We introduced Mister Man to K’NEX last weekend, and he’s a fan. I shared how he quickly figured out how to attach the various pieces to create all sorts of neat creations, many with moving parts, when building with the K’NEX Amazing Value Tub. It’s the perfect introduction to K’NEX, but I figured he was ready to try the next level. K’NEX can create some absolutely amazing things, and the Typhoon Frenzy™ Roller Coaster Building Set definitely showcases this.
The roller coaster is a far more advanced building set, which explains why it’s recommended for 9 and up (as opposed to the value tub that is 7 and up). Mister Man got mildly frustrated at just one point where he had a piece of the curved track attached curving the wrong way and couldn’t figure out how to connect the next piece correctly. I helped him with three pieces, that being one of them, but he build the rest of it by himself.
I liked the fact that it was a project that took him a couple hours. It’s a great way to teach patience and perseverance, and I’m so impressed by how you can take these little pieces of plastic and create something so amazing. This kit is available exclusively at Toys ‘R Us for suggested retail of $39.99. The hours of enjoyment in building and playing with it are definitely worth the price to me.
The only real complaint I have is that the motor that cranks the car up the track so it can go down the hill just like a real roller coaster requires two AA batteries that aren’t included. Just about every toy I buy now has the initial batteries included, and it makes things simpler than trying to dig through a battery stash when you want to enjoy the toy the first time.
A minor suggestion, too: put the batteries in before you attach the motor to the roller coaster. We didn’t, and we have firsthand proof that it won’t be easy to change the batteries going forward. I wish there was a more easily accessible location for the motor (or the batteries – side or top opening maybe instead of bottom?) though we were finally able to insert the batteries once we placed the almost finished coaster on its side.
The construction of this is so cool, and I’m constantly amazed by how tall it is – and by the fact that it really works. Once you turn on the motor (which can operate both forward and in reverse, though in reverse doesn’t help much for this coaster) turns the chain on the hill that catches the coaster car and pulls it up as you would see at any other amusement park.
I had expected that this would quickly be one of the toys that gets built and then ignored – we have plenty of building toys like that – but the motor and action fascinates the wee ones, and they continue to come back to it to play over and over, so far. This is a really cool toy, and the wee ones have added “additions” to it with various other K’NEX toys they’ve built attached to it, like the praying mantis that hides along one curve and the dinosaur waiting to pounce near the bottom. That said, I have a feeling the novelty will wear off in the next couple weeks.
At just $39.99 for the 640 pieces that can also be used to build other things, I’m sort of ok with that though.