Missing the National Day of Unplugging, and finding the best value on unplugged play

Missing the National Day of Unplugging, and finding the best value on unplugged play

I seriously thought today was the National Day of Unplugging, and I even (finally) read Hands-Free Mama so I could tell you about it for the occasion.

But it turns out since this day for unplugging got rolling, it’s been moved: this year it was March 7-8, and I missed it.

(I’m rationalizing that I’m already consciously stepping away from my devices, and putting hard stops in my day, during Lent.)

I did read Hands-Free Mama–at least the first few chapters. I abandoned it. (I’m pretty sure this puts me solidly in the minority, and I’m ducking to avoid all the rotten tomatoes you’re flinging my way.)

If it’s not your style, read Manage Your Day-to-Day. Similar content, wildly different approach.

I may have missed the day, but I’d still like to tell you about one of my kids’ favorite forms of unplugged play, which (thankfully) doesn’t need a day of its own around here.

You may have heard that Kiwi Crate is partnering with Target to make certain crates available in Target stores. My girls love Kiwi Crate so I combed the toy aisles at my local Target and found these.

Kiwi Crate: Target vs. subscription service. Which is the better value?

My Target had four “creativity kits:” pom pom pets, modern art, flying kites, and racing wind cars, all priced at $14.99. We chose the racing wind cars because we’d previously received the other projects in our subscription boxes.

Here’s what we found when we opened it up:


The box contained all the materials to make two wind-powered cars.

I just took the pictures while my kids dove into the project by themselves.

kiwi crate target collage

Kiwi Crate is aimed at kids ages 3-8. My girls have loved Kiwi Crate from the beginning, and have been able to tackle the projects mostly on their own. This is the first crate Silas–who turned 4 in January–has been interested in. He needed a little help from Sarah, but he could mostly make his car by himself. (He was quite proud of himself.)


It took the kids about half an hour to make their cars. We had plenty of materials left over.

The box also contained Kiwi Crate’s Explore magazine, which contained a few articles about wind power, fun ideas, and this bonus pinwheel project.


My kids enjoyed the Kiwi Crate box we picked up at Target, and I like knowing we could stop in and pick one up, say, if we needed a birthday gift fast, or had a string of rainy days in the forecast. I do think the regular subscription is a better value, as every box contains 2-3 projects, and the surprise-and-delight factor of the box arriving in the mail–addressed to them–is a big deal for my kids.

(Additionally, Kiwi Crate emails current subscribers offering big discounts on their subscription if they pay for several months in advance, which makes it an even better value.)

Target also has Kiwi Crate single boxes on their web site, which contain 2-3 projects each, although they’re not available in stores right now. Of the four available, my girls loved the making music and fairy fun crates. Each crate is $19.99, which is the same as it is if you order directly from Kiwi Crate.

Want to try Kiwi Crate? Check out your local Target, or head here to subscribe.

BONUS: Kiwi Crate is offering a special deal to MMD readers. Use the code DARCY25 to get 25% off your first month. (Excludes sibling add-on.) This is the same deal we used to get started over a year ago.

P.S. What happened at my house after we tried Kiwi Crate, and a peek inside a few more crates.

This post is not sponsored or perked in any way. We’re just fans of the service. This post does contain my affiliate links. Thanks for supporting MMD!

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  1. Ah, I’m so tempted to do this! I’m generally pretty craft-averse, but if the supplies showed up on my doorstep… 🙂
    And I love your daughter’s striped poncho/sweater thing! So cute. I want one too 🙂

  2. Jen says:

    I’m curious why you abandoned Hands Free Mama. I’m on the waiting list for it at the library, but from everything I’ve heard about it, I’m almost afraid to read it. This sounds terrible, but I know I spend too much time on the computer, and I don’t need any more guilt about it!

  3. I also would love to know what you thought about Hands Free Mama. I got a review copy & with having my 5th child & being involved in a slew of other things, I don’t have time (ironically) to read a book about making more time! I read the first chapter (maybe two?) & like Jen, I try to avoid books that make me feel more guilt than I already have…though I know that’s certainly not her intent. Anyway, I would love to know your honest thoughts about it!

