KiwiCo and Mel Science make some of the most compelling educational subscription boxes for kids.
We test both monthly subscription boxes hands-on to find out which one comes out on top. In this guide comparing KiwiCo and Mel Science, we’ll detail everything you need to know to find out which is the best!
I’d love for you to review our comparison, but if you’re short on time, I gave KiwiCo the sight edge of MEL Science. You can find everything KiwiCo has to offer right here.
Table of Contents
What Is a STEM Subscription Box
A STEM subscription box from KiwiCo or Mel Science will be sent to your door monthly. It will include all materials, lesson plans, multiple experiments, and step-by-step instructions.
You can find tons of STEM activities for kids. I have published dozens of articles about activities I’ve done with my kids so that you can follow along on this site. But, sometimes, getting all the supplies and materials sent to your doorstep is easier.
Don’t get me wrong. I love spending time with my kids and doing science experiments. But researching, buying unique items, and gathering materials is a bit of a pain. It’s not bad for me because I can share STEM experiments with you, our readers.
Some other reasons to get a STEM subscription box:
- Nothing wasted: No need to buy dozens of small items when you only need one. An example is when an experiment calls for a tiny LED light, a small amount of conductive tape, or a small electric motor.
- Saves time: No need to find experiments for your kids. Mel Science and KiwiCo have subscriptions for specific age groups. So all the experiments for that month will be tailored for your kids.
- The best science experiments and creative ideals: Both KiwiCo and Mel Science have teams of teachers and engineers working on the most interesting, fun, and educational experiences for kids.
These are just some reasons I think subscription boxes for kids are fantastic. It isn’t easy to convey from the pictures in this comparison, but Mel Science and KiwiCo put a lot of care and attention into creating the best experiences for kids.
KiwiCo vs. Mel Science
During my total reviews of Kiwico and Mel Science, which I did with my kids, I had this comparison in the back of my mind.
I could take the easy way out and say, “it depends.” I do love both and think they are both excellent, and you can’t go wrong either way. What works for one kid might not work for another, and while this is true, I want to give my recommendation after subscribing to both. Here it is –
Overall, I give KiwiCo the edge over Mel Science.
This has to do with the overall fit and finish of the subscription. Both are great, but KiwiCo has more options and well-thought-out STEM toys for kids. My kids still play with toys they made from Kiwi crates a year ago. That can’t be said with other STEM subscriptions we’ve had.
Reasons to Choose KiwiCo Over Mel Science
- Various ages – They both have a wide variety for kids up to adults. KiwiCo has a few more age groups covered, but that makes sense as they have more subscription offerings.
- More subscription options – This goes along with offering more subscriptions for all ages. KiwiCo just has more options other than science.
- Better gifts – If you’re buying a gift for someone, KiwiCo has more science toys, coving all of STEM.
- Better for Siblings – Two or more kids can work together on different parts from the crates. This is different with Mel, but they can take turns.
Now let’s look at that other side. You know your kids best.
Reasons to Choose Mel Science Over KiwiCo
MEL Science is probably the best subscription box if they are hardcore focused on science, and you know that’s their thing.
- Focused on science – Mel Science is more hardcore about science and experiments.
- For older kids – KiwiCo has plenty for older kids, but looking at both, Kiwi can come off as more kiddish. This might not bother your children, but it is something to look at.
- Mel Med – They expanded into medical practice kits for kids. Something only Mel Med has to offer. You can see that page here.
- Wow, factor – Some of the experiments I did with my son had him saying, “wow, that’s cool’ more other subscription kits for kids. Have a look here to see if your kids will have the same reaction.
Now that I’ve shared how the two compared in my own house, let’s look at other important factors.
What Is Their Main Focus
MEL Science crates are focused more on science-based experiments with an emphasis on Physics and Chemistry. The most interesting class they have is the VR Class, along with Mel Med.
Those classes simulate school science, physics, or chemistry concepts.
The crates from KiwiCo focus more on STEAM (STEM with an emphasis on Art) and are perfect for developing a science foundation for your kids.
KiwiCo crates make kids build things with their hands more, so there is more of a focus on Art rather than STEM when compared to MEL Science.
