The gift that keeps on giving. Here's our pick of the best subscription boxes for children and parents, from kids' crafts to mum pamper products
Subscription boxes have become the hottest trend in shopping of late. They offer excitement, inspiration and quality, can be tailored to the recipient's interests and life stage, and make the perfect gift. A surprise treat every month for 3, 6, 12 or mores - how exciting is that?
With subscriptions boxes for babies including clothing or essential product packages to luxe pamper sets or family meal kits for stressed-out mums and parents.There's such a huge choice on the market for families to enjoy at the moment that selecting the perfect one can be overwhelming.
So, we've selected our favourites so that you can treat someone special - or even just yourself!
For putting the fun into learning...
Set up by a primary school teacher to inspire a life-long love of history in kids, Mysteries In Time is an educational subscription box for 7–11 year olds. Each parcel is a special 'Time Machine' bursting with activities themed around topics like Ancient Egypt, the Vikings or Aztecs.
Each box contains an illustrated adventure book, an accompanying history booklet and extras like a craft project with all materials included, stickers, puzzles, bookmarks, colouring in and a surprise gift, all linked to that month's topic.
A great idea for anyone who wants to encourage their child to learn without them even knowing it – and our 2017 Junior Design Awards gold winner for best kids’ subscription box.
Classic box £7.95, bumper box £12.95. Buy as a one-off or select a monthly, quarterly or bi-annual plan. Order now at mysteriesintime
For blowing their minds...
Billed as creative projects for curious kids aged 3-8, the Trunkaroo box has a strong STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and maths) focus. Each one has a theme - such as Growing Seeds, Curious Colours or Bubble Science - and contains two projects with all the materials and instructions to spark your child's imagination and keep them occupied for hours.
Also includes the Discoveroo magazine with additional art and science activities and experiments. This box also won bronze in the 2017 Junior Design Awards for best kids’ subscription box.
£16.99-£19.99 plus £2.95 postage per package, depending on frequency. Order now at trunkaroo.com
For crafty kids...
ToucanBox send you lovely hands-on craft boxes that let your child make then play. Each one is put together by educational experts for 3-8 year olds to develop key skills - but the projects are lots of fun too. The boxes contain one, two or four makes, depending on which size you select, with materials and instructions, plus collectible stickers.
The Grande and Super sizes also include a book and can be upgraded to include extra materials for siblings. Themes include World of Bees, Discover Japan and Arctic Expedition.
Petite box £5.95 a fortnight, Grande box £12.90 a month, Super box £19.90 a month. Order now at toucanbox
For budding Bake-Off contestants...
Aspiring chefs or just young foodies will be a heaven with Mini Bakers Club, a cooking and craft combo from award-winning London bakery BKD. Designed for children aged 3-8, the handcrafted personalised boxes cover all sorts of STEAM based subjects like Minibeast Adventures, Exploring the Senses and a Trip to the Big Top.
Each one contains a baking and craft activity book, all the ingredients and materials required, a recipe card to recreate the magic again. There's also a chance to be named Star Baker and win a certificate.
Monthly subscription £9.99 a month, 3 months £27.99, 6 months £53.94. Order now at bkd-london
For those long days stuck indoors...
You can buy sunshine in a box! The Rainy Day Box is all about good old-fashioned fun, whatever the weather. Each one contains a minimum of three activities with easy-to-follow picture instructions, a bonus recycling task, a prize chart, reward sticker, 'everlasting' glue tube and art brush.
They can be tailored to girls, boys or unisex. There are monthly subscription available, a 'build your own box' option with five items included or pre-prepared themed boxes in various prices.
Six-month subscription £6.50 plus 75p postage per box, 12-month subscription £5.99 plus 75p postage per box, Build Your Own Box £10.99. Order now at rainydaybox
For fashion fans...
Billing itself as a styling service for busy families, Muddy Creatures creates tailored fashion parcels for your child to take the stress out of shopping. Sign up and create a profile for each little fashionista (from newborn to age six), then wait for a box of 20-25 beautiful things to arrive, from brands like Mini Rodini, Petit Crabe, Poppy Rose and MarMar.
