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!

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.

vday-little-passports-coupon

The Happy Trunk Valentine's Day Coupon

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

vday-happy-trunk-coupon

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!

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?

Doodle Crate Review – 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 “date”, with hot cocoa (it’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 I’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. It’s pretty much the same size as a Kiwi Crate box, but it’s blue!

doodle crate box jan 2016 carefree crafts

Here’s a quick peek at what we got in the box. This month’s Doodle Crate theme is “Make Your Own Watercolor Calendar”.

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 “resist” 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 Sage’s finished calendar page for January in the wooden stand. While we don’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!

Kiwi Crate Review – Woodland Creatures – October 2015

We were so excited to get October's Kiwi Crate. This is our first official review of this kid's activities subscription box. If you aren't familiar with Kiwi Crate, every month they'll send you a box full of materials to complete 2-3 themed projects a month. The projects are based on art, science, or engineering concepts. It's a great box for 5-8 year olds and only costs $19.95/month including shipping! Plus, you can get your first month of Kiwi Crate for only $10 using this link!

We got a green “crate” addressed to Noah. Noah is almost 4 years old, so we wanted to see if this box would work for him.

When we opened the box, we saw a cute welcome letter with a free pair of kid-friendly scissors! I can never seem to find kid-friendly scissors when I need them, so these will come in handy! This month's Kiwi Crate theme was Woodland Creatures.

Inside the box were materials for 2 craft projects:

  • My Forest Friends (left): Decorate and put together zipper pulls!
  • My Marble Run (right) Construct your own beaver dam marble run!

My Marble Run

Noah wanted to get started on the My Marble Run project first. Materials for this project included a board for the beaver scene, pre-printed cardboard chutes and boxes, green ribbon, velcro pieces, and a ball.

Noah attached the green ribbon for the hanger, assembled the cardboard boxes (chutes), and velcro'd them to the beaver scene board.

Noah really loved this project. Mainly because it was like a game to him and had a moving ball! This activity reminded me of the diagonal car ramps that we had when my kids were younger. The great thing about this was he could experiment with the placement of the chutes, since they were attached with velcro. I love that Kiwi Crate included some engineering and reasoning in this fun little marble run!

My Forest Friends

When Liam got home from school, he wanted to join in the Kiwi Crate fun! The My Forest Friends project included felt bodies for the forest animals, sticky felt pieces for the body parts, stuffing, googly eyes, ribbon, and lanyard hooks to hang the creatures once finished.

I don't really love messy craft projects, so really enjoyed that this project had self-adhesive pieces. This is so much easier for little kids to handle too! The kids made a squirrel, fox, bear, and owl.

Liam wanted to attach his bear zipper pull to his backpack! He was so proud of his creation!

I would say this month's Kiwi Crate was a hit with my boys! It also included an “Explore!” magazine that had comics, coloring, drawing, and another diy project to make your own binoculars using paper tubes, masks to cut out, and more! The Woodland Creatures box was a cute theme and provided hours of fun for my kids!

You can get your first month of Kiwi Crate for 50% off using this link and if you don't love it, you can cancel at anytime.

What did you think of this month's Kiwi Crate?

Get a Green Kid Crafts Box for only $4.95!

TRY GREEN KID CRAFTS FOR ONLY $4.95!

Green Kid Crafts is designed for kids 3-10, and was built out of a passion for hands-on fun and learning. Every month’s Discovery Box is packed with 4-8 unique and engaging STEM science and creativity kits designed to foster a child’s curiosity, creativity and confidence while helping to raise the nation's next generation of creative leaders. You’ll also find detailed instructions for all the projects, plus exclusive online extras that provide bonus articles and DIY activities about the month’s theme to extend the learning and fun.

Now you can try a FULL-SIZED Green Kid Crafts Discovery Box for free! This offer is valid until October 31.You will be automatically enrolled in a Green Kid Crafts monthly subscription at a price of $19.95/month (shipping included), and may cancel at anytime. The first month is free except for $4.95 shipping. One free box per household. To get your free Discovery Box go here!

Green Kid Crafts Coupon – Get 50% off Your First Month + Bonus Wall Map!

SAVE 50% OFF GREEN KID CRAFTS' OCEAN SCIENCE BOX!!

Get ready for Back-to-School with Green Kid Crafts' Discovery Boxes! From now until midnight on 8/2/15, you can receive their August Ocean Science Discovery Box for less than $10 (50% off) when you start a new subscription! (You can cancel anytime.)

Your pint-sized oceanographers will go on a journey to the deep blue sea with SIX different projects. They’ll make their own “motion ocean” while learning about density and ocean wave formation, design coral reef bubble paintings, “save” felt sea life caught in nets and learn about bycatch, create a mock oil spill and learn about oil spill science, and make glowing jellyfish for bath time. PLUS new subscribers using the code OCEAN50 will receive a free bonus wall map of the world's oceans and continents.

Green Kid Crafts' award-winning Discovery Boxes pack a lot of fun and learning into convenient packages. Each box contains lots of Creativity and STEM Science Kits, extension activities, and free online extras. Projects are designed for ages 3-10. Use code OCEAN50 from 7/31/15-8/02/15 to get your 50% off using this link!

Little Passports 2015 Spring Coupon

I have been wanting to try the Little Passports subscription box for a while now. Little Passports sends your kids a monthly package of information, activities, and souvenirs about a new country. Sage (age 7), Liam (age 5), and Noah (age 3) are at a great age to start exploring the world without us having to get on a plane. 🙂 I'll be sure to write about our experience when we get our first box!

Little Passports is having Flash Sale right now! Click on the banner below to sign up for your 12 month subscription and get $20 off by using the code: SPRING20 at check out. But hurry, this flash sale ends today! This would be a great last-minute Easter gift if you need one for the littles in your life.

**The links in this post are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase after clicking on my link.