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Monday, March 8, 2010

Knex Review and Giveaway!  

A lot of people would flip out if the saw Andrews
room. Not all for the same reasons for most Moms would
flip out at how dirty it is, I know I do! Ask Andrew and
he will tell you just how "Dramatic" I can be when it
comes to stressing the point on how dirty his room is and
how much I can't tolerate it. But that isn't really what
I am talking about. What I mean was Children and pretty much
any kind of person who gets into build sets such as Lego's
and Duplo and Mega Blocks and K'nex would ball like a baby
if they saw what he had. For about 6 years straight Andrew
had passion for 2 things, Building sets and die cast cars.
Now the cars he liked but wouldn't dream about or get all
crazy over. By the time he was a teenager that fad was also
just about over. What he is left with is about 300-400 Hot wheels
and Match Box cars. The things there is the cars always were
good for bribe items, you know like be good while Mommy is
in her meeting and you can have a Hot wheel on the way home.
Also Stocking stuffers and Easter basket fillers. He also had
a knack for finding them at every garage sale we ever went to
and for about a year there they had them in McDonald Happy meals
and his school, believe it or not, rewarded the kids who got
stars every day with McDonald's for lunch every Friday and
then of coarse we stopped there at times as well. So that
collection grew without him even trying. Now other boys liked
more then one thing, most have a whole list of items they
are into. Action figures, sports stuff, videos, big old trucks
and so many other things. Not Andrew. Now he liked videos but
from the time he was young he was into older movies and music
and instead of having a wish list of Movies he wanted for Holidays
he was always into ours asking if he could watch this or that.
The same with Music. Real little time was spent, a bit with Barney
and that passed on his second Birthday for he got his first
set of Duplo Blocks. After that. Look out, because he never
looked back. Andrew was also the only child for about 15
years and not only was he the only child he was the only
Grandchild and only Great Grandchild. Spoiled does not define
that. Spoiled is what he starts his week with, he ends it on
a much higher note. I also have to admit I was a big part
of that as well. I bought him a Toy every single week and
on Holidays I went insane. I was a single, working mother
and had a chip of guilt on her shoulder large enough to
sink a small steam ship. Working 50-60 hours a week and another
10-15 drive time left little for us and on my day off we spent
it totally together on what we called "Date night" and how
that went was while he was a school I ran errands and always
stopped to pick him up a toy then I would grab him from
school and we would go to a nice dinner and do it up pretty
big there and while we waited for our food we would put
together his toy and then a Movie. After that we went home and
curled up on the couch together and snacked on left overs.
It was the same every week so that adds up to 52 toys a year
from me not including Christmas, Easter and his Birthday.
Translation, 52 plus Lego, Mega Block and K'nex sets a year
and that was only from me. No Grandmothers or Dads hat in
the ring yet. For Holidays he could have 20 plus sets alone
as gifts. Why would people flip out when they entered Andrews
room? Simple. Do you know those plastic Storage containers?
You used them for stashing your Christmas decorations or
off season clothing or a million other reasons. Well he has
about 20 of the large large ones (100 Quart up to 132 quarts)
filled with nothing but those building sets. He has the
entire line of Lego's, Mega Block and K'nex that were on the
market from 1995 to around 2004. Every single product they
made. Not only does he have that it got to be smilier to
when you read a certain author and you are waiting for a
new release. He was jumping at the bit when a new one came
out and toward the last couple of years he would wait for
months during the year and have all his money saved so when
they release new items he would snap them up. That was great,
he was really on top of it for a elementary child and JR
High school kid but that made it super tough for the rest of
us at Holiday time and we were forced to get creative and
had to get him collectors sets from Hobby shops that have
been out of production for years and his Father even went
