When I plan Field Trip Fridays , I try and choose places and events that will spark creativity and wonder in the kids. I want them to take something away and want to learn more about it. We might have hit the jackpot. A couple weeks back, we went to our local museum to see the K’nex exhibit – Building Thrill Rides.
K’NEX: Building Thrill Rides presents fifteen motorized models of rides, all constructed of K’NEX rods and connectors. The largest ride is a roller coaster measuring more than 10 feet in length; there is also a Ferris Wheel that stands 6 feet in diameter. Other rides include a carousel and a swing ride. –www.Lakeview-Museum.org
The K’nex roller coasters and rides were awesome. (I tried to get pictures, but the nice museum lady told me that wasn’t allowed. Oops! You can see their smaller scale thrill ride sets on their website.) The kids were amazed that these could be made with a “toy”. I heard my son say while studying one of the roller coaster structures, “I could build that!” They were thrilled when they actually got to try constructing with K’nex in the hands-on area.
The Beauty That Is K’nex
In the hands-on area, there were plans drawn out on work tables with bins of K’nex in the middle. Of course, my son chose the most complicated project – the motorcycle. I really thought there was no way that he, even with my help, would get that thing made when we started. However, as we got into our projects, I started to see the beauty that is K’nex. The color coded pieces make the plans easy to follow and the pieces easy to find. Before we knew it…..
…the kids had completed, moving machines! They were proud of their accomplishments. My son loves legos. He builds with them everyday. I’ve never seen him complete something this detailed this fast. He and his sister left the k’nex exhibit excited about a new building material and new projects.
There is something different about K’nex. Something more mechanical. Something that appeals to the young engineer mind. Instead of dreaming of building structures with legos, my kids were dreaming of building machines that move.
Our field trip inspired all of us. I went home and did some research on K’nex. I wanted to see what was available and possibly get some for the kids, so I went to the K’nex website. Overwhelmed might be a good word to describe it – but in a good, I-can’t-believe-I-hadn’t-found-this-sooner kind of way.
On the K’nex website, I found amazing sets for every age, clubs, info for parents and teachers, and lesson plans. The education catalog is incredible! There is even a section of the site for home educators! Even though everything I saw on the site was fabulous, my biologist heart skipped a beat when I saw this…
It’s a DNA Replication and Transcription K’nex set with teachers guide on a CD. And I thought K’nex was all engineering. Be still my heart!
I haven’t bought a K’nex set for the kids yet. I’m thinking Christmas present, if I can wait that long! The K’nex museum exhibit opened my eyes to a whole new world of constructing and hands-on learning projects. I can’t wait to get our hands on them again!
Do you have K’nex? What do your kids make with them? Did you know about all the lesson plans and resources available through K’nex? Why didn’t you tell me??
Linking up to the Field Trip Friday Blog Hop at It’s a Boy’s Life.