I have been waiting to write this review of the Raddish Kids subscription program for a long time. I initially had some reservations about recommending this service, which I will detail below. However, after nearly 3 years, I have figured out how to use this cooking club box in a way that best serves our family. I have seen the long-term benefits of using these kits and am now confident we will by loyal members of this service for a long time.
Before I begin, please note that while I am an affiliate of this program and will make a small commission if you decide to purchase using my link, I have never accepted any free products or merchandise from Raddish Kids. I made this decision primarily because I wanted my review to be completely unbiased.
First, some backstory. My daughter (who is nearly 9) started using this service when she was 6. We paid for a year subscription using charter school funds. While she greatly enjoyed doing the boxes, I fell behind in doing them with her and they started to pile up. When the year ran out, I cancelled my subscription to give us time to catch up.
In each box are 3 recipe cards, which feature child friendly, mostly healthy recipes with natural ingredients each printed on a laminated, kitchen-proof trifold. The recipe cards are heavy on the illustrations which makes them perfect for the pre or early reader (and fun for older kids as well). Personally, I love the recipes and many of them, such as the pot pie, chili, baked macaroni and cheese, turkey noodle soup, and several desserts have made it into our family’s regular rotation. Some of them have been hit and miss, but even in those cases, I am glad they are expanding my children’s palette and getting them to try new things. The recipe guides are the gold in my mind with this service.
Now you might say, “But, Michelle, the boxes are $20-$24 per kit (depending on the length of subscription). I would NEVER pay $7-8 per recipe when there are so many great free recipes on the internet!” I hear you. That was my thinking at the time too. I thought, “This is fun, buy my charter school is paying for it. I would never pay out of pocket for this.”
Before I finish the story, let’s quickly go over what else the box includes. With your first box, you get an apron. Each month, you also get a kitchen tool. I can affirm that these tools are high quality and will last, but this is not a selling point for me, as I’m a minimalist and already own the tools I need. I will say that when I do our yearly purge, I almost always end up keeping the Raddish Kids version of the tool and donating the version I already had.
Each box also comes with conversation cards, which my daughter likes using with her siblings now that she can read. There is also some sort of creative project, which my creative kiddo enjoys, such as a game or a craft suggestion. Each month you also get a grocery list and a guide for learning a new culinary skill.
As you can see, the box is packed with bonuses. The recipe guides are still the dominant high value item in the box in my opinion (unless you are in need of kitchen tools), but all the extra add-ons are a nice touch.
One last item included that I didn’t mention before is an iron-on patch to celebrate your completion of the box. I have very mixed feeling about this little patch. My daughter loves having patches ironed onto her apron. However, I feel that this patch is the primary reason we fell behind in our boxes during our first year of subscriptions. I felt pressured to complete every item in the box before we “earned” the patch. I felt like the box needed to become an event where we made all three meals in the same day or at least in the same week. I didn’t want to move onto a different box until we completed the box we were on.
Now, to be fair, my child didn’t feel any of this pressure. Whether she gets the patch right away or waits until later to have the patch ironed on, it’s all the same to her. All my sweet little kiddo wanted was to cook with me. Speaking of which, that was another source of pressure I was attaching to this box. I felt like to really deserve the patch, she should be involved in all the steps of the cooking process. It took me awhile to let go of that limiting point of view.
At some point, after our subscription had run out, but before we had completed all the boxes, my daughter started asking if she could make Raddish Kid recipes for dinner. She would pull out recipes we had already done or ones that she found in the stack of boxes gathering dust. I would say sure and she would start gathering ingredients from the pictures. She would look at the steps and do what she could on her own while she waited for me. When I came to help with dinner I would choose which steps seemed the most natural for me to assist with, like chopping onions or cutting meat, and we would work side by side.
I started to realize that these recipes were helping my daughter to identify herself as a cook. It didn’t need to be a once a month event in which she felt she had complete ownership of the meal. It could be a two or three times a week habit that we did together as a team.
After several months and as her reading skills have grown, she now finds recipes she thinks she will like off the internet, prints them, and makes them almost entirely on her own. We still frequently make dinner together just due to efficiency, speed, and the bonding we get from the experience, but at 8, going on 9, she is a fully capable cook. There is no area of the kitchen in which she does not have as much confidence as I do.
A few months back, having realized what a blessing Raddish Kids has been to our family, I asked my charter school to get her another year long subscription. It turns out they are not currently on the list of approved vendors we can use to spend our funds.
