This article is dedicated to all the parents-turned-teachers who have no clue what they are doing.
Raise a glass.
Our family just joined the schooling from home movement, and while I have experience in a classroom, no one could have prepared me for this school year. Juggling work, school, music lessons and basic human hygiene is daunting.
But, I am finding that it is actually pretty doable. And with educational (and fun!) themed boxes delivered right to my door every month, I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
Whether you are fully homeschooling or working with your child's school to operate from home, these monthly subscription boxes are a great way to supplement your curriculum and bring some excitement back to learning.
So put down that gut-wrenching, soul-crushing workbook for a day and check out these 23 subscription boxes as you plan your back-to-school strategy.
Let’s break it down by subject.
Our family is admittedly a family of bookworms.
When it comes to Disney princesses, Belle is our favorite, for sure. And we even tossed our TV to make room in our lives (and living room) for more books to love. We're that family.
But even if you don't share the same love of reading, I think we can all agree that reading is a huge part of your child's education.
In fact, teachers spend grades K-3 teaching children to read. And after that, children learn by reading. So if reading is a struggle, you can expect learning in general to be a struggle. And no one wants that.
With libraries closed and days all blurring into one giant conglomerate, these reading boxes are a great way to entice your student to read through age-appropriate books while giving you a much-needed break to grab another cup of coffee.
Box Features: This kids’ subscription box from Amazon is designed for Prime members who are looking for seamless ways to add some new children’s books to their library.
You should expect to receive 4 board books for littles or 2 hardcover books for students in the 3-12 age range. Like other Amazon Prime orders, you will never pay for shipping for boxes, although you should only expect their 2-day guarantee for your first box.
Price: Starting at $17.99/month
Box Features: There is a reason this book subscription was announced as the 2020 Subscription Winner from the Parents Choice Foundation. Each Elephant Book box arrives nicely packaged with a signature orange bow.
Your little one will receive books that have passed tough inspection. You can expect each carefully selected book to be a truly original gem for boys and girls alike. This subscription box also includes fun reading tools that reinforce the idea that each book is a little piece of treasure.
Related: The Beginners Guide To Homeschooling
Price: Starting at $19.99/month
Box Features: This award-winning box from Cratejoy has been a go-to book subscription for parents for years. Parents can choose to receive either picture books or chapter books for more advanced readers. And much like the Elephant Books box, Bookroo reinforces the idea that books are gifts.
Each book is gift-wrapped and was carefully selected to build both a love for reading and important imagination skills. This box’s creators are so certain your reader will love the selection that they offer a money-back guarantee.
Confession time: I totally chose to include this box simply because of the title. My six-almost-seven year old is convinced that Mama is spelled "momo." And where I once tried to correct her, I now just cherish the sweet child-like innocence. But despite my bias for the title, this book club really is a great fit for any young reader.
Price: Starting at $14.99/month
Ages: While there is no official age range, you can choose to incorporate either picture books and young adult books in your subscription.
Box Features: By joining Momo’s book club, your child will receive a book each month designed with diverse characters and real-life topics. These books are an awesome way to help your kiddo navigate the hard topics of life, such as bullying and finding the right role models. All the books are geared towards building empathy, and can't our world use a little more of that?
Box Features: Okay, so Epic! is not a monthly book box. But, it has saved my sanity plenty of days and is something that I think every parent should know about.
This online library has loads of digital books with read-to-me options if your kiddo is either a struggling reader or just wants to just enjoy some good books without the work of decoding. There are also educational videos, which are much better alternatives to whatever plays on TV. We particularly like the song about presidents. And just from watching these short videos, my daughter has begun to love history. Mom win!
You can pay monthly or choose between a 6 or 12-month subscription. It was the best $72/year my family has spent.
I am a full believer in the power of art and cringe every time I hear that another program has lost its funding. Quarantine impacts our children in more ways than we probably even realize.
And it's important to remember that schooling from home is probably just as stressful for your student as it is for you. What better way for your kiddo to decompress and let out some steam than by exercising their creative bone? Here are some great art and crafts boxes to help your student do just that.
Box Features: If the name itself doesn't get ya, the awesome content in this box will. The team at Craft + Boogie understands how important it is for children to build self-esteem and have meaningful connections with the grown-ups in their life.
