Winter is on the horizon and the requisite additional time spent inside avoiding the chilly weather. Rather than succumb to mind-numbing boredom, these activity kits will not only keep brains sharp, but they come with the added bonus of being complete entertainment in one little (or medium-sized) box, so set up is a breeze. Read on for our top picks.
KiwiCo Summer Camp Crate
You know and love KiwiCo for their high-quality kits that everyone from your toddler to your teen can enjoy. They’ve just launched their summer camp line, which will send you five to eight weeks worth of supplies for activities and experiments that range from electronics to art. If your kid finishes early? There’s also a magazine and extra activities to deepen the learning experience. Bundles start at $99.95 with free shipping.
Garden Friends Dough Activity Set
Green Toys and Sesame Street are helping little green thumbs bring a whole garden to life any day of the year with butterflies, critters and flowers galore. As for the flour in this dough, parents will love knowing it’s organic. No toxins in this garden!
Available at greentoys.com, $24.99.
Toy Story 4 Creativity Set
Just in time for the final installment of the classic Pixar series to hit the screen comes this fun art and craft kit. Young kids can make their own version of Forky, dress up as Woody or Buzz, or create their very version of the story with stickers, foam, pom poms and more. For ages 3 and up, $11.24.
Hatch Modern Eco Art Kits
Ideal for kids ages 3 and up, these kits are not only aesthetically pleasing to kids and adults alike, but they are also super fun, too. Their line of Free Range Art for Kids kits includes a Collage Box with all kinds of cool pieces like colorful muslin, seashells and buttons; a Print Box with paint, sponges, cork and more; and our favorite, the Build Box which contains a variety of interesting wooden shapes and spools, non-toxic watercolor paint and glue, and more. All paints and glues are vegan, and everything is free from toxins and single-use plastics. Each kit is $24.99.
Learn more at hatchkids
Play-Doh Kitchen Creations Spinning Treats Mixer
Little chefs can get creative in the kitchen with this new set that lets you stamp out colorful cookies and frosting topped cupcakes using Play-Doh. The mixer comes with different stamp attachments and tools to create designs and pretend candies for toppings.
Available on amazon.com, $13.49.
Color Wonder Scented Light Up Stamper
Let your little artists get creative with colorful stamps without worrying about the mess. Crayola's Color Wonder Scented Light Up Stamper set comes with several animal stamps and Color Wonder inks. The inks are not only scented, they magically won't work on skin, furniture, walls or any surface other than the special Color Wonder paper. The inks appear invisible until they touch the special paper, but the stamper handle will light up with the color in use.
Available from crayola.com, $19.99.
Art Out Of The Box
Artists of almost any age will love thinking outside the box with this box full of fun. Art Out Of The Box comes with 80 cards, each with either a subject or technique. Take one of each and let you imagination soar as you create new worlds and creatures beyond your wildest dreams.
Available on Amazon, $19.99
GIRLS CAN! CRATE
The GIRLS CAN! CRATE subscription is perfect for girls ages 5-10 years. The inspirational subscription shows girls they can "BE and DO anything by introducing them to fearless women who’ve made our world better." Every month your young lady will get a box of 2-3 STEAM activities, 20-page activity book, creative play prop, collectible button, and all the supplies needed to complete the activities.
Choose from several sizes and prices at GirlsCanCrate.com.
Alice in Wonderland Storybox
Do you have your own little storyteller? Laurence King's Alice in Wonderland's Storybox is a twist on the classic fairytale, but puts the storytelling in the hands of your little one. Use the oversized story cards to arrange the story however you want in a story that stretched eight feet long!
You can find on Amazon, $16.99.
Tinkering Labs Electric Motors Catalyst, Robotics Stem Kit for Kids
This cool kit allows kids to build doodling robots, power electric model cars, add motors to LEGO sets and more. For kids ages 8-12 (we think kids 6-8 could also enjoy it with some assistance) the set comes with everything you need to create including batteries, markers, challenge cards, real wood, motors, hardware and more.
Get it on here, $59
Kid Made Modern Making with MoMA - Shadow Box
You know and love the Target x Todd Oldham collab line Kid Made Modern, for its contemporary take on kids’ art supplies. This new line was designed by MoMA educators, and many of the kits, including this shadow box set, were inspired by the crafts and art projects for families at the Museum of Modern Art.
Buy a kit here, $22.50.
Harlow’s Harvest Cooking Kit
Set your budding chefs up with a few kits from new cooking subscription, Harlow’s Harvest. Invented by a mom-daughter duo, this STEM-influenced kit comes with recipe cards, a science project, history on the recipe and an online game that’s related to the theme of the month. Kids will learn how to budget for ingredients, they’ll be reading the recipes, and they’ll be doing fractions when measuring out ingredients. Plus, if you’ve got picky eaters at home, chances are, if they make it, they’ll eat it. You can buy one box for $23 or set up a monthly delivery (six or 12 months) for $21 and $19.99 respectively.
Sunglass Case and Keychain Kit
This adorable set comes with fringe, flowers, a plastic needle, string, craft paper and everything else your kid will need to make both a funky case for sunglasses and a butterfly keychain for a friend. An intro to embroidery, this will keep your kinder on up through grade school kiddo occupied for a few afternoons. $19.99.
