Note: This post contains affiliate links. You may read my disclosure here.

It’s summer break, which means my kids are home with me most days now. We’re always on the lookout for fun activities to break up our day and change things up. I recently found Tinkering Toddler Crates on Instagram and was immediately interested in trying one of their cute crates with my kids. Enter “Engineering Emily” in the referral link at checkout to get a coupon code for your next order!It’s summer break, which means my kids are home with me most days now. We’re always on the lookout for fun activities to break up our day and change things up. I recently found Tinkering Toddler Crates on Instagram and was immediately interested in trying one of their cute crates with my kids.

We’ve tried several other subscription crates in the past including Kiwi Co and Kid Wonder (which is no longer available). We are still getting our monthly Kiwi Co subscription and my son has now moved up from their Koala Crate to the Kiwi Crate.

We enjoy getting our Kiwi Crates, but I have noticed that after we build our projects my son doesn’t usually go back and play with them again. So it’s a one-time engaging activity.

Tinkering Toddler Crates appealed to me because they have sensory activities that the kids can play with over and over again.

Let’s face it, I was sold from the minute I saw the name Tinkering Toddler Crates and the tag line of Play. Learn. Get Messy! I knew I would love this crate.

I was graciously given the Tinkering Toddler Crates Rainbow crate to try with my kids. I was excited to try the Rainbow crate because both my kids say their favorite color is “rainbow”. Anything with a rainbow theme is usually a hit with them.

The crates are recommended for kids age 3 to 5, so my kids at 2.5 years old and almost 5 years old are both perfect ages for the Tinkering Toddler Crates. It is a play-based subscription box, with new themes monthly. It is focused on educational activities and includes all materials needed to complete the activities.

Our Rainbow crate came with three fun rainbow activities, including all the materials needed, step-by-step instructions with photographs, and helpful developmental tips.

The three activities featured in our kit were Colors of the Rainbow Sensory Bin, Weaving with Color, and Trace the Rainbow.

We started with the Colors of the Rainbow Sensory Bin. I read the instructions before we started and saw that it would need overnight drying time, so we started it in the evening before bed.

My Instagram feed is currently oversaturated with sensory bins for kids. Moms making their own, or selling them – they all look beautiful, fun, and mind-boggling to me. How do they color their pasta, rice, and beans so vibrantly? How does it look so perfect when kids are meant to play with it? What do the kids DO with the sensory bins?

Now I finally had a chance to answer these previously mind-boggling questions! We were given a bag of pasta and six smaller bags to divide it between. This was a good chance for my kids to learn about portions (and making sure each bag was equal). They also practiced their fine motor skills by placing the pasta into the smaller baggies.

Next we had to add food coloring and a splash of water into each baggie to make six colors of the rainbow.

My daughter had a heavy hand when squeezing in the food coloring, so our purple was a very deep purple (borderline black), but beautiful nonetheless.

After making sure all the pasta was coated in color we put them out on paper towels to dry overnight.

The next day my son could not wait to play with the dried colored pasta! But, being the Instagram mom I am, I insisted they wait until I beautifully arranged the pasta in rainbow color order for a photo (you’re welcome) before they could dig in.

Instagram worthy perfection (the toddler hand photo-bomb makes it better, right?)

As soon as the photo was taken they couldn’t wait to dig in with their tongs (included in the box) and their hands to touch, mix, toss, separate, etc the colored pasta.

Now I get it! The sensory bin is endless fun for the kids – there is so much they can do with it and it engages all their senses. It is colorful, it makes fun sounds when you lift a handful and drop it back in, it feels hard and smooth in their hands, I’d rather not have them eat colored dry pasta, but I know it probably wouldn’t hurt them if they tasted it.

They played for hours with the sensory bin, and we all really liked the two activities provided to get more STEAM use of the sensory bin. There is a dice game that involves counting and number comparison (greater and less than), and a rainbow mat and colored cupcake liners to sort the colors.

I think the bin looks just as great with the colors mixed up as it did with them neatly arranged 🙂

The minute my son saw the Weaving with Color activity he wanted to try it. He has enjoyed learning simple sewing, so he was looking forward to this. It came with a perforated semicircle and rainbow colored chenille stems. My daughter was definitely not ready for this activity – at 2.5 years old her fine motor skills are not that refined yet.

She still played with the chenille, using her tongs! Great motor skill practice!

My son needed a lot of assistance because the perforated holes were pretty small and the chenille can be difficult to manipulate. This activity probably required the most parental involvement out of the three activities in this box (that’s why I don’t have many action pictures, because I was helping), but in the end my son was extremely happy with and proud of the rainbow we wove together.

Our final activity, Trace the Rainbow, was probably my favorite. Playing with paints, but no mess?! I love it! It was so simple, so fun, so smart.

I prepped the bags, and then sealed them tightly for this no mess activity!

They learned how combining two primary colors creates a third secondary color. They used their fingers to move the paint around and trace the rainbow.

My kids enjoyed squishing the paint around and creating the third color. This was a perfect activity for both of them to enjoy and they spent a long time playing with it. Best of all, the box came with 3 tubs of paint and a full roll of electrical tape, enough for us to do this activity several more times.

Tinkering Toddler Crates are available for one time purchases or as a monthly subscription. Right now, I’m doing one time purchases. I am going to order my kids the Fireworks crate to celebrate the 4th of July next week. That crate appealed to me because of the awesome reusable resin letters and water beads that come in it. I know my kids will enjoy the Fireworks crate for a long time and get many STEAM benefits from it too!

If you enter “Engineering Emily” in the referral box at checkout you will get a coupon for a discount code on your next purchase! The Rainbow crate I reviewed is still available (listed under one-time items), and each month they feature a new seasonally appropriate theme!

Under the “Join” tab you can find prepaid subscriptions for 3, 6, or 12 months and you save more per month with the subscriptions.

What is your favorite STEAM subscription box? Will you be trying out Tinkering Toddler Crates this summer too?


Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you click on a product link I may receive compensation at no additional cost to you. I only link to products and pages I personally use and highly recommend. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Thank you for your support!

You have Successfully Subscribed!