Thursday, July 30, 2015

Maker Studio Propellers Building Kit is the Building Block of STEM Fun for YOUR Kids!

Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this product, free of charge,from Thinkfun, via Tomoson,for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it





Ah Summer...

For some of you, you still have 4 weeks left! For others, like us, the countdown is on!

So if you aren't thinking about kits to keep Summer brain drain at bay, start thinking about that little thing called Christmas...

I know, but you KNOW it's only a matter of weeks before Christmas items will be in all the craft stores! 

So think about getting the kids gifts that will KEEP on giving, every time they use them!



Thinkfun has been making toys and kits kids LOVE and adore for 30 years! This year has brought new innovations! “We’re on a mission to give kids an early advantage by cleverly disguising brain-building work as fun, exciting, and varied,” said Bill Ritchie, ThinkFun President and Co-Founder. “We continue to partner with the world’s greatest thinkers, track with educational trends like STEM, and innovate consistently to ensure we wow parents, their kids, and teachers.”





   Designed by engineers, David Yakos and Parker Thomas, for Budding Engineers Maker Studio Construction Kits are for kids who want to “build, do and explore!”. The kits inspires imagination and a love for engineering. In this set featuring propellers, your kids can transform recycled household objects into working, kinetic inventions, like a chopper, a biplane, a windmill and a plane. Once models are assembled, kids use problem-solving and creative thinking skills to tinker with their inventions and complete 10 engineering challenges. Examples are to experiment with friction, torque and propulsion as you engineer your solutions. Once they’ve mastered all four builds, they can get creative and design something that’s all their own!.


As you can see the Propeller kit comes with instructions, Engineering Challenge cards, a spool, an X-linkage, connectors, wheels, rods, hub caps, rubber bands,and hole punch, as shown all above. All you need are scissors and the recycled item for the body of your project!



The instructions are basic (think like certain plastic building sets are), as in you get drawings and NO written instructions. SIGH. As an adult, I could see where there might be some headache and there was on the Copter build. Initially I let Miss Grace start the build all by herself. The first setback came when she was sure where to place the holes, as there was no template, and she had misaligned two holes (my first contention with the kit - a printable template would have been very helpful). So I helped her to punch the holes in the right places. the included hole punch works great- sharp enough to punch the holes the right size in one punch, but not sharp enough to hurt the kids! 


The little hubcaps are pretty cool- as you can see above, they 'click' into place on the connectors, to lock them in place. Pretty ingenious! 


Again, because the holes were not exactly lines up right, Miss Grace had a bit of an issue in getting the rods through, but she managed and persevered on, It was helpful to have all the pieces laid out by sizes,so she could quickly grab what she needed.


The copter is starting to take shape- the tail frame is in, the bottom rods are reading for their linkage, and the rotor housing has been put in place.


One side down, and working on the other. notice at this point, Mom is just the camera person,and not helping...


And now Mom is needed to hold the copter in place as she tried valiantly to get the rubber band into place INSIDE the can, whose accessibility is blocked by the tail. SIGH. Then Mom tried. No luck.

This was where in the home stretch of the build, we realized there was an issue with the instructions. It would have been easier to put the rubber band ON the spool when the spool was installed and just pulled the rubber band up and out of the way, versus trying to put it in AFTER the tail was in place. Chip cans are only so big! So Mom helped her do a partial unbuild, put the band in place, and then helped to rebuild, so she could move on to the next step.


AHA, now the last steps are being completed...


And waa-la. One copter with moving parts, that actually can fly a short distance!
The kid was THRILLED!!!! 


Miss Grace LOVED being able to make the kit pretty much by herself, to make something that WORKS.She even attacked the Engineering challenges by herself! I love it when science can excite my kid! 

Miss Grace forgot to have someone take pictures of her plane when she built it next, using a plastic bottle and the same parts!  But it was just as easy and she really was impressed that she could recycle food holders into toys! 


These kits would be great for girls AND boys for birthday presents, Christmas presents, or for any special occasion. While the kids can pretty much make them themselves, they can also be perfect for some great family educational time! There are 3 kits available right now, Gears (which we'll be reviewing next week), Propellers (this kit), or Winches. ThinkFun will also be selling all parts and new expansion pieces, as well as offering free downloadable 3D printing files for more building ideas. You can purchase the Maker Kits on Amazon. they are well worth the $20 cost, for the hours of innovation and fun they provide your child!





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