Pineapple Dreamcatcher Kit
Pineapples are everywhere this summer, so this fun dreamcatcher kit from JOANN Stores is sure to be a hit. It comes with everything from string to sticky gems, sequins and feathers. Ages 8 and up. $12.99.
My Gnome on the Roam Adventure Kit
My Gnome on the Roam Adventure Kit is a suitcase of memories waiting to be unpacked. It comes with a copy of the My Gnome on the Roam Award-Winning Story Book, a family adventure journal filled with blank pages, a colorless ready-to-be-painted gnome and a magical pen, all beautifully packaged in an adorable suitcase that kids will be in awe about. The kit is designed to encourage families to Explore, Create and Connect and to add adventure to their everyday lives. You can see all details as well as worksheets, downloads, games, articles, the link to their 15-Minute Adventure for Busy Families app and more on their website at mygnomeontheroam.com.
Get it at mygnomeontheroam.com, $29.97.
Kidvelope Mission Adventure Game: Space Rescue
What if you could not only gift your kids with an awesome activity kit but also an interactive game designed to help them connect with friends and relatives far away? Thanks to Kidvelope, you can do just that. You order the kit for your child, and they work together with “players” of their choice to help solve challenges and complete the mission, all through hands-on creative activities (like secret messages written on space slime), online interactions, back-and-forth mail and phone calls. The best part? It’s easy to follow and exciting to play. It’s a perfect mix of offline, creative problem solving and using technology to connect. An excellent way to stay in touch with long-distant grandparents!
Try it today from kidvelope.com, $21.95.
Electronic Music Inventor Kit by Little Bits
Just when you thought a kid with an electronic guitar couldn’t get any cooler, they created this: a guitar set that kids build, program, and customize all on their own. With an accompanying app, this inventor kit suggests over 12 activities with step-by-step instructions—including how to re-build your guitar into a set of air drums using the same littleBits electronic blocks that make a synth guitar. It’s totally splurge-worthy.
Find it on Amazon, $65.86.
Flower Press Art DIY Kit
New form Hape, preserve the beauty of the outdoors year-round with this cute pressing kit. Paints and brush are included to then transform dried flowers or plants into artwork as original as Mother Nature’s.
Yarn Bird Mobile
The rich colors and ease of twisting the yarn around each bird frame make this fun mobile project rewarding for tweens. Each kit comes with the bird frames, a wooden ring, and even googly eyes. Ages 10 and up.
Buy one at Barnes and Noble, $21.99.
3Doodler Start Kit
Conceived as the world’s first consumer 3D printing pen, 3Doodler was a successful Kickstarter project before quickly growing into a $20 million business. Thanks to its ingenious design, hand-held portability and ease of use, 3Doodler has become popular among school STEM programs and at-home techie creators alike. This year’s new releases include the 3Doodler Create+ 3D printing pen ($79.99) and the 3Doodler Start Make Your Own HEXBUG Kit ($59.99). Combining drawing and sculpture with a dose of 3D magic, 3Doodler is a cool gift for gadget-loving creative types.
Available at the3doodler.com/shop, starting at $49.
Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit
Faster than you can say, “Expelliarmus!” the Harry Potter Coding kit will have young wizards learning how to code in no time. Created by Kano, makers of kid-friendly, DIY computer kits and programs, the Harry Potter Coding Kit lets users build custom wands that can perform acts of magic when connected to tablet or computer screens. Following a few simple steps, apprentice wizards learn how to code by connecting code blocks that pair with actions tied to their wands. A wave of a wand can make fire flow, pumpkins grow, feathers fly, goblets multiply, and much more, via iOS and Android devices.
Available at amazon.com, $59.98.
Creatibles DIY Window Cling Art Kit
Like colorful miniature pieces of stained glass, Creatibles DIY Window Cling Art Kit lets young artists create unique window decals that will brighten any room. The kit includes five colors of cling art paint and 14 simple-to-follow designs. Trace the designs using the black outliner paint, add color, leave for 24 hours, then stick the finished cling art to any window. Additional free printable designs are available for download on the website.
Available at ooly.com, $15.99.
Karina Garcia DIY Squishy Art Bake Shop by Craft City
Move over homemade slime: DIY squishy arts are the latest trend to spark the imaginations of crafty kids across the country. This well-composed squishy art kit comes courtesy of Karina Garcia, a popular YouTuber who parlayed her online celebrity into a successful line of DIY crafts. Featuring an adorable bake shop theme, the kit includes decorative sprinkles, colored chalk and puffy paint. After making your slow-rise bake projects, simply color, add paint and sprinkles, and squish your original squishy art designs!
Available at target.com, $19.99.
Sew & Glow Kit
Seated neatly at the intersection of fashion and technology, the Sew & Glow Kit lets users design and build glowing badges that light up with electrical conductive thread. In addition to exploring crafting, the kit teaches kids about electrical circuits in a fun and simple way. Light up badges with LED lights and become an electronics master in minutes!
Available at techwillsaveus.com, $24.99.
––Amber Guetebier & Karly Wood