  4. Jennifer says:

    I would love to hear your honest review on Hands Free Mama. I can’t seem to get past the third chapter either. It is making me feel guilty but I know that I do tend to spend too much time on the Internet, so I keep trying to persevere in the hopes that something will finally click and make me a better mother. Does that make any sense? This is why I’m usually a lurker and keep my craziness to myself. 🙂

    • Anne says:

      “Does that make any sense? This is why I’m usually a lurker and keep my craziness to myself. :)”


      Jennifer, I took a stab at articulating why I didn’t love this one in this comment thread. Also, thanks for letting me know I’m not the only reader on the planet who didn’t love this book. 🙂

  5. I would also love to hear more about why you abandoned Hands Free Mama. I have it on my to-read list but I seem to have almost the same taste in books that you do, so I wonder if I should leave it alone.

    Also, I understand feeling like the minority on a book everyone seems to love. For me, it was One Thousand Gifts. I read the first chapter or two but was put off by the over-use of adjectives and felt traumatized by the graphic description of a toddler’s death. I just didn’t want to read anymore, but many people I know LOVE that book and swear it changed their lives.

    • Katherine says:

      I abandoned One Thousand Gifts for that reason, too! With certain books that I hear so much buzz about, I feel like I should push through. But- for whatever reason- I just didn’t with that one.

      I’ve had the same sort of knee-jerk reaction to Hands-Free Mama.

      • I’m going to come out as a non-fan of One Thousand Gifts, too. Mostly for style reasons, because I thought her message was great. Everyone just loves it so much that I keep trying it, but can’t get past the first few chapters.

        • Kelty says:

          I’ll have to agree with y’all too on that. Again, love the premise but as lovely as Voskamp’s writing is, it makes my head hurt.

          • Oh, geez…I thought I was the only one. All the sentence fragments and flowery language made me feel like I was reading something through a fog.

            But I am very, very not-poetic person, and so the problem is probably all on my end!

            I liked the message, but like several of you, I only got through the first few chapters.

      • I’m glad I’m not the only one with the One Thousand Gifts thing. I do occasionally like posts written by Voskamp on her blog and I DO appreciate her message so I hate to come off as down on her in general. It just wasn’t for me.

    • Anne says:

      I usually need to sit with books for a while before I’m able to articulate exactly what I didn’t like, but my first attempt at capturing it is: I thought her HuffPo pieces were good but that doesn’t mean it should be a book, the tone was extremely guilt-inducing (and I don’t think that’s just because I was primed to feel guilty), and taking the ideas to their logical conclusions makes no sense to me.

      Also, there’s a difference between relating your own epiphany and inspiring someone else’s. I think a lot of readers were inspired by this book, but I just wasn’t getting it.

  6. Alissa says:

    This post made me glad for two reasons.
    I’m glad to see I’m not alone in abandoning hands free mama. I felt it was repetitive and too simplistic. I was bored and abandoned it.

    I’m also glad to hear about Kiwi Crate at target. My oldest turns four next week and i’ve been wondering if she would like these so this is a good way to try them plus I have a target gift card so it won’t cost me anything! 🙂

  7. Melissa says:

    I wanted to abandon Hands Free Mama, I really did, and for the same reasons as some of you, it was extremely repetitive! But I powered through it because I borrowed it from the library and didn’t want to have to check it out again later. 🙂
    I think there is only one way to read that book and enjoy it. I think you buy it, and then read one chapter a month. Because it is like hearing the same info over and over, with slightly different anecdotes. I could see it being a great reminder every once in a while about putting down the distractions and focusing on your kids. But to sit down and read it all in one setting…. Meh.
    I made a New Year’s goal not to buy any books this year, so I couldn’t read the book this way, but I still think that’s the best way to get something out of the book. 🙂

  8. Amy says:

    I read all of Hands Free Mama, but did not like. It rubbed me the wrong way big time, was repetitive, and kind of “DUH.” Perhaps reading a chapter per month would have been better. Perhaps. I was happy to read here that I’m not alone in not loving that one. I believe my FB status update after reading it was something to the effect of “Not everyone that has a blog needs to write a book.”

    Thanks for the Kiwi Box review. I am planning to look into these for my kiddos!

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