At that point I really had to decide, is this something we want to pay out of pocket for? I consulted with my extremely frugal husband and was surprised to find him 100% supportive of the purchase. He has seen the change and in our daughter as well, and recognizes what a large role Raddish Kids has played in that growth.
We are once again happily receiving Raddish kits, this time spending our own money. My daughter is keeping up with the boxes as much as she wants each month and I am not worrying about checking off every item in each box.
If you have a child who is interested in cooking, or you can see this is a fun family bonding experience, Raddish Kids is an invaluable service which will help your child gain confidence in the kitchen. What started off as seeming like extra work for me has led to having a completely independent mini-chef in my house who has now relieved a lot of the burden and stress associated with daily cooking for our large family. Personally, I am extremely grateful to Raddish Kids for the skills and self sufficiency in the kitchen it has given my daughter.
Just to summarize, here are some of the pros and cons if you are considering a membership
- Laminated recipe guides are golden. They are indestructible, feature yummy recipes with a nice balance of natural ingredients, and are extremely child-friendly. Several of them have made it into our weekly rotation.
- Promotes family bonding. Making the time and space in your life to cook with your kids promotes connection.
- Teaches valuable life skills. Cooking and following a recipe are skills that will serve children throughout life. Each box contains a guide for learning a culinary skill. Additionally, all the practice kids get from making these recipes helps them master valuable kitchen techniques.
- Promotes confidence in the kitchen. The more your child practices, the more confident they become. What starts off difficult such as peeling potatoes or dicing tomatoes, eventually becomes effortless.
- Develops a self-sufficient cook. While my child still loves Raddish Kids, she has transferred these skills over to recipes she finds on the internet.
- Kitchen tools. Each kit comes with a quality kitchen tool.
- Bonus add-ons. From creative craft ideas and games to conversation starters and grocery lists, each box contains a wealth of supplemental information.
- Sibling kits available. I am frugal and don’t want the extra tools, but just know that if you would like an extra tool and patch for additional children, that can be added on for the reasonable price of $5. Additional aprons can also be purchased separately.
- Recipe Binder. For $20, you can purchase a Create-a-Cookbook binder to store your favorite Raddish Kids recipes. Even though I am extremely frugal, I purchased one and it gets used all the time. I may end up purchasing another one in a few months as we love certain recipes so much that they are part of our weekly rotation.
- Price. Let’s be honest. If you look at this box as simply a box of 3 recipes, it will seem expensive. However, I choose to look at it as a developmental experience that promotes independence as well as bonding. I feel it to be $20 each month well spent.
- Patches. See my discussion above, but the patches are not my favorite. I feel that it adds extra pressure to “completing” the box and makes it less straightforward to do the box with multiple children. My recommendation: Set them aside and don’t make a big deal about them. If you have multiple children, you can iron them on the apron or aprons if you choose, but don’t make them feel like they are “earned,” that way there will be less fighting over which child gets which patch and you won’t feel pressured to check off every recipe and activity in the box.
- Kitchen Tools. While the kitchen tools are high quality, I personally don’t like to buy more than I need and I already have many of these tools. If there was a way to opt out of the tools and save a few dollars each month, I probably would. However, even if you give away the tools away as gifts, I still feel the box is well worth the price.
- Overwhelm. If you’re anything like me, then you want to maximize the experience that is associated with kits such as these. You want to grocery shop and get all the ingredients beforehand. You want to set aside time to have the culinary lesson and supervise the child doing most of the work prepping and cooking the meal. You feel the need to do every suggested activity that comes in the box, whether it is a geography lesson, a craft, a game, or the conversation starters. It can be overwhelming. In fact, it can be so overwhelming that you let the box sit, waiting for the perfect time that never comes in our busy lives. My advice? Accept imperfection. There is a lot of value in each box. Take it in bits and pieces as it fits into your life and understand that while it may not be picture perfect, your child is learning and enjoying the experience. Finally letting go of perfection is what made these kits become the joyful, valuable part of our lives that they are today.
I hope this overview of my family’s experience with Raddish Kids was helpful to you! If you decide this subscription kit might be a good fit for your family, and you would like to try it out, this is my affiliate link. Note that for a limited time, as of December 15, 2020 (the day I am posting this), you can get $20 off a 12 month subscription using the code Chef20 and $15 off a 6 month subscription with the code ATHOME.
Have fun cooking!