Now that school is out, how do you beat the summer slide? They’ve learned so much over the last year, you want to make sure they’re ready for the next year and don’t need the first month or two to catch up over what they lost. That’s why we’re huge fans of STEM or STEAM toys. Educational toys are the best, not only do they teach through play, but they’re actually a lot of fun as well.
Best Buy sent us a VEX® Robotics Robotic Arm to build and play with with Goonie. The set is for ages 8 and up, and has over 350 pieces. Since Goonie is going into second grade, he’s right in the target age group for the toy – however we found that his attention span wasn’t quite there yet. The Vex Robotics Arm doesn’t require batteries, but when it is built you will have a fully functioning crane to pick up light items around the house.
Like I mentioned before, the Vex Robotics Arm has over 350 pieces, but most of them are small plugs that connect the pieces. But overall you will have larger pieces, gears and even metal rods that help assemble your completed crane. As you build it in stages, the overall crane looks a bit far away but it will all fit together eventually to create the complete functioning crane. When it is complete, there are three different knobs or dials to make the crane function – one moves it forward, one moves it back and one up and down. The whole unit will spin completely 360 degrees on its base making it easy to pick up anything you might want to (that it’s strong enough to lift that is).
Overall, it took us around three hours to assemble the Vex Robotics Arm, and while the age recommendation is 8 and up, it will require more parental assistance on the lower age group end of the spectrum. The hardest part we had during assembly was some of the directions were a bit unclear and a couple times we had to go back to double check out work. Even with older kids, I’d recommend a parent being near by in case there were any questions while assembling the project.
As far as educational toys go, the Vex Robotics Arm is not only a great building project to help them use their spatial skills while off this summer, but it’s also a great way for kids to learn about engineering and how robots can be assembled. The finished robotic arm makes it easier to see how things work, and allows your kid the chance to figure out how to control the machine they just built.
Besides looking pretty cool (and a bit sci-fi like) the Vex Robotics Arm is great to break away from screen time and get them building. It will keep them busy for long time, even if broken up over several days, and when they’re done building – they can play with their new crane!
The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free