Friday, January 18, 2013

Surprise Ride Funbox for Kids Review and GIveaway

It should come as no surprise that Grace thinks the UPS man is Santa in disguise! She loves seeing boxes come in, knowing that there may be fun items in it for her to use, read, steal have, and enjoy!

surprise ride logo

SO when I was offered a chance to let her review a Surprise Ride activity box, I knew she would ADORE having her own box to open and enjoy, so I said yes very emphatically!

Ever hear about them? I hadn't!

SurpriseRide is a new subscription service that sends 7-12 year old kids fun activities in the mail every month (younger children can also partake, but will need adult assistance). Their goal is to expand children's horizons and foster creativity with the activities included in the box. Activities are theme-based, and cover a wide variety of subjects from art and culture, to science and technology. Each ride includes a close-ended SurpriseAcitivity that encourages structured discovery, an open-ended SurpriseChallenge that allows kids to exercise their imagination, and other fun extras! 

Here's what our box for January looked like:

january surprise ride box

Now what you need to know is that Grace is CRAZY about birds, and feathers, and birds. Seriously- last year she brought home AT LEAST 2 feathers a day she had found at school (we put a stop to that this year- she can only bring home unique ones, like eagle or blue jay). And she got other kids doing it too- one of the mothers told me she had enough feathers at home to cover 2 birds. As I had enough to cover 4, I knew exactly what she meant! We've even bought her not one, but two, bird guides, so she can figure out what birds are in our yard, or on trips! SO when Grace opened the box and saw all the bird related items, her face lit up like it was Christmas morning! Followed by an incredulous "is this ALL for me?" question. When told it was, I swear she did a happy dance, then dove into the box!

The first thing that Grace had to check out was the bag of feathers- and ooh and aah over them. Half are dyed feathers, but to a kid that is NO problem, she loved them without question.

surprise ride collage 1

The next thing to get opened was the Great Eagle. Based on ye old wooden plane gliders, it is made of a styrofoam product, painted to look like a bird. Now Grace is known to kill a plane/glider within an hour, so I was not holding out hope for the Eagle. She had it together in about 30 seconds, and flying through the house in another 20! Surprisingly, the Eagle got some pretty good air, as you can see from the photo above, his favorite landing spot was the blades of the ceiling fan which luckily was off!). Considering we have 12 foot ceilings, it was pretty impressive. Alas, he suffered from bo-bos and within 2 hours had lost his beak and was being held together with a lot of scotch tape. But he is still flying, just a little less high and long!

surprise ride binoculars

Her next endeavor was the binoculars. Is there a young child anywhere that doesn't LOVE binoculars? We have an expensive pair that we let her use with supervision, so she was thrilled to have her 'won' pair! She checked out everything in the house with them, and then the next afternoon, everything outside (from the porch, unfortunately we were in the middle of 10 days straight of rain...SIGH). She spotted the return of 'our' woodpecker and decided, "he might be a she, as she's rather chunky like she;s about to lay an egg!". Ah the wisdom of kids! 

surprise ride collage 2

Now Grace also loves bird houses and painting, so I knew her next foray would be the birdhouse! I was really impressed with the quality of the kit! The pieces are of heaving duty wood and all snap together (glue is not required, but recommended, we used ye old school glue). They come with a set of 6 colors, and another 6 colors were provided in the kid, for extra creativity. As she was painting the box, I went through the activity book with her and she decided to paint the house with things that birds love to eat, like berries, seeds, grubs, and even trees and flowers, to make them happy while inside.When she took a break we went through the included  Flight Plans: A Bird's Eye View Of Life book bMaryjo Koch (which is quite lovely and a $10 value), and she was quite taken with her 'reference book'. She went for the abstract look and since this was all HER activity (I just put it together for her after she was done), we didn't change a thing. A hint in case you ever work on one of these- make sure you're painting the outside of each piece! Our birds will be getting to collage paintings on the inside of their new home! We will be painting ours in a heavy duty coating of shellac, as Grace wants to put it out by her swing set. Seriously, this bird house set and the book alone are worth more than the monthly subscription cost for a box! Everything else is lagniappe!

When I told Grace that each month Surprise Ride has a contest on their Facebook page, where kids share pictures of their FunBox creations with the community, for a chance to win a special prize in next month's ride box, she put on her creative hat and checked out the remaining box items and decided to make her own bird!

surprise ride collage 3

Using the Crayola modeling foam (LOVE LOVE LOVE this stuff), she made a bird with minimal (I made the feet) assistance from me. I was quite proud of her for looking at the Flight Plans book and deciding which type of bird to make, and how to shape the body. She was VERY serious about her crafting the bird (hmmm, a bit competitive? LOL)! Once she let him sit for a few minutes, she opened her bag of feathers and jazzed him up a bit, in true Lousiana Mardi Gras style! He is pretty darn cute for a 5 yr old's creation I think! Of course I'm, partial! 

The included activity book has some great ideas to get your kid thinking about the theme and how they can further explore it, even without the items from the box. The creators of Surprise Ride started the Fun Box subscriptions because some of their best memories involved getting immersed in projects around the house as kids, with their siblings and parents. Their dad was an artist by profession and always facilitated DIY activities. Those activities, beyond the latest toy or video game, allowed them to evolve and learn through play. With SurpriseRide, they wanted to help busy parents give their kids that same opportunity, by providing the items needed for such activities on a small scale.

We couldn't agree more- you get more than your money's worth in each box, and each box will give your child more than a month's worth of fun and creativity! Grace loved this box and can't wait for 'another one' to show up (hint hint to mom!)! We can't recommend the kits enough- your kids will love them and have hours and hours of creative fun too!

And because they are such super people, they are not only offering a Surprise Ride fun box to one lucky BTHM reader, but also a special bonus for all BTHM readers, of  20% off your entire order at using the code: BTHM20 at checkout!

Ready to win a fun box for your kid(s)?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this box/products, free of charge, from Surprise Ride, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about the products.


  1. Maybe Make your Own Valentines? Thanks for the great giveaway!

  2. A book about love, some kind projects with hearts.

  3. I'm hoping for some lace paper doilies,construction paper,heart shaped something. I have 2 neices who love crafts.I collect bird houses so I like the box you got.Thank you for the fun giveaway! :)

  4. i'm thinking maybe a milbox you decorate yourself for valentines :) how neat

  5. Heart wreath ,Natalie

  6. Maybe a shamrock craft for St. Patty's day!

  7. Maybe something with rainbows for St. Patricks day

  8. Something to do with Valentine's Day. Maybe a trinket box and homemade valentine cards.

  9. a kit to make valentine's day bead jewelery.

  10. pipe cleaners

    lemonzest12 at hotmail dot com

  11. Valentines day projects. Or Airplanes!

  12. I'd say it's likely that it's related to Valentines Day. Something with hearts.

  13. Maybe a Valentines box? Thanks for the chance.

    sweetascandy579 at yahoo dot com


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