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Gadgets & Gizmos Invention Kit

Lower Age: 6+
Website: https://www.lakeshorelearning.com/products/stem/building-engineering/gadgets-gizmos-invention-kit/p/TT498
Price: $49.99
Year Added: 2018

The Gadgets and Gizmos Invention Kit is a great way for an aspiring inventor, ages 6 and up, to practice their building skills. This toy, developed by Lakeshore, is packed with 180 different pieces, including 6 risers, 2 bases, 26 caps, 4 wheels, 14 gears, 10 spacers, 2 bar connectors, 4 syringe connectors, 4 plunger connectors, 8 corner connections, 8 straight connectors, 8 short axles, 14 medium axles, 6 long axles, 12 short bars, 4 medium bars, 16 long bars, 4 small syringes, 4 large syringes, 4 tubes, 10 large rubber bands, and 10 small rubber bands. This allows for kids to mix and match the pieces to create tons of gadgets and gizmos! A 48 page instruction manual is also provided with step by step instructions on how to build 8 recommended projects, like rubber band cars, a pantograph copy machine, and a hydraulic claw.

 While the instruction manual presents 8 detailed projects, this toy is not limited to those and in fact promotes creative thinking and problem solving by explicitly encouraging children to develop their own builds. An especially interesting aspect of this toy is the use of syringes to teach hydraulics concepts, illustrating how fluid pressure can be used to benefit people in some of the example builds. One possible criticism is that this toy depends on the force of friction to hold the pieces together which, and for the most part, they hold together well. After multiple uses however, some pieces don’t secure as well as it initially did which could make more complicated projects difficult to stabilize. Overall, this toy provides a solid start to understanding engineering concepts while providing a fun way to develop engineering skills.