You can choose either a monthly subscription or opt for a single, major event or holiday-themed box. Either way, every box you purchase helps support kids in need. The Craft + Boogie collective has donated over $1,600 boxes to kids in foster care, hospital settings and other kids facing hardship or trauma.
Box Features: This crate through Kiwico is for more advanced crafters as the projects include things like creating a felt succulent garden and making soap. With a focus on creating things for the world around them, the creators of Doodle Crate also strive to build confidence through fun activities for all young artists – a breath of fresh air from the mayhem of social media.
Box Features: This crafting box is full of goodies. Not only are you sent everything that you will need for each craft, but you will also receive an instructional packet that includes the cultural history or importance of the project.
You can either subscribe to supplies for one or two people for $10 more a month. And I haven’t even told you the best part yet. The creators of Terra Create also try to incorporate recycled materials and plastics as much as possible, which is something I can definitely get behind.
Box Features: This award-winning box is filled with kids’ crafts and the chance for families to create memories away from the TV. Your monthly subscription includes everything you need to complete craft projects for 2 kids, which makes it a great option for siblings. As a family with just one, we like to use our goodies as a fun excuse to get together with some friends.
Each box includes 4 or more coordinating crafts with a coordinating storybook.
There is no question that STEM projects are popular, and honestly, I'm here for it. Math has gotten a bad rap for years. And the result? An entire generation that is intimated by problem-solving and critical thinking.
Help foster a love for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math through these monthly boxes, and you are really fostering a love for curiosity and logic that will last a lifetime.
Price: 29.95/ month
Box Features: Schooling from home may rob our children from some mainstream school experiences that we just can’t remedy. But luckily, your student doesn’t have to miss out on the best part of science--the experiments. And if the name of this box doesn't get ya, the fun, hands-on science experiments will. As an added bonus, your young scientist will also have access to an online portal for extended learning and fun.
Box Features: While it’s a little over my head most days, technology is here to stay. So what better time to help teach your student the ins-and-outs of coding. Each Bitsbox walks your child through coding projects, like building an app from the ground up.
You can choose between two different levels to find the right pace for your kiddo. And for us not-so-tech-savvy people, this is a great box for beginners. No previous experience in the coding world is necessary.
Oh yeah, and it was voted #1 STEM box for kids.
Box Features: Who doesn't love LEGO’s? Turns out, LEGO’s are actually a great way to build up those STEM muscles. Brick Loot is a monthly, themed box subscription that the whole family will enjoy.
Your monthly subscription will include custom kits, mini figurines and compatible accessories, although maybe not all at once. And, Brick Loot gives you access to legos that you can’t get at your local store.
Box Features: Admittedly, as a family with no TV, I wasn’t quite sure who Steve Spangler was. But apparently, he has become America’s current scientist and is quite popular. (Also, whatever happened to Bill Nye?)
Much like Steve himself, The Spangler Science Club helps foster curiosity and provides inspiration for upcoming science fairs. You can choose between 3 levels depending on the type of experience you are looking for.
Multi-Subject and Miscellaneous Boxes
When you need to cover a lot of ground but are strapped for cash or time (or both), you may consider investing in a subscription box that covers a few different subjects. These boxes not only create variety for your young learner, but they also support you as a teacher in substantial ways.
Box Features: The Superpower Academy box from Cratejoy is the box of all trades. With each delivery, your student will set out on “secret missions” as they interact with projects, workbooks and comics to develop a growth mindset.
Not only does this subscription provide STEM and reading support, but each box also helps your student build emotional awareness and empathy–which are more important than ever in this weird year.
Box Features: Green Kid Crafts combines art and science in environmentally conscious ways to provide your child with a ton of high-quality entertainment. Each box contains up to 6 projects with an educational magazine with fun activities, puzzles, book recommendations, and extra project ideas.
And if you aren’t one for waiting, your first box will ship right after you order.
Box Features: Okay, so this isn't a one-box-fits-all. But it is a platform that has quite a bit of goodies. Our family made a “Wish List” for the upcoming school year on our first day. My contribution? Field trips. My daughters? To go to Mexico. Or, at least learn all about it and other countries. Thanks, kid. Luckily, I can introduce her to the world without facing bankruptcy through Little Passports World Edition box.
Each delivery contains information about a new country with fun activities, stickers and pictures to fill up your student’s complementary suitcase.
