine that includes information about your projects and other projects you can work on with materials around your house.

Project #1: My Shadow Puppets

The My Shadow Puppets craft project included punch-out cardstock shapes, colored popsicle sticks, brads, and illustrated instructions. Here, Noah is working on assembly the snail shadow puppet. This project did require help from an adult, because the kids had a hard time manipulating the brads.

The puppets were pretty easy to make, and each puppet was attached to 2 popsicle sticksto allow the puppets to “move” up and down. This snail and shark were a hit with Noah and Liam ā€“ they love animals and sea creatures specifically!

Noah also put together a cloud with a wheel with symbols for day and night and symbols for weather.

Project #2: My Kaleidoscope

To use the shadow puppets, we needed to assemble the My Kaleidoscope project. The kaleidoscope was created using the included flashlight (Noah keeps this in his room at night once all of the nights are turned off!). Here, you see him using a “slide” with a picture he drew using the markers that were included in the Kiwi Crate.

Sage got a chance to color in one of the pre-printed fish shapes on the transparent material.

The Finished Product: Shadow and Light!

Once the kids finished their shadow puppets, we went into a dark room and had a puppet show.

It took Noah a minute to realize that he had to get closer to the light source to make a shadow, and he loved it!

We are completely in love with Kiwi Crate. This Shadow and Light kit was perfect and included projects that the kids will be able to use and play with over and over again! I liked have materials that helped my explain how light and shadows work to my kids!

You can get $10 off your first month using this link!

Valentine’s Day Craft Kits Available!

We have a limited number of ourĀ Close to My Heart Craft Kits available!

close to my heart valentines craft kit

This Valentine’s Day Craft KitĀ includes the following 6 craft projects:

  • Valentine Truck Mailbox Craft
  • Puppy Lacing Craft
  • Sweetheart Bears Door Hanger Craft
  • Heart Necklace Craft
  • Valentine Monkey Bookmark Craft
  • Beary Special Magnet Craft

Order now so you can get ready for Valentine’s day now!

We ship out in 1-2 business days so you can expect to receive your order in ~3-5 days from the time of order.

Please let us knowĀ if you have any questions!

Green Kid Crafts Review ā€“ Volcanoes, Crystals & Gems

We got the Green Kid Crafts Volcanoes, Crystals & Gems discovery box a little while ago (November, I think)! My kids really loved this box so I wanted to make sure we shared it with you!

If you’re not familiar with Green Kid Crafts, Green Kid Crafts delivers 3-4 eco-friendly, educational activity kits for $19.95/month or less! This box ships via USPS and can be addressed to your child!

This Green Kids Craft box included 5 projects this month: a Create Your Own Crystal kit, a Rock Excavation pack, a Make Your Own Volcano experiment, the Eruption Abstract Art kit and a Geode kit. Each project is neatly packaged separately in zip lock bags (no need to dig around the box looking for materials!) and includes an illustrated instruction card.

Project: Eruption Abstract Art

Here are the materials for the Eruption Abstract Art kit. It included a strip of paint pots, a paint brush, a marble, and black paper.

This Eruption Abstract Art, also known as marble painting, was a huge hit! Noah loved being in charge of just how much of each color was used and where they were placed.

He could hardly wait to add the marble to the box and start shaking it all around. We found that dancing really helped shake it the best. šŸ˜‰

After removing the marble, Noah decided there wasn’t nearly enough paint. We dipped the brush, held it between the box top and opening and tapped the brush on the edge of the box. This really helped give his masterpiece the Jackson Pollack effect, and using the lid as a shield helped us keep any splatter outside the box to a minimum.

We were given just the black paper with the kit, but Noah wanted to see what it would look like on white, so we tried it. He was so proud of his creations and couldn’t wait to display them in his room.

Project: Crystal Growing Kit

The materials for the Crystal Growing Kit included a pipe cleaner, white yarn, borax powder, and a round stick.

Noah chose a spiral shape for his pipe cleaner, and wanted to make it “super greenā€”just like the TNMT Mutagen”.

