Friday, April 18, 2008

Lilypad Likes: K'NEX

I was recently given the opportunity to try out and review 3 new K'NEX building sets. At first I wasn't too sure if I'd be a good match for the review, Lilypad Princess is still too young to play with them and I've never been much of a brick builder. But I was curious about them and I know that Hunter and Cole would be great reviewers after me. So I decided to give it a shot.

I received three of the new sets, 2 from the Rescue Assortment and a Dueling Racers set.

Rescue Assortment: Looking for a creative outlet for your little helper? The K’NEX Rescue Assortment includes 4 rescue-themed building sets that let kids building police cars, fire engines, ambulances and medivac helicopters. Each set – Police, Fire, Ambulance and Rescue – includes instructions for a lead and alternate build. For ages 5+ yrs. Price: $4.99.

Dueling Racers: Speed-minded youngsters can build their very own motorized race cars! The set includes instructions to build four batter-powered race cars (two at a time), and comes complete with 132 pieces, 2 motors, as well as K’NEX rods, connectors and bricks. For ages 7+ yrs. Price: $19.99.

After they came I sat down with the Police Rescue set to start, thinking that since it was the smallest, it would be the easiest. The instructions were very easy to follow and in no time at all I had police car zipping across the living room floor. A few minutes later, all the bricks were rearranged into a police helicopter with spinning blades. I quickly moved on to building the Fire Rescue set into a firetruck and boat, then followed the included instructions for using both sets to build a mega model.

At that point I was hooked. I was ready to move on the Dueling Racers. This set is definitely more involved than the Rescue Sets (which explains the differences in recommended ages) but still had good instructions to follow. The hardest part I found was getting the cars apart again once they were together. The set comes with 2 instruction booklets and pieces to build two cars at the same time. So 2 kids can build together, then race their motorized cars. They can even change them around to a different style then race again. The motors made them quick cars, racing easily across our living room floor.

After the fun play was over, I took a look at them through my parent view. I really like the fact that clear instructions are given so that a child can build the vehicles without becoming frustrated, but there is plenty of opportunity to change it up and use their imagination as well. And the entire time they are building they are working on their fine motor skills. The company also makes me feel good about buying theor products. They are committed to environmental sustainability and their green initiatives have made them a leader in the plastics industry. They have received over 200 awards, most from from kid-testing panels for groups like the Canadian Toy Testing Council, Oppenheim Toy Portfolio, National Parenting Center, Parents Magazine, Sesame Street Parents, Dr. Toy and more.

I can't wait for Lilypad Princess to be old enough to use K'NEX. They have KID K'NEX for ages 3 and up, that let them build animals and cars. I will definitely be looking for these for her next birthday! In the meantime, I am going to pass the Dueling Racers and the Rescue sets on to Hunter and Cole. Once they have had a chance to try them out I will post their reviews for you as well.


Buby & Co. said...

Very cool! I can see Buby being into the 3+ set, too!

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