HOUSTON - If the thought of shelling out more cash on another plastic toy that will end up at the bottom of a closet by Jan. 1 drives you bananas, consumer expert Amy Davis may have a gift idea you'll like. "Outside the Box" is the latest subscription box service, but this one is for your family.
Local mom Elizabeth Quintal created the box service to help busy parents create memorable and teachable moments with their young children.
"We really wanted to give them something you could take, open up on Saturday morning and have everything you need," explained Quintal. "You don't have to go to Target or anywhere else and find all of the stuff."
Each themed box comes with a craft or activity that you can complete with your child, like decorating an ornament or painting a face mask. The monthly themes are tied to a challenge that gets your family thinking outside themselves. In August, the theme was "Kickin' It With Kindness." It introduced subscribers to nonprofit charity Soles 5 Souls that provides shoes to people who need them. Kids were challenged to wear a different shoe on each foot for an entire day.
"Because there are kids who often have to do that or don't have shoes at all," explained Quintal. "Being able to do these activities about community in fun and playful ways helps parents have conversations that they might not have had otherwise."
Families then used their boxes to send a pair of new or used shoes to the charity.
There is also a gift for mom in each box, a book and snacks. All of the products are from small businesses across the country.
One box is $49.99 with a small discount for 3- and 6-month subscriptions. You can see all of the prices and options here.
When the craft is complete and the challenge is checked off, Quintal promises you won't trip over a spare plastic piece on the floor.
"There's not a lot of clutter or extra stuff left over," she laughed, realizing cutting clutter is at the top of most mom's to-do list.
Quintal worked for the Star of Hope homeless shelter for years. She said she created the box as a way for parents to teach kids about giving back and thinking outside of themselves.