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



Spring 2012 Toys
Ages: 7 & Up
Manufacturer: MindWare
Price: $29.95

Keva Contraptions' Trebuchet kit is a topnotch build-your-own craft kit that doubles as a science lesson. Children receive a stack of raw wood planks, wood scale boards, wood glue, string, balls, and a sling pouch. The very clear and graphically engaging instructions guide them as they assemble these materials into a complex, functional, mechanical trebuchet. Once completed, the toy stands over a foot tall. It is an impressive and sturdy product, not just a "throw-away" craft.

I was careful to read over the introductions with my son, explain a few of the particulars about the construction, like having patience for the glue to dry between steps (all laid out in the instructions), and then set him free to see how he did on his own. Two nights of building later, he emerged with the completed product and a huge grin! The product has long term value, too. It will hold up for a while, and if the original balls are lost, you can use other weights and objects to toss. The kit also came with a surprisingly large number of extra wood pieces that can be used to build more contraptions.

The trebuchet will be around our home and will be an attraction for visiting friends for some time to come. I can see my son maybe painting, drawing on or staining it and keeping it on a shelf amongst other prized constructions projects. Building the toy will be more fun than playing with it, for children like him who are interested in engineering. As such, if you are looking for interesting building kits to engage children with engineering aspirations, this one is a great buy.

Ryan Patterson   ©2012 Parents' Choice

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