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

Maker Studio: Winches Set

Maker Studio: Winches Set

Spring 2015 Games
Ages: 7 & Up
Manufacturer: ThinkFun Inc.
Price: $19.99

The Maker Studio Winches Set combines two powerful forces: The puzzle challenge prowess of ThinkFun's games with the wildly popular and successful Maker and Re/Up-Cycle movements.

Find a small grocery box (before it goes into the recycling bin) and use it to build a working vehicle or machine. After the model is assembled, young mechanical engineers call upon problem-solving and creative thinking skills to work through 10 engineering challenges - all by modifying the working crane, well, retro Willy's Jeep or tow truck - they just built.

The instruction booklet's introduction is well-written, explaining what the part are and how they can be used. The picture-only assembly instructions are a dream come true for visual learners, but caused some frustration for those who aren't.

What really sets this kit apart are the 10 cards challenging users to employ the contents of the set and household items to solve challenges beginning with dragging a book across the table using the tow truck's winch, all the way through to building a miniature tree-house fort and using the winch to retrieve the provisions. The flip side of the challenge cards offer tips to prompt thinking and solving.

Well-designed and well-priced, the Maker Studio folks know that kids are born to tinker. And to ponder, poke and probe. That's learning at its best.

Editor's Note: Pair this with David McCauly's book The New Way Things Work to extend the learning and fun.

Claire Green   ©2015 Parents' Choice
Claire is president of Parents' Choice Foundation and cofounder of Sandbox Summit®. She looks for toys and media that will unleash children's interests, and celebrate the fun of learning.

Look for this product at:
ThinkFun Inc.

Share This