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Subscription Services

Convenience, function and the element of surprise – three good reasons why we’re loving the subscription service market. Rather than spend valuable time perusing the craft store, the beauty shop and even the grocery store, you can have curated beauty products, entertaining and educational children’s books and craft kits, and even snacks for the family shipped right to your door. Here is a roundup of our nine favorite subscription services right now:

Stork Stack
The stork gets a lot of credit for “delivering” our babies. Now a new subscription service called Stork Stack takes the legwork (or wingwork) out of finding the sweetest products for new and expecting mothers. Each “stack” comes with a collection of five hand-selected, deluxe products, and past boxes have included diaper cream and onesies, board books, plush animals, Rockabye Baby! CDs and more items to use as early as your third trimester and through your baby’s third birthday. Have a friend who’s close to term? Give a gift membership for a three-, six- or 12-month subscription, or sign up for your own subscription starting at $28 per month. Stork Stack also donates packages to families in need, so you can feel good about your special delivery.
888/804-7377; storkstack.com

A young child’s appetite for LEGOs is about as bottomless as their appetite for chocolate milk, but you can control your child’s (and your living room floor’s) LEGO intake with this recently launched rental service by Pleygo. Select a plan for small, medium or large sets, create a wish list of the particular sets your child fancies, play with it and send it back in a prepaid box, as many times as you like. Monthly subscriptions start at $15, and if your child falls in love with a set, you have the option to buy it. Each and every toy block is sanitized before its arrival at your front door. A bonus: Pleygo donates LEGOs as well as 10 percent of proceeds to children’s charities.
347/994-9160; pleygo.com

The kids are learning new words by the minute, so keep their personal dictionary growing and your family’s library fresh with books from Sproutkin, a children’s book rental service. Kits are created according to your child’s age down to the month and have themes that the hit on developmental milestones. For children ages 1–35 months, each Sproutkit includes 2–4 board books and an activity card with tips and milestone information for $24.99 per month. Preschoolers ages 3–6 get unlimited Sproutkits with 10 books per kit for $24.99. Exchange them throughout the month and keep the books as long as you like.
415/857-2153; sproutkin.com

We’ve all done it. You bought the full-sized shampoo bottle in a new brand only to discover that maybe you should have grabbed a different formula. With Birchbox, you can sample hair and skincare products, fragrances and more to find what works for you without breaking the bank. For $10 per month, Birchbox will send carefully curated products, and if and when you want, you are welcome to buy full sizes in the Birchbox shop. Earn one point for every dollar you spend; 100 points gets you a $10 credit. Make sure to get products tailored to your preferences and grooming habits by filling out your profile.
877/487-7272; birchbox.com

Just when you think you’ve seen everything there is to see on the health food aisle, NatureBox will send treats such as lemon pucker pistachios, Bombay curried cashews, blueberry almond bites and more yummy and all-natural snacks to keep the kids – and you – going between meals. This delivery services starts at $19.95 per month and boxes come in three sizes: 5, 10 or 20 full-sized snack bags. All have no high fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, trans fats, or artificial sweeteners, flavors or colors.
888/613-6998; naturebox.com

Little Passports
Travel expenses and vacation days can be tight, but let the kids get out and explore all the same with Little Passports. Get to know landmarks and attractions from a different country each month in the World Edition, recommended for 5–10-year-olds, or all 50 states in the U.S. Edition for ages 7–12. In the starter kit, you’ll get a child-sized suitcase, a wall-sized world map, stickers and a passport, and in each following kit, a boarding pass, toys like 3-D pop-out models and a letter from two globetrotting characters Sam and Sofia. Follow the activity guide and check out the online virtual tour of each country. Subscriptions are $10.95 per month.

Green Kid Crafts
This subscription box makes it easy to be green during craft time. Check out Green Kid Crafts for eco-friendly produced crafts that are natural, non-toxic and sustainably made, all words we like to hear. You’ll find three or four crafts in monthly kits for kids ages 3–8, each with themes like dinosaurs or birds, as well as games, coloring sheets, an activity booklet and recommended books that continue the theme. Monthly subscription is $19.95. Does brother or sister want a box as well? Get the sibling subscription for an additional $10 per month.
619/450-1711; greenkidcrafts.com

This “little” subscription service has a big personality with a cool and eclectic mix of items that will tickle your fancy. For $37.95 per month, you’ll find a surprising collection of 3–5 items – anything from veggie sidewalk chalk, leggings and a dino toy made from sustainable wood, to teething jewelry made from non-toxic silicon, reusable food pouches or an organic cotton messenger bag. Plus, a stylish little fox is often thrown in there in the form of a mask, cloth doll or activity book, and littlefox partners with artists to create limited edition T-shirts exclusively for subscribers.
888/470-0573; findlittlefox.com

Cooper & Kid
Andy, get your glue gun. These kids’ craft boxes are made specifically for Dad and kids ages 5 and older. Each Cooper Kit, a.k.a. the “Dad is Awesome Box,” has 6–9 activities as well as a children’s book and a dinner menu. In the current kit called How Things Fly, even the shipping box turns into an airplane. Right now you can buy the first Cooper Kit for $65, which makes it just the right treat for Father’s Day, and stay tuned for the subscription service to get going. You can sign up to be notified when the service officially begins. You’ll receive one box every three months.
952/388-0478; cooperandkid.com

Published June 2013