Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Weird & Wacky Contraption Lab

Weird & Wacky Contraption Lab

Spring 2012 Toys
Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: SmartLab
Price: $39.99

Not to get on a soap box, but trial and error is part of learning. Whether building a bridge, experimenting with chemistry, painting, sculpting, or designing an airplane, testing what works and understanding what doesn't yields many lessons. What fun would it be if everything we did worked perfectly the first time?

That's the appeal of the Weird & Wacky Contraption Lab. 60 mix and match pieces - both whimsical and practical - offer myriad options to build contraptions. At more than two feet tall, this ode to Rube Goldberg kit lets youngsters build a vertical self-propelled obstacle course using an easy-to-construct Velcro®-like system. SmartLab's user-friendly instructions offer tips to get the most mileage from the components. Five sample plans provide ways to practice building and learn how to predict the results of their original designs.

Some testers found that the base needed some stabilizing, and that the floor was a much better place (in Mom's opinion) to set up the whole operation.

The kit includes: Tri-fold instructional booklet, hook-and-loop backer board with stand, a cannon with flying stunt pig, cleaning machine, toilet, chicken coop, boot buster, 2 gears and cup, funnel, zigzag ramp, 12 tracks, 24 track clips, 2 off-ramps, 6 stops, 4 steel balls and ball extractor.

Parents' Choice   ©2012 Parents' Choice

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