I am thrilled to share this first entry in my 2015 Thrifty Momma’s Tips Holiday Gift Guide. The Vex Robotics Hexcalator Construction Kit is the perfect toy for the science guy or gal on your list this year. But be warned this toy/ science and robotics kit is challenging, in a good way, so stick to the recommendations around age limits so your little one is not frustrated.
This science, technology, engineering and math construction set will eventually become a series of ramps, pullies, planes, inclines and rotating wheels that lift and move the eight balls that come with the set. It is essentially a small robotic escalator that also has two alternate builds. (I am impressed with that because often these kinds of kit toys have only one actual build and once the toy is done so is the playing.) But here you can dismantle the hexcalator to begin again and make a Dragonfly or Gyrocopter.
Have you heard of Hexbugs? The little robotic toys that resemble bugs and now fish too have been a massive hit for years. We had the Hexbugs environment and some of the first Hexbugs, which were pretty simple looking, like small beetle robots. We enjoyed those because they were a completely fresh take on smart toys for kids and they encouraged science, technology, engineering and math education. Essentially they got kids into robotics.
Each year since Hexbugs came out, the company that builds these smart toys, has managed to evolve slightly into something new. Each year I am surprised at how they continue to innovate in the field of toys that build STEM learning skills in the elementary school age set, and the tween and teen age group too. This year at Blogger Bash 2015 in New York City I spied these robotics kits and I was once again impressed with the way this company keeps reinventing their approach to robotics for kids. Soon after that the Hexcalator arrived here.
I was initially considering opening this when my nephew was here last. He’s not yet seven. But when my 11-year-old and I pulled the bagged pieces out and took a quick look at the instructions I quickly had to rethink that. The Hexcalator Construction Set indicates it is for ages 8 and up. My 11-year-old and I started this project and then very quickly realized we were in over our heads, so we had to call the ringer in (my 14-year-old daughter).
Payton took over and spent an entire afternoon putting this together. It was easily 4-5 hours of building. There are 260 plus pieces and many are super small. There are 8 balls inside the kit too. So get this for Christmas for your child if they are capable of focusing and reading instructions and if they like to learn in the kinaesthetic style. Payton was really hyper focused on making this work.
Payton has always been a super creative girl but she’s a science girl too. She mostly likes anything that explores learning and involves hands on opportunities to build and experiment. She’s the kid I used to catch creating explosive experiments in the bathroom at our old house. And that’s not a euphemism for something biological either. That’s a legitimate kid who bored easily and needed dozens of challenges to keep her brain occupied as soon as kindergarten. So this toy was built for kids like her. Sometimes it is hard to find challenging toys to gift kids over the age of nine so I really love that the Vex Robotics Hexcalator captures so many area of interest and helps develop so many skills. I find the price point actually way lower than I guessed it would be priced at. I assumed it would list around $80 Canadian when in fact you can buy it here on Amazon for $55.00 maximum. That’s a great deal for this quality.
For more information about how to get into my gift guide this year read this post: Thrifty Momma’s Tips Gift Guide Now Accepting Submissions.
And to see the gift guide this year you can click here: Thrifty Momma’s Tips 2015 Gift Guide.
I have seen this selling for $40 US and somewhere under $60 Canadian depending on the store. In the $40 to $50 range I frankly think this is a steal. The Hexcalator is hours of building and it’s hands on fun. Plus it has 2 other possible alternative builds. This is an excellent toy for a child 9 and up who loves building and science. I love that this can be used by girls and boys and fits ages 9 and upwards to 16 really in my opinion. I received product for consideration in this gift guide. My opinion is all my own.