This post was sponsored on behalf of K’NEX Wild Whiplash Roller Coaster & K’NEX Toys; all opinions stated are my own.
If you’ve read my previous post about STEM toys for young children, you saw that I mentioned K’NEX toys. We have several sets ranging from plain K’NEX builders to themed sets. You can find them in a wide variety of price points and skill levels. Gabe really enjoyed building the K’NEX Wild Whiplash Roller Coaster with me. Here’s our review and I’ve included a few tips to help make the project a little easier.
Gabe and I started the K’NEX Whiplash Roller Coaster a few weeks ago. He and I worked 30-60 minutes a day for several days to complete it. I basically helped him sort pieces and read the plans. He will be 7 in January, and enjoys building from plans. This specific K’NEX project is advised for children ages 9-12, and I can’t image too many 7 year olds would have the patience to correctly complete it on their own. I purchase some of the more advanced sets when I know that Gabe’s dad or I plan to work on them with him. Gabe has a lot of experience building with K’NEX; he received his first large K’NEX project two years ago.
If this will be your child’s first K’NEX building set, I suggest that you sit down and help them organize, regardless of their age. We’ve tried starting projects several ways, including sorting all the pieces first. Most of the time, the larger projects, such as the roller coaster, take time to build. It’s easy for the smaller pieces to roll off a table or across the floor. If you sort the entire project at once, I suggestion using large zipper top bags for each set of pieces. This time around we pulled and grouped the required pieces for a specific page in the instruction manual, and I found this to the easiest way. I have also learned that our cats specifically like the K’NEX pieces and try to steal them. Our dogs don’t dislike them, but they don’t work as hard as the cats to take them when you’re not looking. If you have pets, I suggest working on the project in a closed room or on a table. Our cat, Leo, found the assembled and operational K’NEX Wild Whiplash Roller Coaster most amusing.
The K’NEX Wild Whiplash Roller Coaster is a working, chain lift style roller coaster when completed. The project contains over 580 parts and takes several hours to complete. It’s over 2.5 feet tall when assembled. It includes step-by-step instructions with illustrations, which makes it easy to complete the design. You can also download a second set of plans, or you can work on re-designing the original one. Gabe redesigned the coaster himself when he finished the original plans (and it worked).
We love K’NEX because it helps to foster both creativity and a foundation for engineering. He and I enjoy building together, and I liked helping him figure out other ways to make the roller coaster functional. You can explain several aspects of physics and force with the K’NEX Wild Whiplash Roller Coaster. I discussed gravitational force, potential energy, kinetic energy, and resistance using it as an example. A few of the topics might be a bit advanced for him, but I feel that it will help reinforce his love of STEM fields. This would be a nice project for siblings to work on together but since Gabe will be an only child until next summer, he generally works on these with us or a cousin.
The K’NEX Wild Whiplash Roller Coaster is available at Walmart. It retails for $32.97, but I noticed it on sale for $29.84. It easily made our list of Hot Holiday Toys this season. I hope you’ll check it out, and some of the other building sets from K’NEX toys when looking for STEM related gifts.