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I’m always on the lookout for educational STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) toys for my kids. I am 100% all for play time, but why not provide engaging and educational toys for them to play with?
Of course we still have lots of stuffed and hard animals, figurines and dolls, and why not if the kids love and play with them? But my kids are starting to really love STEAM toys too! From our subscription boxes to KiwiCo and Kid Wonder to Legos they are really learning how fun STEAM can be.
We recently got a Crafty Connects set from Cameron Frank Products. It is a building toy that comes with balls (each with 26 connecting points) and various sized connectors. This gives kids unlimited building possibilities.
I was happy it came with an idea booklet with 24 different creations. We referenced this to learn how to build with the Crafty Connects.
I look at the pictures in the booklets and figure out what parts we need and how to assemble them. Then I’ll tell my kids, “We need 10 balls, 16 blue connectors and 6 yellow plates to get started.” My kids will dig in the box to find and count out the parts we need. I see this as good math, sorting, and color practice for both kids!
After we collect the parts I begin to instruct them how to assemble the parts, and also have them look at the picture in the booklet with me to learn how to build it.
We continue to practice counting and listening skills while building. I say, “Build a base with 3 balls across and 3 balls down connected with blue connectors.” My son will have to count the balls as he is building to make sure it is the right size.
After building several of the creations, I think we now feel more comfortable to also try to “free build” and use our imaginations!
This set is recommended for children aged 3+, and I agree with that age recommendation. My daughter is 2 and does participate in some building, but is still too easily distracted to complete one project.
She is having more fun throwing the balls around our house than building with them right now. But she does enjoy destroying our creations! Maybe she is practicing reverse engineering? 😉
My 4.5 year old son, on the other hand, is a great age for this toy. I had to show him how to connect the connectors to the balls several times, but eventually he grew confident to do it successfully himself.
He still needs a lot of instruction and some help from me to build projects from the booklet, but he still enjoys these projects and I enjoy our time working on them together too!
He hasn’t done too much “free building” yet, but I am looking forward to all his future creations. I like how this is a toy that will grow with my kids for several years.
I am sure even in a few months to a year my son will be able to build more and more of the creations from the booklet himself. And my daughter will begin to enjoy building instead of just destroying in the next year or two with this set.
Another great thing about this toy is it comes in a nice storage container with a lid that snaps closed. This helps us keep all the small pieces together and organized in one place, so we don’t lose any of the small parts.
You can find the Crafty Connects by Cameron Frank Products on Amazon by clicking this link.
Have you tried this or a similar STEAM building toy? What did you think of it? Is this something you’d be interested in trying for your kids?