Subscription boxes aimed at parents and kids are big business in the US, and are now catching on over here.

They make ideal gifts – who wouldn’t want a box of goodies landing on their doorstep each month? There’s a variety available, from pampering and fitness-focussed offerings for mums-to-be, to baking, crafts and educational activities that parents and kids can do together.

Most are available as a one-off gift/trial option, or if you’re feeling generous, you can sign up for a longer period. For most, the price goes down the longer the time period you subscribe for. Payment plans differ: for some you pay the whole amount up front, and some you’re billed monthly by direct debit, but have the right to cancel by giving a month’s notice.

A couple on this list send items like clothes and books that recipients can try before they buy.

We tested all of these services (and a few more that didn’t quite make the cut), receiving the boxes as the customer does and trialling all of the products and activities included.

We, along with helpers (big and small) baked, crafted and exercised pregnant bodies to bring you the best subscription boxes available to buy now, based on value for money, quality of products and how effectively they delivered what was promised.

1. Rainy Day Letterbox Club: From £5.99 per month, Rain Day Box

Each month, an activity pack full of craft activities will arrive through your letterbox. In the space of several hours, our tester and her three-year-old followed clear, simple instructions to create a painted aquarium full of sequinned sea life, a jellyfish made out of a plastic bottle, a cardboard shark and played a fish game.

Everything necessary was included; even the paint was provided in little powder sachets. The only extra equipment required was scissors, water, a plastic bottle and a bit of glue. For value, amount and quality of activities and amusement factor, this is our top pick.

The kit is not suitable for children under three, but other than that there is no recommended age. However, it is suggested that adult supervision is necessary.

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2. Bkd London Mini Bakers Subscription Club: From £8.99 per month, Bkd London

Aimed at children aged three to eight, this baking and craft kit is another monthly offering. The instructions are clear: the ingredients (bar eggs and water) are all included, the bakes taste delicious and the colouring and sticker activities lasted the length of the cooking time, so we were kept busy.

It is ideal for a parent who maybe wouldn’t spontaneously bake with their children. This kit made it fun, from the personalised box with our mini tester’s name emblazoned across the front, to the taste test. Full recipes are included, so you can make the bakes again. And the longer you sign up for, the cheaper the cost per box.

At present, Bkd boxes aren’t suitable for those with gluten intolerance, but they are looking to introduce these options soon.

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3. MamaMe Box: From £15 per month, MamaMe

This is a lovely gift idea for a new mum. They will get a box of personalised products designed to spoil and encourage “me time”. Our sample contained edible treats, beauty products and positive affirmation cards. MamaME supports working mothers, so where possible the products are made by mums and otherwise contain unique products sourced from independent businesses.

Our favourites included Pip & Nut’s yummy chocolate, coconut and hazelnut butter, and a relaxing self-heating eye mask by Spacemasks created by a mum-of-four looking for a way to help other parents get some escapism. We wouldn’t describe these boxes as a bargain, but they’re a quality product and it’s a lovely service which we think is worth the price tag.

They’re delivered monthly and you can sign up for a one-off, three, six or 12-month subscription.

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4. Bookabees Box: From £4.99 per month, Bookabees

This is a subscription book club for children executed in a really exciting way to encourage reading. Each month, your child will receive a package of new books either selected by you, or for you based on information you provide.

After two months you either return the books free of charge, or buy at 50 per cent off the RRP. The selection of books is huge, from first classics to new stories you might not have heard of, like Hedgehugs by Steve Wilson, which has become our testers’ child’s nightly bedtime read.

Each parcel is personalised and contains fun extras like stickers, bookmarks and activity sheets. It’s a modern-day library and makes a lovely gift.

Sign up for a monthly one, three or five book box, or buy a gift card the recipient can activate.

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5. Trunkaroo: From £16.99 per month, Trunkaroo

This is a monthly subscription service for mini-makers aged three to eight, with a focus on making STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Maths) fun. Each trunk has a theme – Growing Seeds and Arctic Explorers are recent examples – and contains everything you need for hands-on projects, bar scissors and water.

It’s convenient, gender neutral and the educational aspect is a big tick. Our tester’s three-year-old loved it; they trialled the seeds box and grew cress and radishes, among other activities. We think it would be even more fun for slightly older kids who can follow the instructions with less guidance and make more use of the activity magazine that comes with it.

Sign up for a one-off, three, six or 12-month subscription, paid monthly with the option to cancel at any time.

