How many of you have little ones that like to make things? Children are natural born tinkerers. Their innocent minds love to explore the world around them and, not knowing boundaries or limitations, they are the first to find the confidence needed to create wonder. As a mother, I want to fuel that fire within them and keep their creative spirits thriving. During the holiday season and when it comes to gift giving, many adults resort to the usual items, the “it” toys, and those with the hottest deals. Unfortunately, this often leads to an ever-growing collection of nothing but limitation. There is rarely any learning. There is no room for growth, for imagination, or for creativity. Going against the typical consumer grain, I strive to provide my boys with playthings that allow them the opportunity to do all of those things and so much more. For that, there’s Lakeshore Learning.
I have been quite the fan of Lakeshore Learning and their wide collection of product for quite some time now. Even prior to beginning my own parenting journey, I knew that this was one of the best brands for children’s products. Not only are they durable enough for daily use in the classroom but many of their products are safe enough for use by even the youngest little ones in the home. Best of all is the fact that these products help to shed light on the importance of creativity and the limitlessness of childhood.
Lakeshore is dedicated to creating innovative educational materials that spark young imaginations, instill a sense of wonder, and foster a lifelong love of learning. We know that each child is unique, and we strive to develop materials that appeal to children of all interests, backgrounds, and capabilities.
My boys are quite hands-on when it comes to learning and creating so I do my best to find products that allow them the freedom to interact with their playthings in such a way. Most recently, we had the opportunity to try out the Lakeshore Learning Look What I Made! Engineering Kits.
Build working medieval machines… that really launch, hurl, and swing! Three kits have all kids need to build a catapult, wrecking ball, and launcher – including step-by-step guides, wood, glue, a kid-sized hammer, and more.
The mister is certainly one heck of a handyman so the kids truly enjoyed having a good ol’ just-like-Dad moment. The time spent bonding with one another was a remarkable sight and, as if that weren’t enough, it was incredible to see that the underlying educational messages were not only getting through to the kids but were getting absorbed and put into action in real time. From the outside, the Lakeshore Learning Look What I Made! Engineering Kits may look like just another building project but they are so much more than that. These toys (yes, toys!) provide the opportunity to introduce children to concepts such as fore, load, and distance. And as trivial as those concepts may seem to you and me, they are quite a significant part of everyday life. Then again, so is creativity. So, if you don’t mind, won’t you “look at what I made?”
With this, the kids were able to build a real-working catapult, discuss the importance of force and motion, experience and experiment with these concepts in real-time, and of course let the balls fly! Starting off with a bang, this particular one of the trio was the favorite by far. After all, who doesn’t want to catapult balls across the dining room… the living room… the backyard… and, well, everywhere? In addition to the fun that was launching the balls across the house, I loved that it presented us with the opportunity to discuss the history of these machines.
The Wrecking Ball
Now I don’t know about you but, when it comes to my boys, knocking things down is often just as fun as building things up. That is, of course, where the wrecking ball comes in. With cause and effect being at the forefront of this product’s educational background, the kids were able to work through the exciting activities that coincided with the build process, the scene set up, and the eventual demolition of their foam block “building.” We were able to discuss the use of this medieval technology in the modern world and, in its toy form, we were able to simply have fun playing.
One… two… three… LAUNCH! The launcher was surely the most intricate one of the three but equally as fun. This time focusing on force, load, and distance, the launcher brings a whole new world of educational fun to the set. With the landing on the base of the launcher allowing for such an extended drawback, the kids were able to experiment with the various distances that can be reached with the each launch. Complete with nearly a dozen super-safe pom-poms perfect for launching, this new toy quickly became a favorite during and after the build.
I was pleasantly surprised at how easy it was for the kids to put these machines together. With each of the three kits coming complete with their own step-by-step guides, a brief history lesson on the featured machine, all of the tools and supplies needed, and the endless possibilities of fun, each and every one of these individual kits are marvelous in their own right.
You can purchase the Look What I Made! Engineering Kits seen here as well as a massive variety of equally marvelous products direct from Lakeshore Learning both online and in stores nationwide. To find the retail location nearest you, click here.
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