Children's Toy & Media Reviews Since 1978

18 Ways to Play with Simple and Not-So-Simple Machines

 

Toys

Kids First Engineering Kits 

Ages: 3 – 5 yrs.
Manufacturer: Thames & Kosmos
Price: $44.95 and up

This line of science kits introduces scientific topics to kids starting at age 3 and prepares them for more advanced kits and learning. We love Amusement Park Engineer, Automobile Engineer, and Aircraft Engineer.

 

DIY Electro Dough Kit

Ages: 4 & Up
Manufacturer: Technology Will Save Us
Price: $27.00

Use dough to create circuits and craft components to light up a bulb, create a buzzer, and even play games such as, soccer and basketball.

 

 

Dash

 Ages: 6 & Up
Manufacturer: Wonder Workshop
Price: $149.99

This adorable one-eyed robot responds to voice commands, dances, and even sings. Kids use apps such as, Blocky, Xylo, and Go to teach him new things by coding commands for him to follow.

 

 

littleBits STEAM Student Set

Ages: 8 – 14 yrs.
Manufacturer: littleBits Electronics, Inc.
Price: $299.95

Designed in partnership with educators, this set is designed for students and allows for four children to explore and build at once. Kids work to build functioning machines, such as a security device, an art machine, and a throwing arm

 

 

Robotics: Smart Machines


Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: Thames & Kosmos
Price: $129.95

This kit introduces older kids to robotics and basic programming. Kids can build eight predesigned robots, or create their own.

 

 

 

Circuit Maze™

Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: ThinkFun Inc.
Price: $29.99

Players work to create a real functioning circuit. Over 60 challenges range from beginner to expert, making this logic game just as much fun for adults.

 

 

 

Remote Control Machines Kits


Ages: 8 & Up
Manufacturer: Thames & Kosmos
Price: $49.95 and up

The Remote Control Machines line has older kids constructing and controlling their own motorized vehicles and machines. Some of our favorite kits include Space Explorers and Animals.

 

 

Apps 

Box Island: One Hour Coding

Ages: 8 – 12 yrs.
Publisher: Radiant Games
Download Price: Free
Platform: iPad and Android

Take a trip to Box Island and learn basic coding skills.

 

 

 

Crazy Gears


Ages: 5 – 9 yrs.
Developer: Seven Academy
Download Price: $1.99
Platform: iPad

With no instructions, kids are free to explore and practice working with machines and gears.

 

 

 

Simple Machines by Tinybop

Ages: 6 – 8 yrs.
Developer: Tinybop
Download Price: $2.99
Platform: iPad

Kids explore and use the forces of physics to make music, storm a castle, and launch a spaceship.

 

 

Crazy Machines Golden Gears

 Ages: 7 & Up
Developer: Viva Media
Download Price: $2.99
Platform: iPad

A puzzle game that has kids experimenting and building their own “Rube Goldberg” type machines.

 

 

 

Books

Building Machines

Ages: 5 – 7 yrs.
Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers
Hardcover Price: $17.95

Kids who love construction will get a kick out of assembling and building their own earth movers out of the included die cut pieces.

 

 

How Machines Work: Zoo Break!

Ages: 7 – 10 yrs.
Publisher: DK Publishing
Hardcover Price: $19.99

This fun and funny book follows the story of a sloth and his sidekick as they work to break out of the zoo with the help of simple machines.

 

 

 

The Kids’ Book of Simple Machines: Cool Projects & Activities that Make Science Fun!

Ages: 5 – 9 yrs.
Author: Kelly Doudna
Publisher: Mighty Media Press
Hardcover Price: $14.95

Big concepts made easy for little learners. Explore the technology of six simple machines: levers, pulleys, screws, inclined planes, wedges, and wheels.

 

Rosie Revere, Engineer

Ages: 5 & Up
Author: Andrea Beaty
Illustrator: David Roberts
Publisher: Abrams Books for Young Readers
Hardcover Price: $16.95

This story follows the titular Rosie on a quest to fulfill her dream of becoming an engineer.