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6. Toucan Box: From £5.95 per month, Toucan Box

Inspired by Montessori learning and again with a focus on STEAM, this letterbox-sized pack is also aimed at three to eight-year-olds. It inspires young imaginations and comes with a learning pamphlet for the adults, so they can conduct a mini lesson through play.

If you have young children but are not naturally artsy and don’t have endless craft supplies, this is a great kit for you. It contains everything you need for a few hours of fun, from creating your own piece of modern art on a miniature canvas using paint and sticky foam shapes, to making a calabash bowl from brown paper (all included).

It’s delivered fortnightly, monthly or as a one-off, and we think it’s great value for money.

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7. Muddy Creatures Box: £1 for box then you pay per item, Muddy Creatures

A shopping service for stylish parents, this is a whole new take on the subscription box. Simply register, create a profile for your child, pay £1 and click to request a box. It arrives full of clothes to suit your taste. You have 10 days to try them on said baby or child, then keep and pay for what you love. The rest is collected free of charge.

You can do it weekly, monthly or however often you choose. The brands included are stylish and superb quality, including MarMar Copenhagen, Mini Rodini and FUB. Not cheap – on average around £25-30 per item – but definitely pieces you won’t see on the high street.

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8. Fit Bump Box: £69 for a year, Joanna Helcke

We think this is an ideal gift for fitness fans who want to continue to work out during pregnancy and beyond, when a little more guidance as to the right kinds of exercise and activities to do is needed – and some encouragement to do them.

The box, produced by pregnancy and postnatal fitness expert Joanna Helcke, comes with a resistance band, ball, Pilates cushion, treats and guides – as well as membership to Joanna’s online workouts, which you can stream to your mobile, tablet, desktop or link to a smart TV.

It’s ideal as a gift for women in the early stages of pregnancy – or just buy it for yourself.

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9. Project B: From £14.99 per month, Project B

This is a monthly subscription box for mums-to-be. Each is tailored to a month in pregnancy and designed to prepare you for your new arrival.

Boxes come packed with information and helpful tips from experts, as well as new and relevant practical products ranging from relaxation to household items and pampering. Big brand names include Weleda, Moma, Palmers, Mam and Bloom & Blossom.

The boxes can be given as a one-off gift or you can sign up for the duration of a pregnancy. You get a lot for your money – the products inside amount to double the price of the box in total.

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10. Sassy Bloom Box: From £19.95 per month, Sassy Bloom

These boxes are made for parents from pregnancy until a child is three-years-old. Sign up, input your little one’s details and each month you’ll receive a box of goodies, appropriate to their age and gender. Sassy Bloom prides itself on selecting the very best products alongside a team of experts, including cookery author and food expert Annabel Karmel and sleep expert Jo Tantum.

The boxes are full of practical items such as buggy clips, Babymoov muslins, Munchkin weaning products, Mam teethers and personalised gifts (a baby towel embroidered with your child’s name, for example).

It’s a fun and exciting way to shop for baby and another great gift idea. And with the value of the products in the boxes at over £40, it’s a real money-saver too.

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11. Mintd Mum to Be Retreat: £125 for a one-off box, Mintd

If you really want to pamper a mum-to-be, luxury beauty subscription service Mintd Box has launched a one-off gift box for expectant mums. As with its usual plan, products are full-size rather than minis, brands are high end and here the emphasis is on natural ingredients and targeting pregnancy-specific issues. The recipient will get the likes of Bloom and Blossom’s revitalising leg and foot spray for those heavy limbs, Siskyn’s award-winning stretchmark oil and Bare Biology’s powerful Bump and Glory Omega 3 capsules alongside pick-me-ups like a hydrating moisturiser from cult Hungarian brand Omorovicza, a swanky scented candle, and a fragrant, calming tea. The whole lot is worth £265, so although it’s a generous present, you are getting value for money. It comes in a sleek white box tied with a purple ribbon and we think it makes a lovely baby shower gift.
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The Verdict: Baby and parenting subscription boxes

We’d be thrilled to receive any of these. On value for money alone, plus quality and entertaining crafting, the Rainy Day box is our star buy. Muddy Creatures is a brand new concept that works best bought for yourself as a time-saving parenting tool. Bkd London’s Mini Bakers Club is a great price and again, a clever new idea. The MamaMe box is lovely for mums, and Project B is a dream during pregnancy.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.