The emphasis is on design-led clothes that still allow kids to play and move - and feel comfortable. You have ten days to try them on for size and keep what you love but send back what you don't. You only pay for what you keep at the end of the ten days and there is free postage both ways. A box four to six times a year is recommended to keep up with your child's growth and the seasons.
Free to join, prices for boxes vary depending on what you keep. Order now at muddycreatures
For mums needing some love...
What mum doesn't deserve some me time? After all, by taking care of yourself, you can better take care of your family.
MamaME are monthly self-care packages contain five luxurious, seasonal and useful treats, such as cosy Tom Lane alpaca socks, a Nathalie Bond Organics soy candle and Bahari Blossom hand cream. All brands included are independent and high quality, with the contents worth at least £40.
One box £25, three-month subscription £75, six-month subscription £120, annual subscription £180. Order now at mamamebox
For keeping those parenting wrinkles at bay...
It can be tough to find time to care for your skin, nails and hair - not to mention hunting out the must-have products. Mintd selects tried-and-tested beauty solutions and sends you a tailored monthly package of 4-5 full or deluxe items to suit your needs, on themes such as Beauty Sleep, Holiday Prep and Recovery.
When you sign up, choose a monthly or bi-monthly plan, then tailor it to your lifestyle and needs. All products are from respected brands and a box can be worth around £160. If you love something, you can buy it again through the website and also gain loyalty points towards a free box by submitting reviews.
£65 per box on a monthly or bi-monthly plan, discounts for a three, six or annual subscription Order now at mintdbox
For savvy shoppers...
Try before you buy is the concept of the award-winning Sassy Bloom boxes, created by mum and dad team Holly and Darren, which take you through each stage of pregnancy up to your child's third birthday. Each month you receive a selection of expert-selected items from respected brands, to fit your pregnancy stage or child's age and gender.
The contents are worth £40-85, with four to seven items per package, and might include Yoomi bottles, Munchkin soothers and MegaBloks sets.
Boxes for twins and triplets are also available, and if you can't bear to stop your subscription, there is Sassy Kids Box for 3-8 year olds, containing arts, crafts and games.
£39.95 one-off box, £98.85 for three months, £179.70 for six months. Order now at sassybloom
For brilliant bedtime stories...
Give the gift of reading with Bookabees. These monthly boxes contain books handpicked for your child and activities and stickers to keep them busy. Either let the experts choose the titles included or pick them yourself and then you have two months to read and return for free, to be enjoyed by another reader.
They are only sent out 5-7 times, depending on condition, before being sent to a charity shop. But if you can't be parted with any of your new stories, you can buy them for half off the cover price. Suitable for 0-11 year olds.
1 book per month £4.99, 2 books per month £8.99, 3 books per month £10.99. Order now at bookabees
For foodie families...
Anything that makes mealtimes easier gets a big thumbs up from us. Hence why we love the new Family Box from meal kit brand HelloFresh, which has been specifically designed to be as fuss-free as possible with minimal hands-on cooking time and washing up.
The kits contain absolutely everything you need to make a three meals for four people, even the herbs and condiments, with all ingredients pre-measured and full instructions. Best of all, they are really fun to make with the kids, turning teatime into bonding time.
Before long, they'll be able to knock up dinner for you! Subscriptions are flexible too, so you can miss a week if you are going on holiday, for example.
A three-meal weekly Family Box for four people costs from £53.99 (approx £4.50 a meal). Order now at hellofresh
For showing another mum you care...
Parenting can be tough and sometimes we all struggle. Let a friend know you are thinking of her with BuddyBox. Calling itself a hug in a box, it contains at least five items to cheer, enrich and soothe the recipient, arriving mid-month and mid-week as a lovely surprise (the contents are always kept secret for maximum impact).
The boxes were designed by Blurt, an organisation focused on helping people with depression, but they are for anyone who needs a boost. Best of all, the proceeds go to raising awareness and understanding of mental illness. There's also a BuddyBox Lite option with a minimum of three items, and both can be bought as a one-off or rolling monthly subscription.
BuddyBox costs £21.50 per box/month, BuddyBox Lite costs £12 per box/month. Order now at blurtitout.org/buddybox
Junior Design Awards 2017: the best kids' subscription boxes
The easiest family dinner recipes you'll ever make, by HelloFresh
Make a Christmas tea light: craft project by ToucanBox