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KEVA Brain Builders Junior

Lower Age: 5+
Price: $14.95
Year Added: 2017

Brain Builders Junior is a game-building challenge for children four years and up. The game, stored in a provided storage bag, includes 20 pine building planks and 20 double-sided cards with building challenges. The 40 building challenges provide numerous objects that children can choose to build. After observing a problem on a challenge card, children can generate ideas and plan their building strategy. To turn the 2D images on the cards into successful 3D solutions, children need to apply both their spatial reasoning abilities and problem-solving abilities.. After the prototype structure is ready, builders use evidence-based reasoning to see whether the prototype meets the criteria and matches the structure shown on the card. If necessary, children can make improvements to their designs, and the lessons learned can be applied to  ideas for future building. Parents can also encourage their children to think about other ways of building the same object, or in other words, encourage redesign. The creators of Brain Builders Junior also suggest building in teams, where one player describes the picture on the card to the builder, who then tries to create a 3D structure from that description. While Brain Builders Junior obviously develops spatial reasoning and critical thinking skills through its challenges, it also has children practice creative thinking, problem solving, and logic skills.


Engineering thinking and design practices the gift encourages children to do or learn about:

Idea generation, create a prototype or process, redesign a solution, make improvements to their solution


Engineering text or context explicitly provided by the gift: Criteria, constraints


Additional practices and skills needed by engineers that were addressed by the gift:

Spatial reasoning skills, critical thinking, working collaboratively, evidence-based reasoning, design, problem solving, perseverance



Overall ratings:

  • Children Reviews
    • Rating: 4.13 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • “It was suspenseful like a better version of Jenga. I loved it!” M, 11
      • "I liked picking out which piece to play and deciding where to put it." F, 5
      • “I liked that it made you think, and you had to make it work so that the tower didn't have to fall. It was stressful but fun at the same time.” F, 11
  • Parents Reviews
    • Rating: 4.33 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • “I liked that it taught my kids about balance. It was fun!” parent of a 2-, 5-, and 7-year-old
      • “It's great to help kids learn how to balance and use fine motor skills. It's great for problem solving.” parent of a 8-year-old
      • “An excellent counter balance game. A twist on Jenga.” parent of a 4-year-old
  • Engineering & STEM Experts Reviews
    • Rating: 4.0 out of 5.0
    • Feedback:
      • “You have to plan a strategy and changed it based upon what happens. It also encourages ‘what if’ statements, such as ‘what if I take a piece from this side?’
      • “The toy requires the user to think about what causes the problem (tilting) and how to solve it.”
      • “The user has to test and come up with ideas in order to solve a problem at hand. Each turn, the player can see the outcome of their move. The user can then modify their strategy in order to solve the problem at hand.”
      • “The child learns about how gravity can affect a system. They learn how one movement can affect an entire system.”