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Do you ever wish you could try out the latest STEM toys before committing to purchasing them? I do! Thankfully, STEMtrunk read our minds and created an educational subscription service to do just that.
An Educational Subscription Service for Kids
What is STEMtrunk?
STEMtrunk is an educational subscription service that sends high quality STEM toys right to your mailbox. You keep the toys as long as you would like and send them back when your kids are finished with the project. Then, another awesome toy is delivered. This subscription rental service reminds me of when Netflix sent DVDs through the mail.
The STEMtrunks are geared towards kids in kindergarten through 8th grade, but I think that is fairly flexible. My daughter is finishing up 7th grade and I think there are still plenty of trunks that would interest her.
Some of the trunks include:
- Happy Atoms
- Makey Makey
- Droid Inventor Kit
- Piper Computer Kit (This is the STEMtrunk we tried.)
- Snap Circuits
Some of the trunks do require access to an iPad or smartphone app, but they are clearly marked on the website.
Our experience with STEMtrunk
It was an exciting day when our first STEMtrunk, the Piper computer, arrived in the mail. The package stood out with a fun decorative box. This colorful box definitely created a spark of excitement when my kids brought in the mail.
The first thing we did was check out the contents of the box. A handy checklist is included in every STEMtrunk. This makes it easy to make sure everything is included before you begin the project, but it is incredibly valuable when you are packaging it up to return. I love products that include organizational tools.
The Piper computer kit involves building a computer and then adding on features such as a game controller, buzzers, switches, buttons, and LED lights. I have zero tech skills, but didn’t really need any because it was all so well designed. We followed the blueprint instructions and built the physical portion of the computer one afternoon. It ends up looking like a wooden laptop.
I thought that we would wait to get the computer up and running until my husband, i.e. our in house tech support, was home, but my son had other ideas. I looked over one morning and my 9 year old had turned the battery pack on and was working through the on screen directions. The computer is a Raspberry pi that plays Minecraft. Kids learn how to add features to the computer by playing the game. Each time they learn a new computer skill, such as connecting a LED light, a new Minecraft planet is unlocked.
Usually we limit the kids to one hour of screen time a day, not counting educational sites. My son was thrilled that he had found a way to circumvent the system and play Minecraft without his usual limits.
My kids have had a blast working their way through the Minecraft lessons.
Sending the STEMtrunk back is easy. Just carefully repack the project in the original box and tape on the prepaid shipping label.
Do I recommend STEMtrunk?
I do! STEMtrunk is awesome. We are moving across the country soon, but as soon as we get settled, I am ordering a subscription for my kids.
I like STEMtrunk for a variety of reasons:
It saves me money. Rather than spend big bucks on a new STEM toy, I can add it to my STEMtrunk queue. Kids still get the same learning opportunity, but for a fraction of the price.
No clutter. The toys are used and then sent back so there are no forgotten toys gathering dust around the house. I recently cleaned out our ‘education’ closet and was shocked by the number of science kits that were completely ignored. That won’t happen with STEMtrunk.
Creates interest and excitement around STEM. One of my kids naturally loves all things science, technology, engineering, and math. My other child? Not so much. But even that child was excited to build a computer. My child that hated Hour of Code actually enjoyed building and programming a computer. This experience could open doors for her!
Support STEMtrunk on Indiegogo before May 1, 2018 and receive up to 35% off your initial subscription price.
Follow STEMtrunk online!
Have you ever tried an educational subscription service?
Disclosure: I borrowed a STEMtrunk in order to write a proper review. This in no way influenced my review. I simply can not write about what I haven’t tried. The STEMtrunk was returned, just as it would be for anyone that receives a kit in the mail.