Big Brother Fun :: Awesome Mail [Pipsticks + Kiwi Crate]

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[This post is part of my "Big Brother Fun" winter series.  To see all of the fun, scroll to the bottom of this post and give a click on the "Big Brother Fun Series" tag.]

As a child, there were few treats that could brighten my day more than getting something fun in the mail.  A box of treats from grandma, a card from my dad--heck, even as an adult it still makes me smile.

Which is why I think the profusion of subscription services for kiddos these days is so neat.  You can say "I love you" or "I'm thinking of you" so easily, and--even if you're not with the child in question every day and thus are not closely aware of his or her abilities at that precise moment--you can pick out an activity that's basically age appropriate.  It's good times for everyone.

Today, two such "awesome mail" services--Pipsticks and Kiwi Crate.

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Pipsticks is a sticker subscription service.  Those of you who, like me, are children of the 80's and early 90's--can you imagine how awesome this would have been back in the days of Lisa Frank  and Trapper Keepers?  I might have actually squealed with joy to get those sparkly rainbows and butterflies in the mail.

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The Kid is just getting to the age where he thinks stickers are cool, so it took a little prompting from me for him to get them out and play.  But once he discovered that there were car stickers in the mix, he was sold.

While the Pipsticks blog has tons of crafty ideas, I wanted to make something a little Christmas-y.  So I drew a tree--inspired by this one--and let the Kid color and decorate it with sticker "ornaments".  I could tell he thought the collaboration was great fun. 

If you're interested in trying Pipsticks out, they're currently offering My Bit of Earth readers 1 month free when you sign up for a 6 or 12-month subscription.  Just use the code "EARTH11" at checkout and you'll be all set!

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Kiwi Crate is a service that sends 2-3 age-appropriate craft projects each month.  Because everything you need to complete the project is included, these are so great to tuck away for snowy days and witching hours.  No need to run to the craft store for the one thing you forgot, it's all there, ready to go.

I also love the Kiwi Crate themes--this month's box is all about snow, last month's was dinosaurs.  It's always something specific enough to get a little excited about, without being completely prescriptive.

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Kiwi Crate has also recently introduced a few new types of boxes, including Koala Crate's for the age 3-4 crowd, and Tinker and Doodle crates for older kids who are into science and art, respectively.  

We won't be ready to tinker or doodle for some time yet (the suggested age range is 9+), but we did try a Koala in October.  Ultimately, we decided it was more fun to do the older Kiwi Crates with the Kid, rather than the Koala crate--which was more suited for him to do independently--but either would make a splendid gift if you've got a kiddo you want to spoil with some awesome mail!

[P.S. Pipsticks sent me one packet of stickers for review purposes, and I'm a member of Kiwi Crate's affiliate program.  Love both of them, regardless.

P.P.S. For your grown-ups who might like some fun mail, check out Raw Spice Bar, a monthly exotic spice subscription service.  I hope to be reviewing a box more fully in time for January cooking resolutions, but for now I'll just say it looks like the equivalent of a spice CSA and--similarly to a CSA box--would be a great way to stretch yourself or a friend creatively in the kitchen.]