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Thames & Kosmos Kids First Automobile Engineer
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- 24-page, full-color, illustated stor
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From the manufacturer
About Thames & Kosmos
Thames & Kosmos was founded in 2001 with the mission of improving informal science education outside of the classroom by publishing high-quality science kits for children of all ages. T&K's mission has since expanded from its STEM roots to encompass other educational branches as well, including arts and crafts and the panoply of thinking and social skills that can be taught through games.
T&K places an emphasis on teaching concepts and skills through tactile processes. Our vision is to give all children access to real, physical activities and projects that teach them how things work.
Kids First Automobile Engineer
Engineering Kit with Storybook
Read the funny story of Karlie and Ty Omega, two inquisitive kids who build simple models of the vehicles they encounter on their comical trip to the supermarket with their dad. Along this roundabout journey, the kids build various vehicles to help the people in their town solve problems and complete tasks. As you follow the story, you can build models of the 10 vehicles in the story. Large, colorful plastic building pieces make it easy for small hands to put the models together.
- Ages 3 and up
- 32-page illustrated storybook manual
- 70 pieces
- 10 models
This fun and informative physics and engineering kit allows preschool-age kids to get a head start on learning important STEM related skills.
Large and colorful plastic building pieces enable small hands to construct models of the 10 vehicles featured in the story. The hands-on nature of the kit aids in the development of fine motor and visual-spatial skills.
Storybook-style instruction manual
The storybook-style manual provides an engaging way to teach simple physics and engineering concepts. Interspersed throughout the story are illustrated instructions to guide children in creating the models as they read about them.
Durable storage case
All components of the kit fit neatly in a durable plastic storage case ensuring easy clean-up and transport.
Minnie the Minivan
It's time to make dinner and the Omegas have to go to the supermarket. How will they get there? They'll have to build their own minivan.
Read the funny story of two inquisitive kids and build simple models of the vehicles they encounter on their comical trip to the supermarket with their dad. Along this roundabout journey, the kids build various vehicles to help the people in their town solve problems and complete tasks. As you follow the story, you can build models of the 10 vehicles in the story. Large, colorful plastic building pieces make it easy for small hands to put the models together. The kids start out by building a minivan to take them to the supermarket. Along the way, they pass a construction site where they build a crane truck to help the workers lift some beams to the top of their structure. As they continue along their trip, they also build a fire truck, tractor, school bus, motorcycle, cement truck, forklift, pickup truck, and racecar to help their friends out. From each humorous segment of their silly adventure, the kids learn something new and collect a funny souvenir. This 70-piece science kit combined with the beautifully illustrated storybook provides an engaging way to teach simple engineering concepts to preschool-age kids. Start laying the groundwork for strong STEM related skills and comprehension. This kit helps develop fine motor skills, science and math skills, visual-spatial skills, and reasoning and concept development skills. - A Parents' Choice Gold Award Winner.
Top customer reviews
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- The pieces are not consistent in size. Some of the couplings fit so tightly that its difficult for an adult to connect them (or remove them).
- The instructions are poorly written. My son has no trouble assembling Legos or other sets on his own, but these are difficult for him; many peices are added in each step, and it really takes a higher level of comprehension than this set is designed for to assemble, which was frustrating for both of us.
- The ''automobiles' don't look all that different from each other, and really look nothing like the cartoons they are meant to resemble.
Long story short, if you are looking to purchase something your child cannot do without your help, this is the set for you, but IMHO, there are countless other products to encourage young engineers or builders than this one.
First, the good.
One of the best things about this 73 piece toy is the great, permanent, storage box. Especially for this "stand alone" toy, being able to keep all the parts together in one closed unit is important.
This is best used with a parent or older sibling sitting with a child in the age range suggested, working together to put together the various models as outlined in the story book/instruction manual. This little guide emphasizes that the kit is intended to be used in this way, and it indeed is really the only way this could become an "aircraft engineer kit."
Unfortunately, the negatives list is much longer.
While the idea of combining a story and an instruction booklet seems good in the abstract, it doesn't work well for those times when the kids might be playing with the set on their own. Our testers (older kids accustomed to working with younger siblings and cousins on all kinds of building and construction sets) found the instructions not very helpful, especially when the 4 and 5 years might want to work on their own.
The models themselves, when made, are fun to look at, but I was surprised that none of the several kids who have tried this out never really found them fun to do the vroom-vroom, zoom-zoom kind of play afterward. Nobody ended up running the length of the house or yard pretending to make the planes fly or ran the vehicles across the floor on the really well-functioning wheels. Not sure why, but this just doesn't seem to engender ongoing interest. (Perhaps one of the problems is the eyes? "Those are just weird" was the judgment of two of the kids.)
This is really a one-kid-at-a-time toy. Even though there are instructions for ten possible models, there are not enough parts to build any two at a time. Yes, children can learn to share, but this was especially frustrating when one of the kids wanted to make a precise copy of a model from the book while another, independently creative brother, wanted to try making a second vehicle at the same time.
And that leads me to my biggest objection: the limited number of pieces really doesn't provide for much creativity. Once the kids have put together (and taken apart) the ten models, there aren't a lot of variations possible with these pieces. It doesn't appear that there are other kits in this line that could be combined to add more play-ability to the set. Even if there were, the price of each of these kits doesn't make that a very attractive option either.
Bottom line: If you are aware of the intended use--parent or other adult or older child sitting one-on-one with that 3-7 year old to go through the story book and build the models one by one--this might be a toy your family will benefit from. If you are looking for something that the kids will play with frequently, making their own variations on the models suggested, you will probably be disappointed.