Panda Crate Review: A Parent’s Honest Thoughts

Find out what I think about KiwiCo’s Panda Crate—a toy subscription service—in this in-depth review. (Hint: I love it—and so does my baby!)

Kiwi Co Panda Crate review, review by Mama Natural

Playing with a newborn is kinda hard, amiright?! Don’t get me wrong—there are go-tos, like pat-a-cake, peek-a-boo, and this little piggy. But so many parents—myself included—freeze a little beyond that.

We wonder: What’s the best way to connect? Am I connecting enough?! 

That’s why I was so excited to discover a little thing to help with this dilemma. It’s called Panda Crate, from KiwiCo.

What Is KiwiCo?

KiwiCo is a subscription-based company formerly called Kiwi Crate. The monthly subscription service is made specifically for kids. Each month, subscribers get a crate (aka a box) that contains everything needed to complete a single STEM project related to a centralized there.

These boxes are specifically designed for different age groups, including:

What is a Panda Crate?

Panda Crate Review: Honest Feedback from Parents

Panda Crates are the KiwiCo crates for children ages 0-24 months.

The Panda Crate is a bit different from the other KiwiCo crates, like the Kiwi Crate and the Tinker Crate. Here’s what you can expect:

  • Multiple toys rather than one project: The Panda Crate includes a variety of age- and developmentally-appropriate products, as well as a magazine and activity cards to help parents learn about their child’s unique developmental stage and foster deeper learning.
  • Less frequent deliveries: Instead of shipping monthly, the Panda Crate includes two months’ worth of products and ships every other month.

Buy the Panda Crate

You can subscribe to Panda Crate for as little as $15.50/month — and shipping is free.

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My Honest Panda Crate Review

Kiwi Co Panda Crate review, crate contents

Unboxing the Panda Crate

My first Panda Crate came with six toys for baby: five different activities, plus a book.

We dumped the whole thing out to let our daughter, Faith, explore. It was a really fun and delightful sensory experience for her.

Kiwi Co Panda Crate review, 12 month old baby plays with all toys

But, next time, I think I’d opt to unbox myself and take one toy out at a time. This is actually something I recommend for all kids’ toys. It’s the paradox of choice—when kids have too many choices, none of them seem all that great. But if you grab one thing and cycle through it, kids have no choice but to explore. Generally, this is a very positive experience for them—and it’s a great way to capture their attention. 

And with six different activities in the Panda Crate, you essentially have one toy for each day of the week!

Kiwi Co Panda Crate review, peg puzzle

Playing with the Panda Crate

Faith had so much fun interacting with every item in the Panda Crate. It really hit the mark developmentally. And—bonus—Papa Natural and I were delighted to find a puzzle in the box. We had just been talking about getting Faith a nice wooden puzzle to play with.

The parental resources that comes in the crate are pretty fantastic, too. As I mentioned above, playing with a newborn has its own set of challenges.

The parental resources (essentially large-format flash cards) that come in each Panda Crate really guide you through each toy and provide recommendations for how to use the toy to interact with your child.

These cards also provide information about why each toy is so great for this specific stage of baby’s development—it’s truly fascinating stuff!

Kiwi Co Panda Crate review, card with tips on how to play with baby

Beyond the crate

There’s also a really neat little “beyond the crate” section that helps extend the usable lifespan of each item in the crate by teaching you how to use it in other ways. For example, it shows you how you can use the stacking cups in fun, baby-appropriate sensory activities to learn about volume. It’s a great way to keep building on all the skills each toy helps teach baby. 

Kiwi Co Panda Crate review, beyond the crate cards help you extend the play

What I love About Panda Crate

Overall, the Panda Crate was probably my favorite of all the crates. It was so great for Faith, but it was also so great for Papa Natural and me—we had so much fun watching Faith explore and learn, but we also enjoyed playing with her on a deeper level.

Here’s what else I liked:

  • It’s stimulating: Faith was delighted to explore a variety of new toys. I really saw her light up!
  • It teaches important skills: There’s a sensory element to discovering new toys, but I love that all of the included toys are specifically chosen, because they teach valuable skills. Through the toys in the box, I witnessed Faith extending her motor skills, problem-solving skills, and critical thinking skills. She also got to explore the concept of cause and effect and build upon her (soon-to-be) exploding vocabulary.
  • It’s expertly curated: These boxes are designed by former educators and child development professionals, then reviewed by an advisory board that includes educational, developmental psychology, art, and science professionals. This process ensures the crates and the items in them are developmentally appropriate for each age group.
  • It’s tested by real parents and their babies: Every single Panda Crate is tested with babies and parents to ensure they’re age-appropriate and engaging.
Kiwi Co Panda Crate review, shape puzzle

Buy the Panda Crate

You can subscribe to Panda Crate for as little as $15.50/month — and shipping is free.

How Much Do Panda Crates Cost?

Panda Crate Review: How Much Do Panda Crates Cost?

Like other subscription boxes, the price of Panda Crate varies slightly depending on how many months you sign up for. The longer you commit to receiving the subscription box, the less expensive it is each month.

  • The most flexible option is to pay month-to-month — $39.90 every two months (or $19.95 per month). With this option you can cancel at any time.
  • If you’re ready to commit, you bring that per-box price down to just $31, or $15.50 per month. But you you need to pay $372 upfront for 24-months of Panda Crate.

For some, the big commitment is worth the savings of $262.80 over the course of the year. But for others, they prefer to pay more and break up the payments. The bi-monthly option also provides the flexibility to cancel whenever you’d like.

Either way, the value is good and it’s much easier than shopping blindly in the store.

And how much $ would you normally spend on baby toys over two years?

Panda Crate Review Video

Check out this video to get a sense of what comes in each box.

How Long Does Panda Crate Shipping Take?

When you order your first box, KiwiCo typically sends your box within 2 to 3 business days of purchase. Once it ships, your Panda Crate will typically arrive within 5-7 days. 

Going forward, you’ll get a new Panda Crate every other month for the duration of your subscription. If you’re unsure when your next shipment will arrive, you can check the status of your order on the “My Account” page of KiwiCo’s website.

Kiwi Co Panda Crate review, textured heart counting cards detail

Want to give Panda Crate as a baby gift?

You can opt to send the Panda Crate right away—or you can set it up, so that the first crate ships the month of the baby’s due date (or the month of your choosing). You can even choose to send the first Panda Crate to your own address, so you can gift it at a baby shower. Any remaining crates in the subscription you chose (3 months, 6 months, or 12 months) will ship according to the baby’s age.

Kiwi Co Panda Crate review, peg puzzle detail

How About You?

Have you tried Panda Crate? Let us know in the comments below!

Genevieve Howland

About the Author

Genevieve Howland is a childbirth educator and breastfeeding advocate. She is the bestselling author of The Mama Natural Week-by-Week Guide to Pregnancy and Childbirth and creator of the Mama Natural Birth Course. A mother of three, graduate of the University of Colorado, and YouTuber with over 85,000,000 views, she helps mothers and moms-to-be lead healthier and more natural lives.

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