Simple Machines

Ages: 8 and upManufacturer: Thames & Kosmos

$29.95

Simple Machines is a STEM experiment kit that will be familiar to children with LEGO® and similar plastic snap together construction toys. The instruction guide covers 26 experiments intended to demonstrate simple machine physics such as levers and inclined planes.

The kit is comprised of plastic snap together parts familiar to most children and LEGO-like instructions for 26 experiments. Good fine motor skills are a must. The plastic parts fit tightly and may be difficult for those with small fingers. However, the kit comes with a lever tool that is very helpful for disassembly. The tool’s added benefit is demonstrating the advantages of levers—a subject of the kit.

For the science-oriented child, this kit will provide many hours of engagement. Those interested in science, who have patience and are willing to work with an adult for several hours at the start, will be fascinated in learning the basics of physical mechanics.

Adult support is a must to get the most out of the kit. The instruction book includes learning sections that are written at a high level. These cover learning information, e.g. the definition of a lever ( … rigid bar that pivots on a point called a fulcrum.) For full benefit, an adult will probably need to help with this type of information. On the other hand, most children will be able to make the experiments and gain a sense of how levers, inclined planes, screws, wedges, and pulleys work. They will also learn how to measure force.

For the right child with a willing adult, this is a wonderful science kit.

John Green ©2019 Parents’ Choice

John Green is an economist in Washington DC and father of three. He has a PhD in economics from the University of Pennsylvania.

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