so far as to buy some items over seas that were not available
in the United States. In total Andrew has around 800 sets of
these items.
Do you know how many pieces that is?
We did try to get him interested in other toys. In fact just
to break the mold one Christmas, when we could not find a single
set he didn't have we knew he liked Star Wars so we bought him
an R2D2 Robot. This thing was cool and it really was a robot. It
costs a small fortune but we really wanted him to have another
interest. He was getting into video games by then but still all
he asked for was this building sets. So we got the Robot. We
really thought he would love it. This thing patrolled the perimeter
of your room, would dance and was interactive and what I thought
was adorable was if you said the name Darth Vader it would do R2's
little "Wahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh" scream and shake all over.
There couldn't have been a cooler toy out there and Christmas
come and he opens it, says thank you and then asks if he got
any K'nex.
Now I wish I could say he has grown out of it. He has and he hasn't.
The has part means he no longer only wants them. He is now really
into computers too but if he has extra cash he will still buy one.
At almost 17 if you give him one as a gift he will still get a lot
more excited then if you give him concert tickets or a CD or a video
game. I honestly don't think he will ever "get over" them and for
years I have asked him if he would like to sell his to make room
for other things and he always says sure, I will find some I don't
want and then never do it. I have even told him how much money he
could get and it is A LOT and still no interest in parting with them.
When I got this next review letter I just about keeled over. Andrew
would go nuts. Now I expected a set or two, maybe even one of the
mid-sized ones. I don't know if you guys are familiar with building
sets but they pretty much come in 3 sizes, give or take. A small one,
a mid-sized and then a large. They also have the WOAH MAMMA ones but
but not every collection has that. That is the other way they are broken
down, collections. So I am thinking a couple of smalls or a mid-sized
one. Now, I could not think of a better person, or one more qualified
to judge a building kit from K'nex then Andrew so when he got home
I told him. Half way through letting him know though I did stop and
say what they send might be one of the sets made for the younger kids
so don't get too excited and he didn't care. It has been over a year
since he has gotten any and he was jones'n for a fix. As of last year
Andrew has only wanted cash as a gift since he was saving for his
Gaming computer and budgeting is a tough thing to do and Andrew has
learned you can no longer buy everything when you want something
big and expensive. He just finished his computer around Christmas
but he hasn't been able to work with his Dad and earn some money
yet since so a K'nex set in the mail was a big deal for him. I told him
it would be a while and that took some of the air out of his sails but
he was still geeked. Well, I thought it would take a while and was I
wrong. K'nex is lightening fast. I spoke with them on a Thursday and
the start of the next week it was here. I almost keeled over. AND
not from the delivery time. My UPS man and I are pals. He is the
nicest guy in the world. He has brought stuff in my house clear down
stairs before and anything heavy he will wait to I answer the door for
if I don't he brings it back later so he can carry it in. He also does
the same if it is raining. Light stuff he is really careful with and
he always rings the bell and knocks to let me know he is here and
waits, even when he is in a rush. So I hear the truck pull up and
I am in the middle of giving Rowan a bath so I rush to the window
and throw it open and when he hops out of the truck I yell down
to him to just leave it on the porch today. He stops for a minute
and tells me he isn't sure he should its pretty heavy and I holler
back not to worry John should be back any minute. I get the hat
tip and back to the bath. About 20 minutes later I went to check
in case there were some light boxes I could grab.
OH, My, ( Pause and breath)
This is, ( breath again)
THE BIGGEST( some more breathing)
BOXXXXXXXXXXX I have ever seen!
Now I have seen some boxes, aside from reviews I do all my shopping
on-line for the most part. I just don't get around well. Walking the dog

