Best Toy Subscription Services

Kiwi Crate is the best overall toy subscription service

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Your child’s brain is in a nonstop cycle of growing, learning, and changing, so it makes sense that they have such a high demand for new toys to challenge their developing minds. However, even the most consumer-savvy parent may struggle to find toys and activities their child hasn’t outgrown, become bored with, or just plain outsmarted.

Toy subscription services are so useful because they take all the guesswork out of which toys will engage your child while making it super convenient to keep your house well-stocked with a rotating influx of fun and engaging activities. We think anything that makes parenting easier is a winner, and toy subscription boxes definitely simplify playtime.

The best toy subscription services offer a mix of affordability, variety, and creativity, engaging your child long enough for you to take a shower and drink some coffee! Here we've rounded up the best toy subscription services so you can check “find new toys” off your to-do list for the month.

Best Toy Subscription Services of 2021

Best Overall : Kiwi Crate


Kiwi Crate

Kiwi Crate

Key Specs

  • Pricing: Starts at about $17 per box; free shipping 
  • Delivery: Monthly 
  • Number of Plans: 4

Why We Chose It: Rockets, kites, volcanos, arcade games: You name it—you can build it (and then play with it) with a subscription to the affordable and ultra kid-friendly Kiwi Crate.

Pros
  • Budget-friendly monthly shipments

  • Easy-to-follow directions for kids

  • Uses STEM skills to build toys that last

Cons
  • Nothing can be played with right out the box

  • Kids who can’t read yet will need assistance

Every subscription line in the Kiwi Crate brand is a winner in our book, thanks to the smart and kid-friendly way these subscriptions are put together. Each one is an activity that kids will love to work on and, for the most part, will be able to assemble and play with on their own.

The same is true for the brand’s original subscription, Kiwi Crate, designed for kids ages 5 to 8. Each month, your child will receive a cool, STEM toy they have to build to play with, which is the best of both worlds: Your child gets the learning experience of constructing a toy and the developmental experience of test-driving it after it’s built. Does their stomp rocket work the way it’s supposed to? If they make an adjustment, can they get it to go higher? 

Kiwi Crate integrates learning and playtime all for roughly $17 per box (and prepaid plans are available to save you money over time). The smile you’ll see on your kid’s face after they’ve built their own toy is worth way more than that.

Best for Renting : Green Piñata


Green Piñata

Green Piñata

Key Specs

  • Pricing: $30 per month; free shipping
  • Delivery: Monthly
  • Number of Plans: 1

Why We Chose It: No more waiting around for a subscription to arrive only to find your child isn’t interested in that month’s selection. With this service, you pick the toys you want and either keep them or send them back when you’re done.

Pros
  • Totally customizable—only receive what you want

  • Choose between paying to keep toys or sending them back

  • Toys catalog spans a wide range of ages

Cons
  • Choosing to keep a toy means paying extra for it

  • If you don’t consistently rotate toys, you may not get your money’s worth

Nobody likes buying a toy only to watch their child play with it for five minutes and then never pick it up again. With Green Piñata, you’ll never have to risk finding a brand-new purchase in your child’s toy wasteland again: This rental service lets you choose the toys for them to try out at home, and decide what to do after they've played with them.

Similar to borrowing books from the library, as a Green Piñata subscriber you can choose from a catalog of toys appropriate for ages 6 months to 5 years, receive four of them shipped to your door, and use them for as long as you want (there’s no time limit on sending the toys back). You can either then send all the toys back for a new shipment and/or purchase the ones you want to keep for 10% off the manufacturer’s list price. 

Green Piñata says all of the toys in its catalog are meant to be both educational and stimulating, so you’re not likely to get any toys that just make noise for no reason. For about $30 per month, you can request, play with, and exchange toys on your own customizable schedule, guaranteeing that any toys you buy are ones you already know your child loves.

Best for STEM : MEL Kids


MEL Kids

MEL Kids

Key Specs

  • Pricing: About $33 per month; free shipping
  • Delivery: Monthly 
  • Number of Plans: 4

Why We Chose It: Science isn’t boring when you can use it to create liquid sand, cannons, robotic hands, and electric boats. MEL Kids will stimulate your kids.

Pros
  • Wide range of ages; STEM learning for 5- to 8-year-olds

  • Can be supplemental or used for homeschooling

Cons
  • Kids who can’t read yet will need assistance

  • Not all boxes include each needed item

Unless your child is a Bill Nye the Science Guy in training, STEM activities can feel daunting: Chemistry, physics, math, and engineering are involved, which can be fun topics for kids to explore and expand upon. 

