Playtime is serious business for babies and toddlers. Nurture your child’s developing brain with educational (and fun!) toys that build physical, social and cognitive skills. Here are 5 subscription services that make it easy for you by delivering age-appropriate developmental toys straight to your door.
Age group: Birth to 2.5 years
What you get: Every three months, you’ll receive a carefully curated collection of well-made wooden toys. Parents are given detailed instructions, including a short video (here’s an example), on when and how to introduce each toy, how it works, why it was chosen for your child, and what developmental skills it will help your child work on. Toys are accessible but slightly challenging and based on the research-backed Montessori method.
What we love: These high-quality toys are introduced in a specific sequence, and the learning for each builds upon previous items. The toys meet the highest safety standards and are designed to grow with your child, as they’ll discover new ways to play that stretch their skills.
Cost: $99 per month, billed every 3 months
Learn more at montikids.com.
Age group: Birth to 3 years
What you get: Quarterly boxes of high-quality toys tailored to your baby’s age and developmental milestones. Each box contains 3-5 age-appropriate toys to inspire learning through play. These items foster the development of fine motor, cognitive and social skills for each age.
What we love: The boxes include natural, eco-friendly and sustainable toys from brands such as Hape, Plan Toys and Tegu. The package also includes an information card listing major milestones for that age and how you can help your baby get the most out of the toys. With each subscription, Hoppi Box donates a toy to a baby in need.
Cost: $75 per quarter, charged every 3 months. Or $66 per quarter for annual prepay and charged every 12 months.
Learn more at hoppibox.com.
Age group: Birth to three months for the newborn pack. The company will be launching a subscription box for kids age 4-24 months; they already have popular boxes for kids up to age 16.
What you get: The newborn pack includes an age-specific toy made out of baby-safe materials, a board book and a magazine for parents with answers to parenting questions, information on your baby’s development at this age, activities to do at home that foster bonding and language learning, and tips for using the toy you receive. The company also provides an online resource with articles, videos and printable materials to share with your kids.
What we love: Each month has a different kid-friendly theme. The box includes information on different ways kids can play with the age-appropriate toy as they grow older. And the board book comes with tips on promoting language development and bonding. The items are backed by in-house experts and partners from Seattle’s Children’s Hospital who specialize in child health behavior and development.
Cost: $60 for 3 months
Learn more at kiwico.com/cricket.
Green Pinata Toys
Age group: 6 months to 5 years
What you get: This monthly toy subscription service delivers educational and toxin-free toys you rent and return. You receive 3-4 toys each month; each item has been sanitized between users. Play for as long as you like and then return them to receive your next set of toys.
What we love: You have ultimate flexibility in what you receive: The company will recommend toys and you can choose whether you’d like those or will select other toys. You can also choose all the toys yourself. They’re easy to find on the website, which lets you filter by age group and developmental skills such as fine motor, cognitive, language & math and social & emotional. Each toy description includes the developmental skills it works on and suggests ways to play with your child. You can purchase any of the toys you rent for 10% off the Amazon.com list price.
Cost: $24.99 per month
Learn more at greenpinatatoys.com.
HOOT for Kids
Age group: Birth to 6 years
What you get: With this monthly toy and activity box, you complete a questionnaire about your child’s developmental skill level in various areas that helps customize your child’s box to their interests and developmental stage. Each box contains 3 or more toys, or you can select a curated box where you can see the items in advance.
What we love: Because some kids develop faster or slower in certain areas, the questionnaire helps you receive a box that’s right for your child at their current stage of development. In the box from HOOT, which is an acronym for Hands-On Occupational Therapy, you receive an activity card with tips and ideas to promote purpose-driven play, and boxes were curated by an occupational therapist. The website also features an online shop where you can purchase additional toys and gifts; brands include Melissa & Doug, Brio, Oball, Green Sprouts and Gund.
Cost: A single box is $34.99; monthly boxes come in a 3-month subscription for $98.97 and a 6-month subscription for $191.94.
Learn more at hootforkids.com.
Which subscription boxes are you most excited about? Let us know in the comments!
— Eva Ingvarson Cerise