Receiving KiwiCo crates are always little celebrations in our family, kinda like what our dog feels when he gets his Chewy Goody Box. Kids enjoy those crates because they get something to do and mom is not yelling about getting off computer screens for a change. Mom loves them because they are wholesome and always teach kids something new.
Every Tinker Crate requires concentration, focus, and following directions – all things my son can use more of. He’s 8 years old and has hard time staying focused on something he doesn’t enjoy. Tinker crates teach him to overcome obstacles and follow through until the end; and contrary to school work, he loves this.
Tinker Crates are STEM related and always have something interesting for future engineers, which is what my husband hopes our son will one day become. What our son hopes remains to be seen, but I say he will enjoy everything and anything related to electricity. Gladly, Tinker Crates often include batteries and some type of motors.
The latest edition is dedicated to motors and mazes. Surprisingly, it was a little tough to build and Martin had to ask for his daddy’s help – there is first time for everything. It seemed easy, but looks can be deceiving. I am never needed in KiwiCo activities, so I never really follow and meddle, unless there is some spill or a little help needed.
The most fun part for Martin is, of course, building the projects. Once done, he doesn’t play with them much, which was the case this time too. It took a good two hours to get the maze ready and those were glorious two hours for me. The best part is that I don’t have to come up with any ideas or supplies to get my kids engaged in these great hands-on learning opportunities. All I do is pay $16.99 every month and feel like a super mom that I am.
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Building motorized maze took some serious effort from my son, because he had to connect wires many different ways and to make sure it all works. There were wire switching, flipping, and attaching the battery. This sounds pretty miserable to me, but I am not a tinkering 8 year old future engineer. And as long as he loves these activities, I will keep ordering the crates for him.
After the motor part was finished, he had to come up with a complicated maze design, which can be changed a few different ways. The maze is controlled with a left or right buttons and is actually quite fun to play. I didn’t get it to go the way I wanted, but my husband managed once. This maze is not for the faint of heart, but awesome for every tenacious kid.
Besides the main project, all the supplies, and directions booklet, each Tinker Crate also includes a TinkerZine. This month it’s all about circuits. It’s always a good read on subjects related to the project. If kids take time to read it, they can find a lot of useful information. Martin is not always keen on reading it, but sometimes he wants to find more experiments and thus reads it.
Circuit edition talks a lot about how switches work and offers examples of home appliances and gaming consoles and controllers, two things most dear to my son’s heart. The magazine looks like it has a lot of physics, so I draw a blank immediately, but am very glad that my boy enjoys it. He must be my physicist husband’s son or something!
The TinkerZine offers some books about circuits and history of video games and also a few logical challenges, all related to circuits and switches. Martin is yet to do those challenges, but he might. And even if he won’t, this Tinker Crate was definitely money well spent.