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Construction toys have to be the longest lasting and most fun toys most children own. Not only are they enjoyable, but they’re also educational, often without children realising it. Result! We were sent a Geomag Mechanics Challenge Goal set to review, and N wanted to get straight into it as soon as he saw what it was.
What is Geomag Mechanics?
The Geomag I know are sets of plastic tubes and shapes, and metal marbles, and they can get built and set up in different geometric structures. You can buy them in different size sets and join sets together. They’re great for STEM learning, fine motor skills and problem solving.
In recent years Geomag have extended the range to include different pieces and shapes, with specific instructions to build models. The Mechanics range is more complex in structure and pieces, giving children over 7 more of a challenge. The set we were sent was a catapult with 3 different levels of game options.
What’s in the box
A 96 piece set, there are 15 balls and 80 building pieces. The Geomag Magnetics set gives you 3 levels of final options to fire the balls at. It’s based on a magnetic catapult method which we weren’t expecting. As well as the pieces there’s an instruction leaflet with all 3 builds in. The catapult is the same, but the ‘goals’ are slightly different. With the set aimed at 7 years +, for N who loves building Gravitrax and Lego, he still found bits of it a challenge.
The pieces were easy enough to slot together although at first N had one corner of a square which wasn’t quite sitting flat. We managed to solve that fairly easily though.
The instructions could have been a bit clearer from start to finished. As N wanted to start with the level 2 game because it had a ‘football’ goal, he turned straight to that page. He followed the instructions to make the goal then needed to go back to find out how to construct the catapult.
The booklet started with a ‘structure’ page showing how pieces fit together, and then a page to build the catapult component. Easy enough. But then we turned the page to find that Game version 1 instructions told you how to build the base and that was the one used for all 3 game options. We hadn’t needed to build the structures at the start of the booklet, we should have just gone straight to game 1 build instructions for the base and catapult. Confusing.
N got a bit stroppy because he was then having to take pieces apart but he was persuaded to start again.
The set fit together well and N really enjoyed playing with it.
The catapult is quite clever. You drop the ball in, it jumps over to the top of the shoot. The second ball jumps over next to the first. Then a third ball is what shoots the second ball when it hits the back of the first..
N got very excited about how far it would travel, so had to test it at different distances. He found he could get it in the goal from one end of our large kitchen table to the other. It also worked on carpet.
The next day N got out the set to see if he had enough pieces to also build the 3rd game option. It’s a spinner and you catapult the balls to hit the legs and make it spin. He managed to build it, although wouldn’t have enough pieces left to also do version 1 ‘goals’. That wasn’t a problem because he decided the 2 he built were much more interesting to play with.
This Geomag Challenge Goal set is a lot of fun. It’s kept N entertained for over an hour in building and testing his distance theories, and he’s gone back to it several times since. He’s also got it out to discuss how it work with his dad.
Once we’d got through the confusion on the instructions, the build was straightforward enough for N to do on his own. A child under 7 would be able to build this set too, if they’re used to following construction instructions.
N proclaimed that Geomag Mechanics Challenge Goal is the ‘best, fun little building game I can play with whenever. It’s good because it will work on carpet, but it’s much better on the floor because it goes further’. (across the kitchen, I keep finding balls he’s missed when picking up!).
You can buy Geomag Mechanics catapult* from the usual outlets, online or in store.
Are your children construction toy fans?