Both our kids are quite interested in D&T, and they have been eager to help us build flat packed furniture since young, but for obvious reasons, we couldn't let them have a go. Recently though, we were contacted about JAKKS Pacific's Real Construction range, and realised that there is something safe (no splinters or crushed fingers!) out there for these young kids to practise their D&T skills, before they are old enough to "play" with the real things! It's proven very popular and it's a great opportunity for hubby to bond the kids too!
|Left: Real Construction Deluxe Workshop Right: Real Construction Starter Set|
The Real Construction Deluxe Workshop (RRP £29.99, suitable for 6 years+) comes with:
1 Rip Saw
1 Large Hammer
1 Detail Saw
2 Hole Bore
1 Hole Bore Handle
1 Right Angle
50 Nails (2 lengths)
50 Screws (2 lengths)
4 Small Planks
3 Large Planks
2 Large Beams
5 Small Beams
4 Small Logs
1 Large Log
1 Project book containing plans for 8 projects (materials are enough to complete 4 projects)
The Real Construction Starter Set (RRP £9.99, suitable for 6 years+) comes with:
1 Small Hammer
1 Detail Saw
2 Large Planks
2 Small Planks
1 Large Log
4 Small Logs
40 Nails (2 lengths)
1 Project book containing plans for 6 projects (materials are enough to complete 3 projects)
I was skeptical before the sets have arrived, as I still wasn't sure about the materials used to make the tools and the building materials. But I can assure you that they are indeed very safe to use for young children. The planks are made of foam, and has a similar texture to Packing Peanuts, the nails are plastic with a blunt tip, and the sawing tools and hammer are plastic as well but without any sharp parts. However, if you do the sawing moves correctly, it shouldn't require much force and strength at all and you'll get a clean cut on the planks.
Of course, if someone decided to use the tools insensibly, it can still hurt people, but that applies to all other plastic toys as well.
To help us get started, we were also sent Beano's 1st October 2016 issue, which comes with a child friendly step by step assembly pictures for the Real Construction Speedboat plan. This is to be used together with the plan in the project book, and if you want to be precise, you will want to use the measurements as well that you can find on Real Construction's website.
We wanted to minimise wastage, so we used the website's measurements to measure out each part of the Speedboat. A tip from us, avoid using markers as they don't dry quick enough!
You can let the kids do the measurements as well to practise their Mathematics. After we finished measuring the parts, the kids had a go at sawing. We found that, although the Precise Tool is better for short and corner sawing, the Saw is still the most efficient tool to saw through the building materials.
Once you have all the parts, children can follow the step by step picture instructions in the Beano's magazine to assemble the Speedboat.
We have impatient kids and Abby discovered that it's easier for her to push the nails through the building materials than hammering them in! It is easier to hammer onto a wider area than just the depth of the planks I guess.
Both Abby and Clay had fun building with the Real Construction kit. After Abby completed the construction for the Speedboat, hubby and Clay made a plane using another one of the Real Construction project plan. Look at how happy Clay is!
Using Real Construction to build something is quite different from using our favourite LEGO bricks, as the kids are involved in drawing out the plans with measurements, cutting out the pieces and nailing/ screwing them together. I guess it's also because it's more like constructions in real life, and it gives them the sense of achievement that they can do what the adults do as well.
Overall we think that Real Construction is a very clever concept, and it's perfect for children who are into having a go at constructing something like how it is in real life. They will learn how a piece of furniture is made from scratch, learn how to follow instructions, and eventually learn how to make their own design and turn it into an actual thing from a drawing. And this is all done safely too, so no splinters nor saw dusts everywhere. We are also very happy with the quality of the tools and the building materials as well.
This will be the perfect gift that provides quality bonding time between the adults and children as well.