After bringing that water to a boil, we transferred it to the measuring cup so Noah could add the Borax all by himself. He said it was like he was a scientist cooker (chef).

He added some drops of the green coloring and stirred. It wasn’t quite green enough, so he added a few more drops. And then, a few more.

All mixed up and ready for the pipe cleaner.

And now we played the waiting game. We taped the stick to the top of the jar to hold it in place and keep the pipe cleaner from touching the sides.

The hardest part about the crystal growing kit was finding the patience to wait the 24+ hours for the crystals to form. But this actually worked!

Project: Rock Excavation Kit

The materials for the Rock Excavation Kit included a rock mineral and gem embedded in plaster, wooden “chisel” sticks, a magnifying glass, and instructions.

This excavation kit was a smashing success! When we first examined the craft kits included in the box, this was the activity Noah was most excited to get to. I did love and appreciate that this project was small and could be done in one sitting ā€“ and we had the Green Kid Crafts box handy to keep the mess contained!

His older siblings have tried other rock digging kits before, so he was ecstatic that it was finally his turn (as you can tell by that huge grin).

This activity was a bit more time consuming than anticipated, but that was not an issue whatsoever. Noah really enjoyed every minute of chipping away at the block, anxiously hoping that the next chip would reveal which gems were hidden. Dig, chip, scrape, brush, repeat.

After much digging and being dust covered from head to toe, he was now the proud owner of two beautiful rocksā€”an aventurine (brownish glass containing sparkling particles of copper or gold) and what we believe to be an amethyst. He carried around those rocks and the excavation tools (pick, brush and tiny magnifying glass) for days.

Project: Erupting Volcano

The materials for the Erupting Volcano project included Crayola Model Magic Clay, baking soda, lava rocks, a cup, and a food coloring tablet.

As most kids will tell you, there isn’t a more exciting simple science experiment than creating your own volcano! Liam used the molding clay to form the volcano around the top part of a water bottle, and used the included lava rocks to decorate around the bottom edge. He poured the baking soda inside the volcano and was ready to begin.

After placing the coloring changing tablet in the vinegar, he used the cup that was included to pour small amounts of the vinegar into the top of the volcano. He and Noah were delighted as the pink “lava” erupted down the sides of the volcano, covering the rocks and pooling up at the bottom of the dish. With the amount of baking soda given in the kit, each child was able to create the eruption multiple times; squeals of joy and laughter erupting from the kitchen table with each pour.

Project: Geode Kit

The Geode kit included 2 small geodes, ready to be smashed to see what was inside! My 8-year old rock lover and daughter, Sage, whisked these away to her room so we didn’t get to take a photo of the finished product!

My kids loved this month’s Green Kid Crafts! All of fiveĀ projects had some element of science, so I love that they learned something while having fun! All of the projects were appropriate for my 4, 6, and 8 year old!

You can save $60 Green Kid Crafts on a 6-month subscription using this link!

What do you think of Green Kid Crafts?

Doodle Crate Review ā€“ January 2016

As a working mom, I find it challenging to find time in the week to spend time with each of my kids separately. Tonight, my daughter and I had an at home ā€œdateā€, with hot cocoa (itā€™s cold here in Michigan!) and her very first Doodle Crate!

Doodle Crate sends you materials to help your child develop their inner artist for $20/month. This is such a great crate for Sage because she does have some artistic talent, and Iā€™d love for her to develop it some more. Doodle Crate is meant for kids ages 9+, but it was perfect for Sage to review who is 8 years old.

