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Young Designers Architect Set

Lower Age: 4+
Website: https://www.lakeshorelearning.com/products/blocks-manipulatives/building-sets/young-designers-architect-set/p/FF187
Price: $29.99
Year Added: 2018

            The Young Designers Architect Set is an open-ended building design toy for children ages three and up. The gift contains interlocking pieces of walls, floors, stairs, roofs, and fences that can be assembled in multiple different configurations to produce a unique building. The toy provides the player with multiple implicit constraints by depicting different scenes and materials on the panels to force the player to think about which of the panels can go next to which. The instruction manual also provides the user with different challenges encouraging them to build multiple smaller structures instead of a single one.  This toy encourages children to think spatially, and to think creatively within the constraints of the toy. Also, with the implicit constraints it forces the user to consider for themselves “what is the reasonable way for these components to go together using the knowledge I have from the outside world?”; this is a very important engineering skill. It also teaches the user to plan ahead; the toy only contains a certain number of each tile, encouraging the player to plan ahead to make sure their design is reasonable in the context of the materials they have. All in all, the gift’s a useful one not just for architects, but for any child who’s fascinated by the creativity and technical skills involved in design!

Engineering thinking and design practices the gift encourages children to do or learn about:  plan a solution, create a prototype or process, test the solution, and make improvements to the solution

Engineering text or context explicitly provided by the gift: constraints

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

Overall ratings:

  • Children’s Reviews
    • Rating: 4.25 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • “It's fun but it's a little complicated for little kids sooo yeah it's a little stupid”
      • “I like it because it allows you to build a house. I don't know exactly it just is automatically fun for me.”
      • “likes that the walls are all different and easy to put together, doesn't like that it falls apart when she tries to pick up her building to show it off”
  • Parents Reviews
    • Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • “Easy to put together, easy to follow instructions”
  • Engineering and STEM Experts Reviews
    • Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0
    • Feedback: NA