Ashley Hunter is a mom, teacher, and community supporter who loves who she is and where she lives.

Ashley Hunter

Ashley Hunter

For me, it’s hard to purchase gifts for other people’s kids. I try to go by the rule that if I wouldn’t buy it for my children, then I wouldn’t buy it for someone else. Unfortunately, that means we end up at a birthday party or family dinner with the gift that no one knows what to make of.

My husband and I spent our first married Christmas with my side of the family about six years ago. We had no kids at the time but bought presents for my little cousin who would be there. When Christmas morning came, all the presents were under the tree, including ours that seemed so small in comparison to the ones around it. My cousin, who was 7 at the time, ended up being showered in Skylanders action figures and video games, including a new gaming system to play them on (I don’t even know if those things are still popular anymore).

My husband and I held our breath when he came to opening our present. I supposed he thought it was another action figure, because when he opened the majority of the wrapping, his face turned from excitement to a look of confusion. It was a paint-it-yourself dinosaur set complete with paints and clay models of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and Triceratops, two of the coolest dinosaurs. We beamed with pride at our unique, creative and technology-free gift. My cousin? He sat there with a tiny smile on his face. “What is it?” He asked. I narrowed my eyes; “It’s like a Skylander, but you get to pick its superpower and decorate it yourself!”

It’s now 2019, and in the aftermath of action figures that you can see on your TV screen, a lot of companies are seeing the need for creativity and self- expression when it comes to playtime. Not only that, but put together the subscription business model and the ease of delivering goods to individual homes and you can come up with something really popular. KiwiCo does exactly that. Our family hadn’t heard of this company until we had an unexpected birthday gift from my brother-in-law. He asked my husband if our children were interested in building and creating, and his response was, “What child isn’t?”

KiwiCo delivers a “tinker crate” every month, which is essentially a box filled with materials and guides for activities and projects to complete with their parents. Nothing uses batteries or requires a WiFi connection. It’s pure fun with rubber bands, paper, bean bags, cloth and wood. Each box targets a specific age group, so in our case, we get two boxes: One is in the “Koala crate” class for ages 3 to 4 and the other is in the “Kiwi crate” class for ages 5-8. They have crates for children up to age 16, and they all build on Science, Technology (not the Skylanders kind), Engineering, Art and Math or STEAM principles.

If you are at a loss for what to do during their summer with your kids or grandkids or if you have a string of birthdays and holidays coming up, consider a subscription for the young ones in your life.

Ashley Hunter is a mom, teacher, and community supporter who loves who she is and where she lives. If you have ideas that you would like to share with Hunter, you may email suggestions to

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