Get the Gears Turning
- What: Gears Gears Gears
- When: 3 years and up
- Why: Affordable, creative, STEM fun
- Where: Amazon
I like these open-ended expandable gear building sets. Like ours, this set of gears comes with six boards to attach gears, multiple connectors, and a healthy supply of gears that can be hooked together and turned to get the fun moving.
My kids have enjoyed them for years, though I’ve kept them under close supervision due to the small connecting parts. If you have kids who risk choking on small pieces, you can keep these toys stored and pull them out for occasional fun. For older kids, they work great for open-ended creative building, even if you don’t take advantage of the movement aspect.
You can also buy lots of additional gears and pieces to expand your basic set once you know you and your kid love them. Gears come in bright colors and some have patterns to make spinning more entertaining. My youngest son loves to build car washes for his vehicles, while my oldest built trains galore.
You connect the gears to themselves or station them on the included bases, then add the crank to get the gears turning. Purple pillars connect two gears in line, and blue axles can connect at angles, so the fun goes three dimensional. The tight connections can be hard for little hands to handle, but once fastened, they stay together. The boards can connect to create a big platform or a long line, as well as anything else you and your little one can imagine.
I liked the included activity guide to get me going on ideas, and the images, like the crawling caterpillar, appealed to my kids. They used to pick a project and help find the right pieces to make it (the instructions leave a bit to the imagination) while I did the actual assembly. Now that they have grown, they can assemble themselves, and only need help taking the boards apart after the fun ends.