That will change with the MEL Kids subscription, which uses science experiments to make your child into a full-on "science kid." Using kid-friendly toys like boats, cannons, and rockets, your child will learn about hydraulics, electricity, projectiles, optical illusions, and more. The concept is similar to Kiwi Crate, but the activities are a little more science-focused and challenging.

MEL Kids is delivered monthly for about $33, with prepaid plan options available. Their projects are all tested for safety, and none of them include explosives—they’re meant to be used by kids, not adults, so in theory, your child should be able to explore all on their own.

Best for Babies : Lovevery


Lovevery

 Lovevery

Key Specs

  • Pricing: About $80 to $120, free shipping
  • Delivery: Every 2 or 3 months
  • Number of Plans: 4

Why We Chose It: Designed to match up with your child’s micro-stages of development, you can’t beat Lovevery’s carefully curated boxes for each age and stage. 

Pros
  • High-quality, durable natural and organic toys

  • Created by child development experts

  • Themes based on common stages, like exploring and inquiring

Cons
  • More costly than some other options

  • Only ships every three months

  • No customization

The creators of Lovevery know exactly what your baby, toddler, or preschooler needs at their current stage of life. They’ve founded their subscription service with the help of child development experts, ensuring your child will get the perfect toys for the specific stage they’re going through.

With subscriptions for babies under 12 months and kids ages one, two, and three, Lovevery’s Play Kits target the skills your child is learning based on a breakdown of micro-stages of development. So whether your baby is learning that some things are hard and some or soft, your toddler is boosting language skills, or your preschooler is turning into quite the storyteller, there's a Lovevery box for you.

We love this subscription for babies, though, because the toys in each kit are made with natural wooden and organic cotton materials, making them safe and long-lasting. (And just because your child loves a toy as a baby doesn’t mean they won’t still want to play with it when they’re a toddler.) Your baby will also get plenty of time to experiment and engage with their new toys; Lovevery ships every two or three months, depending on your child’s age, but your monthly cost will breakdown to be $30 or $40.

Best for Toddlers : Sago Mini Box


Sago Mini Box

Sago Mini Box

Key Specs

  • Pricing: $19 per month; plus $4 shipping
  • Delivery: Monthly 
  • Number of Plans: 2

Why We Chose It: Whether your child is a fan of the Sago Mini apps or not, they’ll love getting three opportunities for exploratory and role-playing learning featuring the Sago Mini friends.

Pros
  • Three activities included in each box

  • Games, crafts, and role-playing opportunities

  • The shipping box can be used in play, reducing waste

Cons
  • Shipping not included

Toddlers love to put themselves in other people’s shoes, which is what makes the Sago Mini Box so much fun for kids in the 3 to 5 age group. With monthly themes like farmer’s market, airplane, and pet shop, your child will be sent a new role-playing activity involving their new Sago Mini friends encouraging them to explore the world outside their home.

That’s not all you get in the Sago Mini Box, though: There are also crafts, games, and learning prompts, making it the perfect combination of activities for busy little hands and minds. You'll receive three separate but related activities in each box.

We also like how the Sago Mini Box keeps waste reduction in mind; all of their products are made with recyclable materials, and even the shipping box itself can be turned into a prop for that month’s activities (like an airport or drama stage). At $19 per month, this box is an affordable mix of stuff your toddler will love; just keep in mind that you have to pay $4 shipping for each delivery.

Best for Collectors : Toy Box Monthly


Toy Box Monthly

Toy Box Monthly

Key Specs

  • Pricing: About $30 per month; free shipping
  • Delivery: Monthly 
  • Number of Plans:

Why We Chose It: Some subscriptions should just be for fun, and Toy Box Monthly has fun in spades. Whatever characters your child loves, they’ll never run out of toys to add to their collection. 

Pros
  • Licensed merchandise for an affordable cost

  • Boxes available in boy, girl, and both genders

  • Delivered monthly for kids who just can’t collect enough of their favorite toys

Cons
  • No novelty or hard-to-find items; could be bought in stores

  • Many toys are plastic

Be honest: Your kid’s bedroom is basically one large display for all of their precious trinkets and toys. There’s something about being a child that comes with a strong desire to collect things—and Toy Box Monthly is one of the best ways to keep them happy with a steady influx of collector-worthy toys.

