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educational activities for kids

Things We Love: One of the Best Subscription Boxes for Kids We’ve Ever Seen

The first thing you notice about PodSquad is the packaging. The box, with it’s cute cartoon doodles and bright (but not the overused primary) colour palette looks slick. It looks like a box full of activities for kids that a 21st century kid would want to open. It looks like a box a 21st century parent would want their kid to open.

Which is probably the point. The market for monthly subscription boxes for kids seems to have exploded in recent years, and PodSquad needs to stand out among the herd. We think it does — and not just in terms of packaging.

Briefly, PodSquad is a box of educational activities for kids ages 4 to 7. For a fee, a new, compact box arrives monthly containing six activities, one original story and one collectible soft toy, a ‘pod’ whose personality (there are a variety of pod characters — Curious Pod, Scaredy Pod, Shy Pod, Healthy Pod, etc; we reviewed the Smarty Pod box) is the basis for the box’s activities.

It’s a cute take, sure, but what we love about PodSquad is not its quirkiness but the thought that is so clearly behind it.

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First, the thought that went into its organisation: All materials are provided, and each set of materials is used for two activities. Material sets and related instructions are grouped in canvas bags, so kids and parents don’t have to sift through the box trying to figure out which materials belong to which activities.

Instructions are kid-oriented and easily understood. They also give kids the language to talk about learning in a “What We’ve Learned” section with kid-friendly wording. And each activity comes with clear notes to parents about if and how they need to be involved in setup or play.

Mostly, though, we love that PodSquad explains the educational theory behind their activities. In a monthly note to parents, PodSquad not only takes parents through the overarching framework behind product development, but clearly identifies the life and/or academic skills the new box’s activities are meant to build. As a parent, it’s refreshing to have educational entertainment explain how, exactly, it’s educating your child. It’s also refreshing to see a holistic approach to education.

We do have a few nitpicks. We’re torn about the quality of the collectible pod character, which stood out in such a slickly packaged box as a bit homemade (but maybe that’s part of the charm?). And the certificate of achievement that comes with each box is definitely overkill. As for pricing, it is on the more expensive end of the subscription box spectrum, though not outrageous. Overall, these are small quibbles that are overshadowed by all of the things we love about PodSquad. — which make it one of the few gifts for kids that keeps on giving.

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