Review: ThinkFun Maker Studio Building Kits

Recently, ThinkFun sent me three Maker Studio building kits to test out. Last Saturday, amid the torrential downpour and retched humidity, Lil’ Man and I built two of the kits successfully, and one, well, not so successfully.

macncheeseracerWe started with the gear set. In this set featuring gears, we built a race
car (you can build a cable car, a 3-wheeler and a motorcycle). For each build you’re given Engineering Challenges – experiment with friction, torque and propulsion as you engineer your solutions.

 

Screen Shot 2015-07-24 at 10.19.11 PMScreen Shot 2015-07-24 at 10.19.25 PMWe used a Star Wars Mac and Cheese box (It’s what we had handy).

These kits are a great idea, however…. The directions are picotgrams and are pretty small, so we had to bust out the magnifying glass (which was a fun experiment all by itself).

winchessetNext we tackled the Winches set. This set featuring winches, you can build a tow truck, a jeep, a well and a crane. The tow truck we built completely fell apart before I even got a photo of it, and that made Lil’ Man lose his mind.

propellersetFinally, the Propeller Kit! With this kit you can build a chopper, a biplane, a windmill and a plane. We attempted to build the windmill, however, it proved too difficult for Lil’ Man to master, and I was engineered out at that point (going on 3 hours of making these sets).

The only problem I had with the kits is that it requires you to use a box or can. Most cardboard boxes are recycled so many times that they don’t stand up well to the poking and prodding to build the kit in addition to all of the torture and abuse toys endure. My son played with the car we built (mostly me- he grew frustrated after about 20 minutes) for a few hours before it started to come apart and we had to reinforce it with gorilla tape.

These kits are for ages 6+, but if your kiddo is interested in building stuff and fairly dexterous (which Lil’ Man is), and patient (which he isn’t) I think a younger kid could handle these (with parents nearby of course).

I received these kits free of charge to facilitate the review, courtesy of ThinkFun and Tomoson. All opinions are my own.

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