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Flexistix Creative Construction Kit

Lower Age: 4+
Website: https://www.hape.com/us/en/toy/toy/E5567
Price: $9.99
Year Added: 2018

Intended for children age four and up, Hape’s Flexistix Creative Construction Kit serves as an introduction to the Flexistix product line. It is the simplest of the bunch, containing five three-point silicone connectors, 12 five-point connectors, two six-point connectors, 42 five centimeter red-painted bamboo rods, five 14 centimeter rods, a contents list with a (mostly unnecessary) printed metric ruler for part identification, and a small poster with instructions for the three suggested projects. The parts are sturdy, and most connections are plenty tight.

 

The three included designs are all variations on a simple ball. This may seem like a bad thing but keeping it simple allows children to get used to the unique connection style. It also allows for the indirect teaching of iterative design. The instructions train spatial reasoning by being clear, but not step-by-step. They show the end result at three stages of building and let kids find their own way to each milestone. This gift relates to engineering design in the same way as most traditional building toys; kids have the option to either build the prescribed models or to throw the instructions aside, generate their own ideas and create whatever they can.  While children may be somewhat limited by the small number of parts, the Creative Construction Kit is a good introduction to mid-scale building and helps develop many of the engineering skills associated with design and hands-on construction.

 

Engineering thinking and design practices the gift encourages children to do or learn about: Idea generation, plan a solution, make improvements to solution, and recognize patterns

Engineering text or context explicitly provided by the gift: NA

Additional practices and skills needed by engineers that were addressed by the gift: spatial reasoning, creative thinking, design, perseverance, iterative design

Overall ratings:

  • Children’s Reviews
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  • Engineering and STEM Experts Reviews
    • Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • The flexible joints provide so much freedom to the builder that the possibilities of what could be designed are nearly infinite.”