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Engineer some quality summer time FUN with friends and family!

Right now, Groovy Lab in a Box is offering their first month FREE when you purchase a 6-month or 12-month subscription.

With Groovy Lab in a Box, you will receive boxes full of everything you need to learn about and do hands-on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) experiments for ages 8+.

Because children are natural engineers, Groovy Lab in a Box blends Scientific Inquiry and the Engineering Design Process which allows children to create ingenious inventions, enhance critical problem-solving skills and have FUN!

If this sounds like the perfect gift for your kids, place your order today! All orders must be received by Saturday, June 30th at midnight and while supplies last.

Enter coupon code FREEBOX
Apply to a 6 month or 12 month Subscription Plan at checkout
*FREEBOX code is good through June 30th, 2018 and while supplies last.

Quick and Easy Lego Valentine Box

quick and easy lego valentine box

A Lego themed Valentine box is the perfect Valentine exchange box for any Lego fan. Saying that my kids are Lego fans is an understatement! Liam wanted to make this quick and easy Lego Valentine box for his first grade Valentine's Day party.

We started with a box (this box is from Kidstir), but you could use a shoebox too. We started by cutting a rectangular hole  – a slit to hold Valentine cards – out of the top of the box with a steak knife. It helps if you draw the rectangle with a pencil before you cut into the box.

Then we took red bulletin board paper and wrapped the box like a present (you could also use red wrapping paper). We cut the red paper where the rectangular hole was and the folded and taped the paper under the slit in the box.

To make the Lego studs (these are the “knobs on top of a Lego brick), we took a used Amazon shipping box and traced and cut six circles out of the cardboard box. A 16 oz water bottle was used to trace the circles with a pencil. To make the studs red, we we laid each cardboard circle on top of a red square of paper that was slightly larger than the circle, and cut “sun rays” out of the red paper, then folded and taped them to the back of the stud.

Here is a photo of the wrapped box and studs before we stuck them on the box.

Lego Valentine Box.

Liam wanted to write “Love” on top of the Lego studs instead of the usual Lego brand name. He used a pencil to write Love first on each of the studs.

Lego Valentine Love Lettering


Then he used a red Sharpie marker to make to lettering brighter and more noticeable. I do get a little nervous when little hands use permanent markers around my house, but lucky for me, Liam is an especially careful 7- year old.

Lego Valentine box red lettering
I thought we might be done with decorating the box at this point, but Liam thought the box needed a little more Valentine's Day bling, so I got my trusty heart punch out. Liam punched out several pink hearts out of pink construction paper to cover the sides of his box using a glue stick.

Lego Valentine box with hearts.

Liam was so proud of his Lego Valentine box!

Lego Valentine box finished

This was a super quick and easy Lego Valentine's box. We hope this post helps and inspires your Lego fanatics!

Happy Valentines Day!

Kiwi Crate Review – 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. 😉

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 themed 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. Patrick’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 a 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 a small bunch of shamrocks on their jackets or caps.
  • Legend says that each leaf of the clover on a shamrock means something: the first is for hope, the second for faith, the third for love and the fourth for 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 is 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 – 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 – 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 – 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 Valentine’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 Crate 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 Deal by using coupon code SWEET at check out.


The Happy Trunk Valentine's Day Coupon

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


Kiwi Crate Review – 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 – 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 our Close to My Heart Craft Kits available!

close to my heart valentines craft kit

This Valentine's Day Craft Kit 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 know if you have any questions!

Green Kid Crafts Review – 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. 😉

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 green—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 – 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 rocks—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 five 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?