How the Klutz Lego Gadget Kit Helps Kids Build Early Engineering Skills

With this fantastic indoor activity, your child can construct fun contraptions and learn about basic engineering mechanisms.
By Ashley Austrew
Dec 16, 2019



How the Klutz Lego Gadget Kit Helps Kids Build Early Engineering Skills

Dec 16, 2019

Like most children, my 4-year-old son and 7-year-old daughter have a serious obsession with Legos. We have buckets of Lego bricks strewn across our house, we’ve seen every single Lego movie that’s been released so far, and we even listen to "The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part" soundtrack when we’re driving around in the car.

My kids’ other obsession? Activity kits. Every holiday and birthday wish list is overflowing with asks for art kits, building kits, and baking kits. So when Scholastic asked me to try an activity kit that celebrates their love of all things Lego, it was a no-brainer to say yes. On a Saturday afternoon, my kids and I broke out the Klutz: Lego Gadgets kit, which gives kids everything they need to build their own machines (and early engineering skills).

The kit comes with 58 Lego pieces that can be used to build 11 different simple machines, from a claw that picks up small objects to a frog “robot” and a car with a spinning Lego fan that makes it go full speed ahead. Regardless of my family’s love of Lego, I liked that the kit includes everything you need — even if you don’t have any other Lego bricks in your house. It also comes with a book that has easy-to-follow instructions and photos showing each step in the process of building different gadgets. Read on for my full review on this incredibly fun booster for kids' STEM skills!

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My kids were most excited about the catapult, so we started with that one. The Klutz: Lego Gadgets kit is designed for kids ages 8 and up to be able to play independently, and it does include small parts, so you’ll want to exercise caution with younger kids. But with my supervision, my 4- and 7-year-olds were both able to play with the kit and have a blast.

My 4-year-old, in particular, loved that the photo instructions made it easy for him to know which pieces to find and where to put them, since he’s not reading on his own yet. His big sister read the instructions out loud, and he followed along by looking at the photos. Occasionally, they needed help snapping a small piece into place, but for the most part, they were able to build the catapult all by themselves.

Once they had it fully constructed, they took turns launching rolled-up balls of paper, some of the leftover Lego pieces, and even their Star Wars action figures. Afterwards, they disassembled the catapult and we started working on building a car.

As a mom, I was impressed by the quality of the gadgets they were able to make from this kit. They didn’t feel flimsy, and they worked exactly as intended. When you’re a parent who’s tried a number of different activity kits, you know that they often don’t turn out to be as fun or as high-quality as they appear to be on the box. Klutz kits, though, are different.

The best part is that they’re designed to meet kids wherever they might be in their skill development. The instructions include simple sight words and bold headers to help kids easily follow along, and the gadgets are functional but not overly complex. I loved that the building process challenged my 7-year-old to think critically about how the pieces were working together to power the gadget, fine-tuning her early engineering skills and other STEM skills.

As a bonus, the instructions for each gadget in the Klutz: Lego Gadget kit include a one-page explainer on where the mechanisms of that gadget might appear in real life. For example, the Lego fan works using a process similar to that of an old-school windmill or a high-tech industrial wind turbine.

For my 4-year-old, every gadget in this kit was a magical creation — and it was great seeing his fine motor skills be challenged. As soon as we finished building one, he couldn’t wait to get started on the next one. While he definitely needed help connecting small parts and punching out some of the cardboard decorations for various gadgets, it was fun for me as a parent to watch the wheels turning in his brain and see him making connections between the pictures and the toy parts he had in his hands.

But the most exciting part? Once they had built several gadgets together, my kids raced upstairs to grab their Lego set and started working on their own simple machines and inventions based on the skills they’d learned from this Klutz Lego kit.

They were working together, fully engrossed in a mini engineering activity that didn’t involve a screen, and building their problem-solving and fine motor skills without realizing it. As a mom, I consider that a major win.

To shop the entire line of Klutz kits, visit the Scholastic Store Online.
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