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Experienced Mom Says: K'nex Like Lego's Mindstorm Is A Top Toy For Smart and Gifted Children
Every parent knows that it is very difficult to buy toys for Christmas. You don't want to buy a toy that sits in its box or when your child opens it, you are missing batteries. If you have not heard about K'nex, this article will introduce you to this construction toy.
As a former parent volunteer for the Gifted and Talented Education program (GATE) at one of the LAUSD schools in Los Angeles, I wanted to see what type of toys one GATE teacher invested for his identified GATE students. Everyone knows that Lego's Mindstorm is a toy that a child can make and program and Lego is a popular brand. I wanted to know what else. When I saw that the teacher had bins of K'nex, I had to see for myself what this construction toy was about. I am a proponent of toys that move and challenge children to think about physical relationships such as gears (Experienced Mom Says: The Best Type of Children's Toys To Be Buy Should Have Gears), and I believe that a family membership to a science museum is a great investment (Experienced Mom Says: A Family Membership to A Science Museum Has Surprisingly Best Value).
I was pleased to see that there were lots of interesting pieces. I went out and bought a set for my children. What I noticed was the big instructional booklets for 22 projects . Just like Lego, they are picture instructions, which is as good as word instructions. I watched my daughter (who is advanced but not identified as gifted) play with it, and I noticed that she was totally engaged. Unlike some of the Lego kits, the K'nex that we bought came in a large red plastic bin. I can hear my daughter looking for the right pieces to connect as she is combing through the pieces. Wow...complete silence of any human voice. I was amazed at the concentration level. Once, she asked me to snap a piece together, but I couldn't do it. She figure out that she could use another piece like it (this one piece was unruly). Another positive aspect is that it is "quick" to put something 3 dimensional together. Unlike Lego pieces, where you have to layer the bricks, K'nex has long and short pieces. By snapping these pieces together, you are essentially outlining object. But more complex than outlining is to see how they teach you to fill in the inside of the object. And with plastic and rubber wheels, it is another form of my favorite type of toys that involve gears.
My 9-year-old daughter started with a piano bench and then the piano. She was so proud of it, she took the pictures herself! Currently, she finished a tractor and a rake (see the video that she filmed, as well). As an experienced mom, I would give this toy two thumbs up, and with 22 projects, it is quite economical as well.