is one thing, I know my limits but they frown when you sit down in
the middle of a mall. I get as many as 5 to 20 packages a day but
this is hugeeeeeeeeee. I am thinking to myself what in the world could
be coming that is that big. I have not a clue. At least not that big.
I carried the other boxes in and I knew I could not wait for John to
come home I would die of curiosity. I drag it in and rip into it.

she did not send me a few items, she sent me a few of every item they
had that year. All of them. 13 different items. Talk about shock. And Now
I had to sit down and catch my breath for a minute I was so
overwhelmed I had no idea what Andrew was going to do. This was
Christmas. Heck, better then Christmas for a boy as in love with
them as much as he was. Inside this box were:

Kick it Elmo

Swim Time Ernie,

Cookies Monsters, Basketball

And for loose sets there were
Fire Rescue 10 Model Set
350 piece K'nex Value set

Construction crew: Backhoe
Steam Roller
Front Loader

The Microbots Speedy
When Andrew came home and saw the pile on the floor I thought he
was going to keel over. I had to block him at the door to the kitchen
to explain the ground rules too him. All he had on his mind was getting
to the K'nex. I explained he had to make at least one from each series
in front of me so I could see how it was made and how difficult it was
and all sorts of info about the items I needed to know. I told him that this
was not going to happen all in one day for if Andrew had his way he
would have sat in the middle of the living room and tore open every
box and went to town. He would not have ate or slept to every single
one was done. If my son's love of these is not a spectacular endorsement
in itself I don't know what could be better. Here he is, almost 17 years
old and is still as infatuated with K'nex today as he was 15 years ago.
A better spokesman they will never find
For the review we are going to start with the Sesame Street
items we received. Andrew actually sat down with Rowan to build these.
Now she is too young right now to take part in the construction of the
K'nex but after watching and speaking to him, it will not be too
long before she will be able to. Now a lot of children don't understand
the concept of what piece goes where and Andrew was a rare exception
for he was putting together much larger kits by 3 and has some sort
of gift for you can give him a picture and the most complected set there
is and he will have it done in less then an hour. Andrew is determined
Rowan will like them just as much. Hey, it will be their middle ground.
For building it says ages 2 to 5 and they are right on the money. Rowan
being under that loves the pieces and tries to mimic her brother but
just does not understand how to make them stay together yet. Give her
a year and she will be building right along side of them. Now Andrew
had these together super fast so I don't think it would be a challenge
for the high end of that age range but it was still fun. Hey, a 16 year
old enjoyed himself. Now when they are built, look out. Rowan knew
right away that she knew these guys and demanded Andrew give them
to her. The fact they are Sesame Street is huge to that age range and
this would not only make a perfect gift, I feel as it is a spectacular
item for you to do with your children. Think of it as a craft. This
is something you can get down on the ground with the younger guys
and help them build. Not only will you be there to help them along
a build their own confidence it gives you a chance to connect with
them. I honestly think this would be one of the best things for Dad
and his little tyke to do for Dads are just uncomfortable with a lot
of craft projects and other things that create that team feeling between
you and your children. I loved this and Andrew and Rowan had a blast
building it together and it was like they had their own little secrete.
Once it is together, hey, this is a toy. The series goes from building
kit to cart around toy and Rowan loves her Elmo K'nex set as much as
she loves her Baby Doll. Value for your dollar? Priceless, you have
the entertainment value of building it and they fact that at their
age it is not the highlight, the complete product is and you also
get to spend time with your children doing something you will both
love. For the price they charge for these you are just not going to
get a better product that is as versatile and entertaining.
Next we did the Fire Rescue. Now that says ages 5 and up but Andrew
says, and I agree with him you can go a little younger for the pieces
are a decent size and since it is interchangeable they are going to
try and make their own creations as well and it is a great way to
encourage imagination. The fact that it is able to create 10 different
items and this truck a huge shelf life and Andrew tried all 10 and
then the fun really started for anyone a little older then 5 is going
to want to see if they can come up with a better design then K'nex did
and combine this from that design and that from another. If I had let
him he would have played with that one in general for the rest of the
night. Rowan was a little bummed though for she wanted in on the fun
and though the age range for that will have a blast playing with these
when they are fully built younger kids don't have the coordination
to handle them without them coming apart. This would make a perfect
gift for a budget for they will feel like they are getting something
super cool and you can afford it.
Value for your dollar? I loved the fact you are pretty much getting
10 toys for the price of one and as far as the kids go, a boy the most,
is going to be used a long long time. I don't see this one hitting
the toy box for a long time. My only complaint isn't really a complaint at all
but more of a suggestion, I would love it if they made something just like
this but with larger pieces for it is such a catchy toy and bright and i
nteresting and something kids identify with early and younger kids
would love it. Rowan lost interest in some of the other ones but this
had her undivided attention the whole time and
she wanted to play with it desperately.
After that we did the Collect and play Construction series and who can
say boy town? If you have a little boy this is the set to get. Snakes
and snails nothing, move that dirt and dig a hole this is where it is at.
Andrew loved it for boys love toys no matter what age and what I mean
by that is the older kids are going to love it for they have those
dreams of driving one themselves and they reach the younger side of
the 5 and up age. They are going to just plain love it. Watch out though for once
built it will be taken out to the dirt. They can't help themselves.
The really cool part is this has accessory's and when they collect them
all they can make their own construction site. Mom, buy all four and
then you might not have them tracking dirt across your floor! This
is one all ages and types of kids will love for it has mass appeal
and not only will it be a great gift it will be something great to
keep them busy in the Summer when they can take it outside.
Value for your dollar? Great deal here, affordable as all get out
and fun to collect. I would get them a little box to throw their
accessory's in for they will bum out if they loose them.
Next we did the Moto Bot series. For ages 7 and up and I would
stick with those guidelines. They need patience here though it
is not difficult it does take a little longer. This was one of
Andrews favorite though I have to warn you that it takes batteries.
It is worth it though, but the patience comes in when you collect
them all for it is a little more difficult to turn it into the
mega guy Battle Bot. The really cool part there is it is a 4
part set so when you are done you will have dueling Bots and
they will have a blast with their friends. Unlike a lot of the
sets this one is a set you can share or should I say it works
better when you do for how can you duel by yourself. It is also
a set that is great for a gift for that age when you are unsure
what to buy them. Got a Nephew who is 12 or 13 and you know they
are over kids items but not sure if they are ready for the teen
fads, this is a safe bet and they will love it. It is also
another fun thing for kids to do with their Dads, even more so if
they are on the younger age of that range for they might need Dad.
With all four they can also kick Dads butt!
Value for your Dollar? Real good, even with the batteries tossed in.
They can play with it without batteries but they do make it more
fun. Just don't feel pressured to rush out and keep replacing them
and tell the kids when they are practicing their skills leave it off
and when they are combating their Dads or friends then turn it on.
It is an all around cool toy though!