Here is the box. Itā€™s pretty much the same size as a Kiwi Crate box, but itā€™s blue!

doodle crate box jan 2016 carefree crafts

Hereā€™s a quick peek at what we got in the box. This monthā€™s Doodle Crate theme is ā€œMake Your Own Watercolor Calendarā€.

doodle crate first look carefree crafts

The crate included 18 sheets of high-quality watercolor paper (12 sheets for each calendar month and 6 blank sheets for practice or other painting), a watercolor paint set with paint cakes, a nice paintbrush, a wooden stand and dowel, a high quality ink pen, and a straw.

doodle crate jan 2016 materials carefree crafts

We got a booklet that explains 7 different watercolor techniques, including a flat wash, wet wash, gradient wash, sgraffito (which uses a push pin to scratch paper), salt wash, pen drawing, and straw painting (spreading watercolor by blowing through a straw. There were other ideas like using a white crayon and then laying your watercolor on top, to get a ā€œresistā€ effect.

doodle crate jan 2016 watercoler painting brochure carefree crafts

The booklet tells you to first create a puddle of water by dipping your paint brush into a cup of water and then placing the water on the cover of the paint set.

doodle crate jan 2016 watercolor method carefree crafts

Then you dip your paintbrush into a paint cake and then add the color to the water. Sage chose green here.

doodle crate jan 2016 watercolor mixing carefree crafts

She started experimenting with the different shades of green by painting the stem of a flower.

doodle crate jan 2016 watercolor painting carefree crafts

She moved on to other colors and was able to get some cool watercolor effects by varying the amount of water she was using.

doodle crate jan 2016 watercolor calendar carefree crafts

She used the pen to add numbers to her first calendar sheet. The pen is something I would use to write a nice card or letter. I may have to borrow it from her!
doodle crate jan 2016 watercolor calendar numbers

This was Sageā€™s finished calendar page for January in the wooden stand. While we donā€™t have any flowers blooming here in January in Michigan, it sure will brighten my day when I look at it in the morning!

doodle crate jan 2016 watercolor painting finished product carefree crafts

I loved that this Doodle Crate made it super easy for my daughter to create a masterpiece that she can actually use! It will provide her hours of creative time for the month to come and had really nice, high-quality art supplies. She really loved this January Doodle Crate, and so did I!

You can get Doodle Crate for 40% off your first month by using coupon code SNOWDAY.

What do you think of Doodle Crate? I think it would make a great gift for age 7 and up!

Qixels Fuse Blaster Review

My boys each got a Qixels Fuse Blaster for Christmas. The Qixels Fuse Blaster is kind of like a Perler Bead alternative, but instead of using an iron to make the plastic beads stick together, you use water in a water gun! My daughter has loved BeadosĀ in the past, which has a similar concept, but the Qixels Fuse Blaster is geared towards boys! And the Fuse Blaster kit was on $10 on!

qixels fuse blaster review

The Qixels have square beads that are pushed into a peg board. There are pros and cons – the pro being that if the board is flipped over accidentally, the beads still stay on the board. This is a huge plus because we have encountered several occasions where the kids have flipped a Perler Beads or Beados creation over accidentally, and their creations get ruined. Instant tears = no fun for parents or kids at all. Qixels solves this problem with having to push the squared beads into the pegs in the board. On the flip side, it was sometimes hard for my 4-year old push some beads by himself, but that was more the exception than the rule.

Here, Noah is making a robot Qixel. He really loved these boy shapes!

qixels fuse blaster

Once he finished pushing the beads into the board, we filled up the Qixels water gun so we could spray the Qixels beads with water. You spray the board 10 times, making sure to cover all of the beads. Then you pick up the board, shake of any excess water, and let it dry for 30 minutes. We did make sure to put newspaper under the board before we squirted water on the beads!

qixels fuse blaster

After 30 minutes, you peel the paper off the board, and then peel the beads from the paper. The beads did stick together with only water, no iron needed!

Noah had a blast playing with his robot, shark, dragon, and viking! At 4 years old, he loves little toy figures, and these he made himself!

qixels fuse blaster

I would say that Qixels Fuse Blaster was a hit with my boys and kept them busy for a good couple of hours. Liam, my 6-year old, doesn’t typically have a lot of patience for crafts, but he really got into this boy themed craft. It would be a great gift for one of my nephew’s upcoming birthdays!

Have you tried Qixels? What do you think and are there any other Qixels kits we should try?