With the Holiday Season among us, my children are steadily coming to me with ideas of what they want for Christmas. It’s really interesting because everything they have chosen is something we can all do as a family.
One particular item that’s ALWAYS on our list EVERY year is a Building Set for kids. Last year is was wooden blocks, this year we’re into building complex structures such as a Ferris Wheel, Airplanes, and even a Merry-Go-Round.
K’NEX is the leading brand in building sets for children and helps parents, such as me, interact with our children, inspire creativity, and build self confidence. Thanks to Team Mom, we had the opportunity to check out the K’NEX 400PC Tub and the Sesame Street Neighborhood Collection Building Sets.
About the K’NEX 400PC Tub:
Loaded with 400 parts, including bricks, for lots of open-ended fun and endless building and play opportunities! Includes instructions and ideas for 20 models or use your imagination to dream up your own creations. The convenient storage tub means there is always a place to put your parts or take the fun with you wherever you go! For ages 7+.
What We Liked:
• Storage Tub: Right away, I’m ecstatic that it comes in a storage bin. I can tell you how many times I’ve had to pick up the blocks we bought last year, that DIDN’T come in a storage bin. This gives us a clear place to store the 400PC set, along with other sets that my children are begging me to buy. It’s also really easy to carry when traveling to Grandma’s house.
• Instruction Book: I have two types of children. One is very orderly, structured, and “By the Book”. He wants instructions and thrives on direction. The fact that the building set comes with a book telling you EXACTLY what pieces to use for particular models is awesome.
• Creative Flexibility: As I said before, one child is very orderly, but the other is so “Fly by the seat of her pants” type of girl. She doesn’t want instructions, but instead wants to build the abstract structure she has already built in her head. K’NEX lets her do that giving us endless building possibilities!
• Movement: This set is our very first “movable” building toy, meaning there are wheels for cars, propeller on airplanes, ferris wheel and merry-go-round’s spin. This gives us the opportunity to bring our creations into real life!
• Works with Other Brands: If you’ve invested countless hours and money on other brands of building sets, such as Lego, you can easily merge K’NEX to your existing collection.
• Made in the U.S.A: I’ve said it countless times here at Momma Findings. We are BIG supporters in US companies. We can now add K’NEX to our growing list of American Made brands like Label Daddy and Weil Baby.
What We Didn’t Like:
• Small Pieces: The pieces are really small compared to the bigger blocks/sets we’re used to. We were really surprised at just how tiny each piece is, posing a chocking hazard for younger children. We have a two year old who still puts things in his mouth, but with proper supervision he’s learning it’s more fun to build with the pieces instead of eating them.
About the Sesame Street Police Car Set:
Your child can build the NEW smaller scale police officer Elmo – dressed in his blue uniform and police cap – along with his police car! A “Play & Learn” activity sheet filled with educational fun for parent and child, plus additional building ideas, is also included. This 19-piece building set pairs perfectly with the Neighborhood Collection Police Station Building Set. Look for all the Neighborhood Collection Building Sets so your child can build his own SESAME STREET Neighborhood!
What We Liked:
• Big Pieces: Loved that each piece is sized for small hands. My toddler didn’t have any trouble building his set while sister and brother built their Ferris Wheel next to him.
• Sesame Street Characters: Let’s face it, we all love Sesame Street, right? My toddler is in love with Elmo and Big Bird, so it gave him that extra encouragement to build and practice his fine motor skills. Individual Sets include either Elmo, Ernie, or Cookie Monster.
• Movable Parts: The Police car comes with actual wheels making it easier to “push” the care around the house during imaginative play.
• Coordinating Sets: Kids and parents can build their very own Neighborhood with four different sets to buy- Ice Cream Truck Building Set, Police Car Set, 1-2-3 Brownstone Building Set, and the Police Station Set.
• Play and Learn Activity Sheet: The set comes with a sheet of ideas for parents and children such as, facts related to the theme of the set, activities to learn to count, recognize colors and identify shapes.
What We Didn’t Like:
• No Storage Tub: Seriously, this is a big decision buying factor for me. If I don’t have a good sturdy place to store blocks, legos, K’NEX, etc. then we probably won’t buy it, unless we already have a place to store the pieces.
In review, both K’NEX Building Sets are the perfect way to stimulate your child’s creativity and imagination. They also help with fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and encourages thinking and problem-solving skills. In fact, we were so impressed by the 400PC tub, we included it in our 2009 Holiday Gift Guide as a a perfect gift idea for boys ages 6-12.
K’NEX Building Sets can be purchased at Target, Wal-Mart, and Toys R Us. The 400PC tub has a suggested retail price of $20.99, while the Sesame Street Neighborhood Collection can be found for the suggested retail price of $9.99-$19.99.
Now you have the chance to win $1,000 worth of K’NEX Building Sets and be featured on the KNEX.com website. All you have to do is make a video that showcases your child’s K’NEX building skills and features your child building with select K’NEX products. Official rules and guidelines can be found at Knex.com.
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