We live in a house in which every square inch is filled with a toy of some kind and yet ask my six year-old son where the build-a-SpongeBob character we bought him six months ago is and within three minutes he will produce it for you. I guess when your most pressing concern is should I eat a sandwich with peanut butter and jelly or just jelly, there’s likely lots of room in his noggin for a meticulous inventory of all his toys! (Of course, ask me where my house keys are and it will likely take me an hour to locate them).
But of all of my son’s belongings (unlike my daughter who never even ventured near a block or building toy apparatus of any kind- not that we didn’t try to engage her in that type of play it simply wasn’t her cup of tea) he’s in love (to the point of obsession) with his K’NEX building and construction toys.
The thing is, my little Jack is not much of a conversationalist- I can ask him very pointed questions and usually he’ll grant me a few words, but unlike my daughter who after a simple question can rattle off a jam-packed with detail answer and then engage me in a conversation- my Jack would rather build.
When he’s among his building stuff, aka, all his K’NEX toys, he is in his element, in the zone and he can regale me with the details of his very elaborate constructions. And now, for the first time ever, kids ages 6+ ( my son is SO excited that as of March 11th he became an official six year old!) can bring their favorite video game off of the Wii console and into the living room with K’NEX Mario and Luigi Kart Wii building sets be it their brand spanking new Mario Kart Wii! which includes a buildable Mario figure, a banana peel item, plus a pull-back motor and K’NEX pieces to build his standard kart, exactly like in the game. Oh and the package can be re-used as a ramp for even more after-building fun (something that is NOT at all lost on my little six year old wanna be architect).
And he adores building Luigi and his Standard Bike from Mario Kart Wii! which includes a buildable, Luigi figure and K’NEX rods, connectors and bricks to build his Standard Bike, exactly like in the game and he can also use the package as a ramp when you’re done building! For ages 6+.
Oh and did I mention that all their sets feature interchangeable parts which can be added to one another and which my Jack prefers to do.
And while he’s creating these magnificent constructions- and FOLLOWING the instructions- he loves to talk and answer questions about his Knex cities, cars, buildings and towers. And for that I’m grateful.
Not only do these K’NEX sets help with his hand eye coordination, critical thinking skills (should the red piece or blue piece go there) and his imagination-but they foster a bond between us and provides a level playing field where he feels comfortable opening up to me and sharing ( albeit about these characters and civilizations he’s building).
But at least it’s a start and a way for us to connect – that doesn’t involve iCarly (his current other obsession). In fact, I’m convinced his being enamored with the iCarly crew has a lot to do with the fact that one of the characters is always building something new.
So we will continue to build with K’NEX and build our relationship simultaneously–being a mama to a boy is most definitely an experience.