Friday, June 19, 2009

Toys For the Future Engineer (K'nex, Etc Toys That Teach About Machine Functions)

You know why a lot of us didn't like school? It was simply kind of boring. For some of us, it was challenging, but for many, it's just that the material was already old to us by the time we got to it.

If you were already reading Doctor Seuss before you ever started first grade, you were probably ready for a little something more by that point. Some of us got lucky and were maybe skipped ahead a grade or two, while others simply had to settle for being the bored smart kid in the class.

When you're young, you tend to latch on to certain things, and it's important that your parents nurture that interest (even if it does result in boredom at school). For example, when a kid who's always been playing around with Legos toys, K'nex and other mechanical toys starts learning about simple and complex machines in school, he or she is going to wind up saying "Haven't I already been over this?" The wise teacher will administer some slightly advanced curriculum to the child.

Being way ahead of the class, again, while it can make school a little dull, winds up being very important later in life. It's always the kid who found grade school dull who winds up being accepted to an elite academy for future engineers.

If you want to facilitate your future-engineering-genius's creativity and grasp of the material, the good news is that you have quite a lot of options. The better toymakers out there craft their products with an understanding of the way a child's brain functions. Kids don't think they're training for a career in designing new ways to harvest and cultivate food, or that they're going to engineer an ingenious solution to fossil fuels, they're just having fun, putting different things together and seeing what they come up with.

Legos are a no brainer. Particularly any legos toy kit full of moving parts, gears, wheels and axles. Lego's Technic line is particularly great. Each kit is built with a certain thing in mind. One might make a real working bulldozer, another might make a race car, but if you get a few kits, you can piece the different parts together and make pretty much anything you can come up with.

Meccano is another great line of developmental toys if you want to step up from the simplicity of Technics. Meccano actually comes with a few simple tools and requires kids to put together cars, airplanes and other machines with small pieces of colour coded sheet metal, as well as nuts and bolts.

But dig this, if you want something really cool, you can go for the Haynes internal combustion engine. It only costs about sixty five bucks, which isn't much when you consider what it is: A simulation of a real, working internal combustion engine.

Now, it doesn't actually require gasoline or anything, it's not a real engine, but rather, an electronic simulation of one. It's a small model of a real four cylinder engine. It comes with spark plugs, tools, nuts and bolts, and all the instructions you'll need to put it together. It teaches how a real engine works, and it makes all the cool sounds you expect from a real engine. It's as close as you can get to real engineering without filling your living room with carbon monoxide! is a leading Australian online toy store. Visit for a wide selection of Kids Toys at discounted prices. To save money on your next purchase, please visit Toys.

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