My family was happy with the variety of projects that KiwiCo offered us. Everything from robots and trebuchets to many other fun projects was shipped in the past. If there is a past project you like, you can pick them up individually.
KiwiCo neatly divided their subscription model into age groups from 0-24 months old, all the way to 14-100 years old (yes, you can keep both your kids and your parents occupied simultaneously, talk about two birds one stone!)
The company also offers many extra “stuff” with the boxes, like books with exciting content. You can keep these souvenirs on the shelf, and kids will be happy to look into other activities and interesting facts.
We were also happy with the customization offered. When we sign up, they ask us to pick one of their 8 “lines” for the first month. You can switch the “lines” anytime. They also custom design their products for your kid’s age and developmental stage.
They make all their own material with the help of teachers and educators, with the projects being kid-tested.
This is a good overview of what you can expect. For a more in-depth review, please check out our full review here.
Downsides With KiwiCo
Along with the customization offered by KiwiCo, I have to mention that it might be harder to find the perfect fit for their kids because there were too many customization options. Sometimes too many choices can make the process more different. If you follow the age recommendations, you can’t go wrong though.
Also, note that KiwiCo products were not as durable as other dedicated educational toys. I know this is a downside of making a crate with many projects for a low price and having kids put them together.
I did mention that my kids still play with some of the toys they made and have held up fine; I just thought you should be aware of it.
Mel Science Review
Our boxes came with multiple experiments. Completing all the experiments took a few days with my kids. Some of the off-brand subscription boxes we’ve had only took a few hours.
I’m glad in this Mel Science vs. KiwiCo comparison, I can say there is a lot of material to get through in both subscriptions.
MEL also gave them some extra “stuff” in the form of mobile apps and VR Classes.
A positive note was on their instructions. The instructions include kid-friendly visual instruction and detailed written instruction so your kid can choose one instruction they are most comfortable reading.
MEL Science divided its subscription model into courses for kids of any age between 4 years to 16 years old.
This was a small overview. If you’d like to see our full hands-on review, please take a look.
Downsides With Mel Science
The boxes require more parental supervision because the Physics boxes came with some items unsuitable for kids to use alone. The boxes were missing small things like coin batteries, which you should have in hand if the experiments require them.
Small items you might already have or easy enough to get at any store.
They are not particularly cheap when compared to KiwiCo Crates.
Now that you know the pros and cons let’s get into the price of both.
Subscription Cost Comparison
The subscription for MEL Science boxes will cost $34.90 per month on a month-to-month basis. If you pay for a year upfront, the subscription comes to $25.90. This is the same price as the other lines offered, Mel STEM, Mel Physics, and Mel Chemistry.
The only exception is Mel MED at $69.90. The higher price for Mel MED is due to the extra items received and the more in-depth course.
The subscription for KiwiCo can cost $29.95 per month-to-month subscription or $19.95 per month for an entire year. You can find a full breakdown of all the prices here.
Choice of Subscription
The subscriptions for MEL Science are neatly divided into subjects:
- MEL Coding – 4 to 7+
- MEL STEM – 5 to 10+
- MEL Physics – 8 to 14+
- Chemistry – 10 to 16+
So, the choice is straightforward if you have a kid who is only interested in one subject. If you are an educational institution, MEL Science also offers a School and bulk orders option.
The subscriptions of KiwiCo include:
- Panda Crate – 0 to 36 months
- Koala Crate – 3 to 4
- Kiwi Crate – 5 to 8
- Atlas Crate – 6 to 11
- Yummy Crate – 6 to 14+
- Doodle Crate -14 to 16+
- Tinker Crate – 9 to 16+
- Maker Crate – 14 + 100+
- Eureka Crate – 14 to 100+
With so many options, you can customize your kid’s interests when you sign up.
MEL Science boxes are filled with more experiments that build up to a moment and require parents to be involved quite a bit (which can be a positive if you want to learn with them).
The KiwiCo boxes are more filled with art and design experiments than direct STEM applications. The KiwiCo boxes do not require parents to be more involved with the learning process (which can be a positive if you do not have the time).
In a world increasingly filled with subscription models, a science box subscription model will be a valuable addition if you want your kids to learn STEM subjects from an early age.