My goodness what a trying week we have had around these parts. Chalk it up to homeschooling ignorance / over ambition — aka just because homeschooling affords your family with lots of free time, this doesn’t always mean you should sign your kids all up for eleventy-billion extracurricular activities. Oh sure, it’s possible. And yes I am positive beneficial — cognitive, social, gross motor development etc. But in the end there will be a week where you have 4 dress rehearsals and 5 concerts and an art show to attend and realize you completely forgot the last week of gymnastics practice and you will voluntarily skip the last piano lesson because your brain has imploded. In short — that and fighting for a speech surgery my daughter needs, and lots of to and from our Children’s hospital two hours away, is why we have been so disorganized and busy around these parts… and lacking in blog posts. Sorry. I’m still compiling Christmas activities, and it’s less than two weeks away. Thank goodness we can celebrate through the epiphany and on. But I am losing my mind a little in the December chaotic shuffle.
All of this nonsense in the above paragraph (you may have skimmed / skipped over) is to preface the fact that I totally gave up on the toy that is being reviewed today. We worked on it for about 40 mins; then I, the Mom, folded due to lack of mental energy. I plan on an addendum to this review after Dad is able to work with the kids (he’s a builder, like professionally). But if this post didn’t get written today, I don’t think the time would be found. Ever have a week like that? So yes, the toy I am reviewing today is definitely a skill builder designed to exercise the brain. And my brain is old and unmalleable.
Many pieces and many steps!!
That said, I thought the Engino Inventor Builder Set offered as part of the 2nd grade Timberdoodle Curriculum kit was exceedingly cool. It functions very much like Legos — which is the quintessential building toy, right? So I will say, if your child loves Legos, they will likely be in love with this toy. There are building instructions to complete the suggested models. But I also presume, it functions as an open-ended building set just like Legos do. Thus “Inventor set” — just use your imagination. Which is probably what I should have done. But no, I tried to build the tricycle.
Batteries not included.
Son clicking pieces together ^^
Daughter sliding two pieces together ^^
I am not at all mechanically-minded. Not even a little. The apex of my construction capabilities is that once I put together an Ikea children’s table and chair independently. I am still quite proud. For kids who enjoy building sets, I don’t think they will find this any harder than regular Legos to assemble. My kiddos are still working at the Junior Lego level though. My seven-year-old is too much like me. She was intrigued, but it was a little above her ability. My four-year-old son loved the set and was sad when Mommy finally threw in the towel. But he definitely was challenged by the fine motor aspects. What makes this kit unique is that there are really well thought out, durable connector pieces that do some super cool things. There are wheels. There is a motor! Some of the pieces click together and some slide. The click-together pieces my four-year-old could handle. The slide-together pieces he couldn’t — but my seven-year-old managed those just fine. It was the directions that were too challenging in the end. Though they both enjoyed helping me attempt the directions. I should note, the only real downside were that the pieces are often incredibly challenging to take apart. Sorry to say, I had to use my teeth at more than one point just to pry things back apart. Yeah sorry but I’m keeping it real. Don’t tell my dentist.
Upside, it’s exciting to watch your work take shape. I imagine when you actually finish it’s fantastically thrilling exactly because it’s a challenge. I really like that these are self-correcting. If you accidently place two pieces backwards, you have to retrace your steps and fix it if you want it to come together in the end. On the other hand, we right-brained folk should probably stick to the creative aspect.
All in all, my hubby will build a couple more vehicles with this set later on, and I’ll add some Instagram pics of the kids enjoying them at the end of this post. Ultimately I think my son is going to get the most enjoyment out of this toy in a year or two. It seems made for his little mind; I just have to give time for his hands to catch up to the task. I’ll save it for him.
Definitely, definitely a really cool learning tool! If you have building toy fans, I’d recommend this for them in a heartbeat.