I really like toys that kids can build themselves. Recently Isaak got Bertie the Balance Bot from STEM Lab Kids to review.
I was thinking he'd want help building Bertie. NOPE! Isaak wanted to build Bertie the Balance Bot himself. I sat back, watched, and took pictures between each step.
It took about an hour for the bot to be built. It was a good afternoon. Isaak didn't get too frustrated. He did make a mistake, but it was way at the end. All was good.
There weren't a lot of parts.
- Wooden pieces that were pre die cut
- Plastic pieces
- Screws - the set included extras if needed
- A battery holder
- A mini screwdriver
- A manual
- A file - I'm assuming was for the wooden pieces if needed
Isaak got right to work!
The manual wasn't too hard to figure out. He only struggled with two areas. Considering this toy was made in China, I was wondering if the instructions would be hard to follow. They weren't.
The wheels were first on the list to be built. Popping them out of their wooden background makes Isaak uneasy. He feels like he's going to break them. I suggested he use a kitchen knife to help him push the pieces out. Of course you wouldn't want to make this suggestion, for any kid younger than Isaak. I was watching him the whole time.
Isaak liked that the instructions had visual photos, along with text. He's an artsy kid, so visuals help.
Sometimes Isaak and I take things a bit to literal. One of the first instructions was to insert the axle into the pulley. They mentioned to use a wooden piece to help push it in. In the visual they show a wooden piece pushing the axle. Isaak was looking for that exact wooden piece, but the piece didn't exist. It was just to assist with pushing the axle in. I suggested to Isaak he go use his hammer he had from Lowes Clinic. He got that, and tapped the axle into place.
Isaak got to put the battery holder in.
The Middle Steps:
Forming the box wasn't too hard. Isaak didn't need any help.
Finishing the last cube like panel was hard, for Isaak. He got it.
Finishing it up:
I always panic inside when kids get to this point. Like will it work? Did he do this all for nothing? I knew this was for a review, so it could have totally flopped.
Isaak messed up with the batteries. That's something I've done countless times. What can I say? He's my son. We were both thinking it was not going to work. I suggested he put the batteries in the other way. Boom it worked.
Isaak used the stickers to decorate Bertie. You could go as far as painting the bot if you wanted to.
- It encourages STEM Learning = Science | Technology | Engineering | Math
- There's problem solving skills that occur with this toy
- Kids make Bertie the Balance Bot themselves
- They left out "A" in STEM to be STEAM - A = Art - Bertie uses art with the stickers and kids designing it themselves - Being a former art instructor this is important to me
- The batteries are not the best brand
- The toy its self was made in China
Disclaimer: I got this product for free in exchange for an honest review.