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When I was a kid we had K’Nex to play with, and so did many of my friends. We would spend hours building and creating, following instructions or just coming up with our own designs. I know my parents cursed us for the mess we made, pouring everything out to look for the exact right part we needed – but that’s all part of the fun isn’t it!
At 3 and 5 I have been waiting for my boys to reach an age where playing with K’Nex was realistically achievable. What I hadn’t realised is that there is a junior K’Nex range, called Kid K’Nex, so we can’t get a head start on the fun right away. I was sent 2 boxes of Kid’Nex building sets for kids for the boys to try out.
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What Is Kid K’Nex?
Developed with little hands in mind, Kid K’Nex is a junior version of the core K’Nex building toys. The pieces are very similar to the original K’Nex and would be instantly recognisable to anyone familiar with the brand, but they are larger and more flexible – making it easier for small hands to manipulate.
Aiding Child Development
Preschool aged children might seem a lot more grown up than they were as toddlers, but there is still a lot to learn. Plating with construction toys such as Kid K’Nex that are designed specifically for this age group helps with developing their fine motor skill, as well as learning how to follow instructions and using their imagination. These are skills they will use in school and beyond, so doing it through play at home using toys is a great way to build their completence.
Building Toys For Preschoolers
My children have always love to build towers but they’re now at an age where they want to get a bit more creative. The Kid K’Nex Budding Builders Set comes with 100 brightly coloured parts, and a sheet with 50 ideas for creatures to build. It is all about thinking outside the box, with suggestions ranging from a fish-helicopter to a chair with eyes. Zee couldn’t wait to get started, and before I’d even opened the box he had spotted a picture of a “wand monster” that he wanted to make.
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The pieces are all colour coded, with each type of rod or connector all being in one colour. This is really helpful for little ones working out which piece they need next. Zee learnt this the hard way, when he used a green piece instead of a red when he was getting started and wasn’t able to finish his creature in the way he wanted to. We took it apart and started again, this time following the image exactly. I was really proud of his patience when he realised it was wrong, and I know that he will now make sure he pays attention to the details when he builds.
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I have to be honest and say I didn’t expect much from JJ when it came to making things. Having just turned 3 I had stupidly labelled him as too little. However, Kid K’Nex state they are suitable for 3-5 year olds and they were absolutely right. JJ is our little problem solver and while I was concentrating on Zee and following pictures, JJ was quietly making his own things in the background. I was blown away by how easily he took to it.
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We also had a Kid K’Nex Safari Animals set, and having just been to the zoo for the first time I knew the kids would love it. There are 21 pieces, including a mane and tail, and designs for 3 different animals you can make. Predictably my boys were very taken with the idea of making a lion, and soon we had a few animals to start to make a zoo of our own.
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Encouraging Creative Thinking
For me, the best things about creative toys like Kid K’Nex is that they encourage kids to use their imagination. Yes you can follow the guides provided, but that it not all that they can do. They are great open ended play objects, and leaving them out and available means your child can incorporate them in their play every day. They might start by creating animals like the box suggests, and then move on to create homes for the animals to live in. Swords might suddenly be needed for an epic battle between action figures, or a get away car for the ultimate bad guy. Give your child the tools and leave the creative thinking up to them.
We were sent the Kid K’Nex Budding Builders and Safari Animals sets for the purposes of creating this review. All words and opinions are my own.