Focused on the characters kids know and love, Toy Box Monthly sends four to six new toys to your child every month designed to fit right in with their existing collections. You can choose themed boxes like Marvel superheroes, LEGO, and Star Wars, Disney, and My Little Pony. But we love that there’s also a mixed option, so if your child’s interests are far-reaching or you have siblings sharing a subscription, you’ll get a combination of themed toys.

The toys here teach kids teamwork, cooperation, and problem-solving skills, among others. Plus, at about $30 per month, it's a cost-effective way to grow your little one's toy collection.

Best for Arts & Crafts : Peaceful Play Box


Peaceful Play Box

Peaceful Play Box

Key Specs

  • Pricing: Starts at $99 per quarter; free shipping
  • Delivery: Every 3 months 
  • Number of Plans:

Why We Chose It: The goal of the Peaceful Play Box is to give parents a break by supplying kids with an endless number of ways to imagine, play, and learn. 

Pros
  • Designed for hours of independent play

  • Focuses on creativity and STEM

  • Activities are made to be open-ended and last for hours

Cons
  • Likely to involve a lot of mess and small pieces

Giving your kids a big box of stuff, sitting back, and letting them go to town on it for hours is basically a parent’s dream. But most of us don’t have the time or patience to curate such a dream-fulfilling box o’ goodies, so we’re stuck giving our kid's activities that last five minutes before the complaints of “I’m bored" start up again.

Those days are over with the Peaceful Play Box: It’s like Pinterest itself shipped a whole bunch of crafty, creative, and imagination-boosting activities, promising to keep your child entertained for hours. On the main web page, it says “Imagine if your favorite teacher or mom blogger packaged up that pretty picture and sent it to you,” and a quick review of what’s included in each Peaceful Play Box demonstrates that’s exactly what you can expect.

With quarterly themes, many of them around the changing seasons, each Peaceful Play Box—delivered every three months—comes with a plethora of craft supplies, high-quality toys, STEM challenges, storytelling ideas, and sensory activities. The materials can be used in multiple ways, over many different play sessions, making the nearly $100 per shipment price tag well worth it (especially when you think about all the time, energy, and effort you’re saving by not collecting or organizing these items yourself).

Best for Older Kids & Families : UnboxBoardom


UnboxBoardom

UnboxBoardom

Key Specs

  • Pricing: Starts at about $34 per month when you pre-pay; free shipping with prepaid plans (or $5 per box)
  • Delivery: Monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly 
  • Number of Plans:

Why We Chose It: Get your entire family off their individual screens and around the kitchen table for game night with this tried-and-true subscription to the best board games around. 

Pros
  • Can choose how often to receive a shipment

  • Can select your own games or let UnboxBoardom surprise you

  • Overly difficult, boring, or frustrating games are weeded out of the catalog

Cons
  • Could buy the games cheaper elsewhere

  • Additional shipping required with pay-as-you-go plan

On the surface, this subscription doesn’t seem like it offers much—a board game once every month or three. But you’re paying for the expertise of some serious board game fanatics who are not only keeping their fingers on the pulse of what’s new and exciting in the board game world but are filtering out all the stuff that isn’t.

If you’ve ever wasted a family game night on a board game that was too hard to figure out, too long to finish, or too uninteresting to even continue, those days are over with a subscription to UnboxBoardom. Choose from three plans—monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly—and decide whether you want to pick the new game yourself or let the experts at UnboxBoardom choose for you. Many of the company's games are relatively new, meaning they’re not easy to find in stores, but all of them are worth about $35, so you can rest assured that your subscription fee is matched with the value of your items.

UnboxBoardom says all of its games are appropriate for families, so this is a solid subscription for both older siblings and families to play together. You can pay-as-you-go monthly for about $34 per game plus roughly $5 shipping, or select an annual prepay option that saves you a few dollars per game and includes free shipping.

Final Verdict

We love everything about Kiwi Crate’s subscription service: the affordability, the blend of science and art, the ease of use, and the fact that your kid gets bragging rights about how they built their own toys. A tried-and-true company providing subscription services for kids of all ages, we highly recommend the Kiwi Crate for kids in the exploration and creativity stage of 5 to 8 years old.

If you’re looking for more traditional toys, Green Piñata is perfect as a try-before-you-buy rental service for babies through kids ages 4 to 5, while Toy Box Monthly is a surefire way to thrill your mini collector with licensed merchandise.

