There are certain toys that lead to creativity right out of the box.
I love the kind that I can set in front of my daughters and there aren't strict instructions or that take a while to put together or set up in order for them to play. If it's ready for use immediately, that just keeps the interest and excitement going much longer than if they have to sit while I get out a screwdriver or explain where to put each and every piece.
And there's almost no better example of that than the endless imaginative options that come with the toys that children all over the world love: K'NEX.
The most innovative and fastest growing construction toy company, K'NEX products are sold (and enjoyed) across the globe. With the ability to provide fun and enjoyment for kids while mixing in the strong educational aspects of building, balance and critical thinking, these unique small connectors manage to accomplish big things.
Having heard of (and played with) K'NEX before, I had never really thought of them as something for younger children. Even though the K'NEX 1000 Piece Ultimate Value Tub is full of endless constructive possibilities, it's not exactly a bin that I would set down in front of Little Sister B unless I wanted to be picking K'NEX out of nooks and crannies for weeks.
However, the K'NEX Neighborhood Collection School Bus Building Set and the Neighborhood Collection Fire Truck Building Set are a completely different story. Designed for ages 2 - 5, the entire Neighborhood Collection brings the joy of K'NEX down to a simple, uncomplicated level.
And when both Big Sister E and Little Sister B caught a glimpse of the fact that they were going to be able to build with Elmo, they couldn't wait to begin.
Right away I appreciated the way the way these Building Sets were packaged together yet individually wrapped to keep them from getting damaged. The pieces are sturdy and solid and plenty large enough that small hands can grip and stack them together.
Both of my girls loved putting Elmo together and then the addition of being able to create a fire truck and school bus for him to ride on was a big hit. But as much fun as it was to turn the pictures into reality, we also had a great time just being creative with these pieces.
Just because Little Sister B's bus didn't look quite the same as the picture or Big Sister E's fire truck tower wasn't listed as a suggestion didn't mean that the process of creating them didn't include just as much laughter. When we wanted to, we went off of the great "Play & Learn" activity sheets (that show extra ideas and pictures) which were included with the Neighborhood Collection Sets and when we didn't, we didn't. If the point was to have fun, we achieved it!
Later on, while Little Sister B was napping, Big Sister E and I pulled out the remaining K'NEX boxes: the Construction Crew Building Set and the Flying Friends Building Set. More like the traditional K'NEX that I have seen before, these sets contain a variety of shapes and sizes of KID K'NEX rods, connectors and blocks that are easily used by ages 3 and up. New to me, however, were the movable and bendable K'NEX, giving way to even more building possibilities.
Big Sister E immediately loved being able to use her imagination to turn these piles of pieces into construction vehicle pals and flying friends by using the eyes, wheels and propeller. By looking at the pictures on the box, we were able to get inspired, but the real fun came from just stacking, snapping and plugging the K'NEX together to make them come to life.
Whether we played with the Building Sets or Neighborhood Collection Sets individually or combined them together it was easy to see the creativity and imagination that these brought to my girls. The interaction between them (as well as me), hand-eye coordination and the self-confidence they showed made me proud of them, no matter what their finished product looked like.
I loved that Little Sister B could participate and feel as though she was a part of the action with the Neighborhood Collection and seeing Big Sister E come up with more and more possibilities using the Building Sets was just plain fun. With so many levels and series of K'NEX available, these are definitely toys that can grow with your child and bring years of educational entertainment!
Thanks to the generosity of K'NEX, one person will get to enjoy seeing their child build and create as well, because...
One lucky person will win a KID K'NEX Construction Crew Building Set AND a Flying Friends Building Set! ARV $25.98!
To enter to win: Visit K'NEX and tell me one of their other great products that you or your child would enjoy.
Extra Entries (available after the mandatory entry above is completed; please leave a separate comment for each entry in order for them to be counted).
1 Extra Entry if you Like K'NEX on Facebook. 1 more Extra Entry if you leave the following message on their wall: Kids love K'NEX! I just entered to win the Construction Crew and Flying Friends Sets at Thanks, Mail Carrier! http://bit.ly/cGoFGj
1 Extra Entry (per giveaway entered) - Enter any (or all) of the giveaways running on Thanks, Mail Carrier for the duration of this giveaway.
1 Extra Entry if you follow me on Twitter and tweet about this giveaway by copying and pasting the tweet below and leaving me the link. Tweet daily for an extra entry every day!
WIN the K'NEX Construction Crew & Flying Friends Building Sets for endless creativity! @thxmailcarrier http://bit.ly/cGoFGj #win #giveaway
2 Extra Entries (per follow method) if you follow me publicly with Google Friend Connect, subscribe to my RSS feed, subscribe to Thanks, Mail Carrier by email or become a fan on Facebook.
3 Extra Entries if you put my cute button up on your blog. Please leave an address where it can be found.
3 Extra Entries if you blog about this giveaway linking back to Thanks, Mail Carrier and K'NEX. Please leave an address where it can be found.
Giveaway will end on October 15th at 11:59pm CST. Do me the favor of leaving an email address or making absolutely sure it is visible in your profile, I have to have a way to contact the winner. The winner will be chosen by random.org and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to contact me or respond to notification or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only.
A big thank you to K'NEX for providing the aforementioned sets for me to review as well as the Construction Crew and Flying Friends Building Sets for one lucky giveaway winner. The opinions shared are my own and honest if you really need to see more, click here to see how I roll.