K'Nex or Kid K'Nex or Something Else?
December 3, 2021 7:57 AM   Subscribe

I have a 5-ish year old who has no problem playing with Legos on his own, including some pretty fiddly small bits, though he occasionally needs help prying pieces apart. Is he ready for K'Nex, or should I get him another building system?

Things he already has:

- Magnatiles
- Marbleworks
- So many train tracks and things
- Assorted wooden blocks

His grandmother's knick-knack collection thanks you in advance.
posted by joyceanmachine to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Best answer: Some of the smaller K*Nex pieces require a little bit of force to fit. Think pressing a small rod into a slot into a plastic piece. It's not quite as intuitive as Lego. In a larger structure this is something that will need to be done over and over and over again. So if you tend to play with them, you may need to constantly assist until they get the hang of it. If they're on their own and they don't have the strength and motor control they're going to have trouble.

My 19 year old currently works on a giant custom desk they made out of K*Nex. I think they were closer to 8 or 10 when they began with K*Nex.
posted by bondcliff at 8:09 AM on December 3, 2021 [1 favorite]


Does your kid really wants something new? I think as a kid I would have accepted a gift gracefully but would secretly be disappointed that they didn't get me something that I could use to expand my existing construction systems of choice.
posted by grouse at 8:24 AM on December 3, 2021 [14 favorites]


Kid K’nex may be the way to go. The regular stuff requires a lot of finger strength to assemble and is difficult to take apart as well. If he likes marble runs, Gravitrax or Q-ba-maze may suit; Quercetti Skyrail is also good if you tape the bases to heavy tiles but is fiddler to build. You could also try more challenging Lego sets like Technic - you can get (knock-off) sets of gears and axles online to just build random gear stuff, and the motors and other extra pieces that are available can be very satisfying. The Brio builder set could be just right for his age, too, and is excellent and reasonably priced.

My now-9 year old was quite into dominoes (the good ones from Bulk Dominoes or similar) for a couple of years, but that may be too fiddly yet for a 5 yo.
posted by pocams at 8:24 AM on December 3, 2021


You should get the kid a LEGO brick separator.
posted by Faint of Butt at 10:03 AM on December 3, 2021 [7 favorites]


Do they still make Construx? Apparently not, but maybe there's something similar out there. (These things.)
posted by snuffleupagus at 10:32 AM on December 3, 2021


Best answer: Any Knex kits received by my child at age 5-6 were 95% constructed by mom or dad. He did not have the fine motor skills necessary to build much of anything with Knex. Not only are the pieces hard to push into the connectors, but the structures get wobbly as you piece sections together.

I vote more LEGO.
posted by Maarika at 10:43 AM on December 3, 2021 [3 favorites]


MOAR LEGO... Eventually Technic, then... Mindstorms by about 8.
posted by rozcakj at 1:47 PM on December 3, 2021 [2 favorites]


Response by poster: Thanks for the feedback about the K'nex!

Does your kid really wants something new?

He does! For months, he has been playing almost exclusively with a giant tub of all his dad's childhood LEGOS, plus those from two other kids, but has been trying to go back to his other sets for the past couple weeks and has been complaining about he doesn't like any of them anymore.

I ended up getting him a cool add-on set for the Magnatiles, but would love suggestions for the future, if folks have them!
posted by joyceanmachine at 2:21 PM on December 3, 2021 [1 favorite]


I was just going to suggest a marble run Magnatiles set. We have the k’nex, but neither of our boys really play with them. They just love the magnatiles and magformers.

Like you we also have a tub of legos, and our kids like completing Lego sets (really where am I going to put another Hogwarts castle tower). But for free form construction they still go for the Duplos. I think it’s because they can build a pretty massive structure quickly. And we have a (motorized) Duplo train that can run through the “city”. Maybe there’s a Lego train set you could find to spice things up?

Do you mind sharing what Magnatiles set you got? I’m looking for Gift ideas!

Oh, and I second the suggestion for the Lego separator tool. That thing is a life saver!
posted by LoraT at 6:03 PM on December 3, 2021 [1 favorite]


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