Last of all was the Value tub and what can I say. Andrew is still knee
deep in it and will be for a while. The tub is great for many reasons.
One, it promotes creativity for there are so many pieces they can make
just about anything they dream up. Two, it is nice to have around for
though the colors don't match Andrew has often lost a piece to a set he
loves and think of the tub as your own personal part store. Three,
it makes an awesome storage container for those kits that have too many
lost pieces to make but you don't want to throw away. No matter
what age the kids are they will have a blast with this, heck I sat
there and made stuff with this guy for it is just so tempting you
can't help yourself. Value for your Dollar? Um, it doesn't say value
tub for nothing. This truly is a must have item too for any child
that likes to create. Even girls will love it!

How did the review go? Fantastic. As a parent I am a huge fan of
K'nex in general. Not only because my son is the worlds largest K'nex
fan and believe it or not for many years that was his dream job, to
work for them, but because I think we owe it to our children to help
them develop their creativity and expand their minds. This is a toy
that is made to be used over and over and even when the instructions
are long gone it will still be played with and seldom will you see
K'nex in a toy box and what I mean by that is I consider the toy box
to be the kiss of death. When Andrews toys went in the box it was
because he was done with them. He may not be ready to give them
away but for all intensive purposes he is done playing with them. The toys
he loves he keeps on his shelf for easy access and his K'nex started
out there to he got so many he needed bins. For the money where else
are you going to buy a toy that grows with your child and they will
never tire of. Hey, you have two picks in that category, sporting
equipment and K'nex or building toys. It is just the perfect toy!

As a professional Product reviewer I was also impressed. Not only
with the product but with the company in general. They are going on
my top ten list for not only were they pleasant to deal with they
offer excellent support and customer service and were available
whenever I needed them. I enjoyed being a part of the review and
felt comfortable asking whatever I needed to for they made you feel
at ease. They stand behind their product and truly care that it is
the best possible item they can make and are always looking for ways
to improve themselves. Great company and great product. Not only do
they produce something that is reasonably priced and excellent quality
it is the perfect toy for all types of children and they do not dig
themselves into a niche. K'nex are also great for developmentally
challenged children and Attention Deficit for they are a great
tactile item and helps them develop coordination and patience.
I would love to get my hands on the Lincoln Logs and Brio for I have
never tried either but would imagine since K'nex themselves are so
spectacular they would be as well. K'nex and what they stand for
are tops on my list!

K'nex will be tops on one of your children's list too. One of
my lucky readers is going to win a K'nex gift pack that will make
your child scream. A box packed with sets! Yes, I said PACKED and
SETS! Who wouldn't scream. To enter just head over to the K'nex web
site and take a look around then come back here and post what item
you think your child would like best or hey, don't stop there, what do
you want to get your hands on! The contest will start tonight and
run to Midnight on April 30st.
USA and 18 and older can enter daily and the winner
will be contacted by email and have 72 hours to
contact me with their mailing information. As always
you can earn a bonus entry by entering the contest of
the day every day and then posting that you did here
and other ways to enter are posted below.


Extra entries.
Extra entries only count after the initial entry
is completed.

1. Become a follower of my blog or Twitter
and post that you are. 3 entries,
please post 3 times.

2. Tweet about my blog and post the link
here. 5 entries, please post five times.

3. Grab my button. 5 entries. Please post
5 times.

4. Blog about this contest somewhere else
and post the link here. 5 Entries Please
post five times.

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Picture I used on cards

Picture I used on cards
Rowan with soap hair