What better way to encourage and support a child interested in exploring the way things work, than to give them the gift of free experimentation?Miniland’s Mecaniko Activities is an 81-piece set of nuts, bolts, pulleys, tools and activity cards to assist in building your child’s core learning skills.
Recommended for ages 4-9, my Master 4 was uninterested in building; yet Master 6, loved the idea of building with pulleys and all the other cool stuff! Looking through the activity cards, it was the helicopter that really piqued his interest to build first. So off to work he set, pulling out all of the pieces that the activity card said he would need to construct this particular design.
It took a little bit for him to get used to using the tools and holding the helicopter-in-the-making at the same time, but he got there. I watched as he carefully consulted the activity card, counting the number of holes needed before reaching the one to put the bolt through. Then working out which way to turn the nut, and at what angle the shape needed to be facing before the nut was tightened, holding it in place. I was actually surprised at just how much thought process was required to follow the activity card. He asked me for help about halfway through as it all started coming together, and so I happily held the pieces in place as he used his tools to bolt them together.
When the helicopter was finished, Master 6 was proud and immediately wanted to spin the rotor and play with it. Unfortunately, he was disappointed to find that once the models are built, the parts cannot move as they’re all fixed in place with the bolts.
The Miniland Mecaniko pieces are made from sturdy and durable plastic, and are easy for little hands to grasp.
The little cardboard ‘suitcase’ with the handle that the set comes in, is great for storing all the pieces in and making it portable and fairly compact. The tools are a great size, and the coloured activity cards are straight forward and pretty easy to follow. The best feature of the activity cards would have to be the little legend up the top that tells you how many pieces you need and exactly what they look like: it makes building far more straight forward than searching as you go!
My boys enjoyed free-play with this construction set as well, making houses, flags and more.
Occasionally Master 6 will want to sit down with me or his dad and make a design off one of the activity cards. He seems to really like the idea of building something off a card, but struggles a little to get there. Free-play, however, is all about creativity and angles: he looks at things in real life and tries to work out how he could construct them…he made a window the other day (so a square) and he was most proud of himself