Things to Make - Make & Engineer Your Own Toys with ThinkFun's New Maker Studio Kits
After our return from the spring break road trip, Thinkfun sent us three of their new Maker Studio kits - the perfect activity to fill our afternoons before school started again.
The kits come in three different varieties - winches, gears, and propellers, which worked perfectly for our family - one set for each child. The kits contain sets of plastic parts that you attach to various recyclables (plastic bottles, mac and cheese boxes, toilet paper rolls, etc), along with detailed instructions on how everything comes together. And once your child finishes one or more of the detailed projects, he/she can try some of the recommended "challenges" in order to create on his/her own terms.
Thinkfun recommends Maker Kits for children 7 and up and I'd take that recommendation seriously; even my 9 year old found the kit hard to complete independently. In retrospect, I wish I would have made this a 1 on 1 activity (rather than a 1 on 3 activity) because the kids really liked seeing how everything came together but they all wanted a lot of help with assembly (though I kept trying to explain since we're using things out of the recycling bin, there's no problem if someone messes up).
In our experience, the winches kit involved the easiest assembly; whereas gears was by far the hardest (lots of measurements). So I'd recommend starting with winches or propellers and working your way up.
And the best part? Watching T play for hours with his new toys!! Plus, it feels great to know that when these toys fall apart we can just build more.