Compare Toy Subscription Boxes for Kids

Company Pricing Delivery Number of Plans  Customizable  Ages
Kiwi Crate Best Overall Starts at $17 / free shipping  Monthly 4 No 5-8 years
Green Piñata Best for Renting $30 / free shipping Monthly  1 Yes 6 months-5 years
MEL Kids Best for STEM $33 / free shipping Monthly 4 No 5-8 years
Lovevery Best for Babies $80-$120 depending on plan / free shipping Every 2-3 months, depending on plan 4 No 0-3 years
Sago Mini Box Best for Toddlers $19 plus $4 shipping Monthly 2 No 3-5 years
Toy Box Monthly Best for Collectors $30 / free shipping Monthly 3 No 4-8 years
Peaceful Play Box Best for Arts & Crafts Starts at $99 per quarter / free shipping Every 3 months 1 No 3-7 years
UnboxBoardom Best for Older Kids & Families $34 month to month / free shipping with prepaid plans (or $5 per box) Monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly  3 Yes Whole Family

How to Choose the Best Toy Subscription Services

You probably do a little research before spending big bucks on a brand new toy for your child (scouring the package for age recommendations, assembly instructions, and compatibility with your existing toys), so we wouldn’t expect you to feel comfortable paying for any ol’ toy subscription service, either. 

Here’s what you should look for when choosing one:

  • Price: Don’t make the mistake of spending more on a subscription service than you would on toys; sometimes, subscription services save you money in the long run, but other times you accidentally end up spending way more on a subscription than you intend to—especially if your child isn’t sold on 100% of the items, which reduces the box’s overall value.
  • Variety of items: Even themed subscription boxes, like STEM or art boxes, should have some variety built-in. Your child might love rockets, but that doesn’t mean they’ll want to build a new one every month. The best subscription boxes know how to vary their items while maintaining some brand consistency, so look for the ones that know how to mix it up within their stated themes or goals.
  • Age-appropriateness: Most toy subscriptions are suitable for toddlers through elementary-aged kids, but it’s always worth double-checking to make sure your child falls within the recommended age range. This is particularly true if you’re shopping for a baby or an older child; those subscriptions are a little harder to come by.
  • Kid-friendly: This seems like a no-brainer, but hear us out: When you hand your child a new toy, do you expect to play with them? Or do you want them to go play independently, or with a sibling or playmate? Because if you’re using a toy subscription to teach your child independent skills like problem-solving and creativity, you’ll end up frustrated if your child can’t interact with the items without your assistance (a little help is one thing, but you shouldn’t have to do everything yourself). Assess whether the toy service can intuitively deliver items your child can play or interact with on their own.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Do Toy Subscription Services Offer?

When you sign up for a toy subscription service, you can expect to receive toys your kids will love: toys they can add to their collection of favorites, experiment with, and build themselves (while learning something in the process).

Best of all, what you receive in a toy subscription box will always be developmentally appropriate and perfectly suited to your child’s interests and age; the goal of these services is to provide your child with a steady stream of playtime opportunities to enhance their imagination and creativity, along with growing important problem-solving, cooperative, and critical thinking skills.

Are Toy Subscription Services Worth It?

The value depends on how much money you generally spend on toys on a regular basis, along with how much effort you put into finding those toys for your child. Sometimes the toys available with a subscription can’t be easily found elsewhere or, if they can, are more costly when purchased individually. Getting them through a subscription may save you money if you were intending to buy them anyway.

On the other hand, you’re opting into a program that will send you new toys whether your child needs them or not. That does mean you could end up spending money when you otherwise wouldn’t.

As far as your effort, if you constantly struggle to locate toys your child likes and is developmentally capable of playing with, a subscription service will solve that problem completely, saving you a lot of time (and that might be totally worth paying for).

How Much Do Toy Subscription Services Cost?

Most toy subscriptions cost somewhere between $20 and $40 per month when you break down the pricing over time. Some subscriptions ship monthly; these tend to fall in the lower end of the range. Others ship every three months, or quarterly, and while the individual price for each shipment will be more—usually around $100—the cost that it works out to per month will still fall within the $20 to $40 range.

Methodology

The main element we looked at to select this list of toy subscription services was how well the included toys boosted a child’s imagination. It’s great when a child can learn something from an educational toy, but kids also deserve pure, unfettered playtime—and, in fact, free play is critical for the development of your child’s creativity and emotional growth. That’s why we included some toys with an educational component and some just for fun, like board games and collectible character favorites.

Beyond that, we considered the variety of toys shipped to you over time (the more variety, the better) and how easy it is for your child to play or engage with toys on their own.

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