Whether your kiddo needs some extra support or you just need to find new and exciting things outside of your child's core subjects, these boxes are great options.
Box Features: Cratejoy’s Sensory TheraPlay Box was designed to help kids with autism or other sensory processing disorders. Each month, you’ll receive 5-7 sensory toys that were carefully selected to encourage sensory-motor skills without being too stimulating.
Some previous boxes have contained aromatherapy dough, fidget toys and tactile/textured toys. And since it comes straight to your door, you don’t have to worry about the added stress of a new or uncontrollable environment.
Box Features: The Sproutly Kids Box helps children foster a love of gardening and fresh food while encouraging more outside time. Each month, you will receive a new plant for your family’s garden, a recipe card incorporating the plant, and a craft.
This subscription is truly the gift that keeps giving as you now get to watch how plants grow and eat the yummy fruit of your labor.
Box Features: There have been more opportunities to bake (and eat) treats during quarantine than ever before. And while every gracious parent will eat whatever their darling children bake them (I still cringe at a green bean casserole gone wrong that my parents finished off), let’s be honest. Teaching your kids to bake is a win for both parties.
Each delivery includes new recipes with coordinating shopping lists, dietary modifications, photos, and easy-to-follow instructions. Before long, your little baker will start making things that you actually want to eat. And, they get a Kids Baking Club apron.
Box Features: If you can’t physically go to ninja class, why not bring ninja class to your living room? Your subscription includes access to an online class, crafts to use during class, a character chart and a pretty adorable– I mean cool– t-shirt. Your ninjalino will have the ability to earn badges as he/she progresses through the class.
For the Littles
These boxes are geared specifically for the littles in your life. Whether you are looking to supplement your preschool curriculum or simply need something to keep your little ones busy while you spend more intensive time with your older kids – these subscriptions can help.
And the day these boxes get delivered will soon become everyone’s favorite day.
Price: $19.95/every other month
Age: 0-24 months
Box Features: I love this box because there is no waiting around for your kid to get old enough to enjoy it. Panda Crate from KiwiCo ships every 2 months and includes age-specific products to help your baby grow.
Each product is designed by experts and backed by research, so you can rest knowing that you are giving your baby the very best. Panda Crate can ship on your baby’s due date, making it a sweet coming home present or a great baby shower gift.
Price: Starts at $29.16/month
Box Features: The Preschool Box includes over 16 activities to help your preschooler enjoy learning. It is packed with stickers, crafts, and other fun activities that help build key skills like counting, shapes, colors and phonics. And it includes a parent guide to help support you as a parent and teacher.
Box Features: This box might be the best value out of the whole list. Each month, you will receive 13-16 activities to help gross and fine motor skills and help introduce them to learning.
Although it does require a little more parent involvement, each box is stocked with seasonally based themes and activities that are already prepped for you and your child. Let’s be real, how much will a bag of pom-poms and googly eyes run you nowadays? And that doesn’t even include the other materials you need or the precious time lost scouring Pinterest for inspiration.
With so many great subscription boxes, it can be hard to choose. And while you may be tempted to just outsource most of your school budget to these boxes, resist it. Less is more, and while school can be exciting and fun, there is a place for quiet and traditional learning as well. The trick is to find the balance that works for your family.
And remember that you can cancel any of these subscriptions anytime. So if you try one out and get tired of it, you can try some other boxes. These are great gift options to share with grandparents and friends. I have found that Cratejoy is great at customizing your plan and is the only one in this industry to provide hassle-free options if you just want to order a single box as a gift. The option might exist elsewhere; I just haven’t found it yet.
However these boxes arrive at your door, I hope you and your student enjoy them immensely.
You may also be interested in: The 18 Best STEM Activities For Kids At Home
The 23 Best Subscription Boxes for Parents Becoming Teachers:
- Prime Book Box
- Elephant Books
- Momo’s Book Club
- Epic! Reading
- Craft + Boogie
- Doodle Crate
- Terra Create
- We Craft Box
- Groovy Lab in a Box
- Brick Loot
- Spangler Science Club
- Superpower Academy
- Green Kid Crafts
- Little Passports
- Sensory TheraPlay Box
- Sproutly Kids Box
- Kids Baking Club Box
- Online Ninja Squad Box
- Panda Crate
- The Preschool Box
- Little Minds Learning Box