Living abroad with kids presents a lot of issues, but the one that scares me the most is missing developmental or social issues.  Without being surrounded by family and friends who you love and trust, it's hard to get that honest take on your child development.  Having talked with moms at post I realize I am not alone.

I reached out to the Encourage Play box to get more information on boxes that help with social interaction issues. To quote the creator, "some kids really struggle with learning how to play with their peers. Play is the foundation for future skills, including social skills. If your child has difficulty playing, they will have a more difficult time in life. Play isn’t always easy for everyone. In particular, [the boxes] are focused on kids who struggle socially. They may have a diagnosis such as ADHD, be on the Autism Spectrum, suffer from Social Anxiety or have some Sensory Processing issues. Or they may just have a hard time making connections with others, with a slow to warm up temperament or quirky personality. Some kids need a little help and direct instruction in some basic skills. That’s where we want to help."

The owner sent us a demo of their monthly play kit that is designed to help parents lead play. Designed for 6-10 year olds the box is a different theme every month that focuses on a different social skill designed to encourage play and friendships, with an explanation of why the topic of the month is important and helpful to kids who are learning how to play with others and build friendships.  Inside the boxes are 2 ready to go activities for a small play date (2 kids) and a family activity that can be completed as part of a game night or just for fun together to continue to build the skill.

The box we received was focused on "Taking turns."  It included a craft project to make a matching game.  The box included stickers, pencils, and wooden discs to create the matching game.  The goal is to sit with your child on a play date and create the game with the kids.  Afterwards, you work on taking turns.

There were several other home and dice activities for the family to work on taking turns. We had a rough time demoing this box because it was way out of our son's age range.  However, there were some amazing elements to this box I haven't seen in other "craft boxes" like M is for Monster.  Between the website, the blog, and the instructions, you watch your child interact and help if some of those social skills are lacking. We definitely see how this box would be GREAT for older kids and for parents to learn and identify social issues for their kids.

Encourage Play is $20 + $7 shipping for one box, $55 + $21 shipping ($5 savings) for 3 months, and $100 + $42 shipping ($20 savings) for six months.  I am not going to rate this box, but I will say if you are serving overseas or are a mom like me worried about developmental issues give the Encourage Play blog and kit a try.
MILITARY DISCOUNT: Encourage play won our Gold Award for offering a 10% military discount with coupon code MILITARY10


  1. Thanks for your great explanation about our subscription box! It's definitely aimed at an older crowd of children (6-10), in order to support them as they learn social skills and make connections with others. Thanks so much for taking the time to check out our box!


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