Top positive review
Well executed by the authors. Think about these things before purchase.
Reviewed in the United States on February 27, 2015
This was not an easy concept for the authors and product planners to execute. It's radically different than just assembling Legos from an instruction booklet. A lot of thought and effort went into the chain reaction concepts and resulting projects. The book layout, the security so that the parts actually arrive at the consumer, the durability of the non Lego paper components, the directions on how to fold the paper components etc, etc, etc. are thoughtfully done. I think they struck a very good balance so this would not cost an arm and a leg. Some might call it cheap (a few Lego pieces, a beautiful well laid out instruction book with nicely printed paper components) but I call it cost effective. A lot of what you're paying for here is in my opinion is the wow factor of the book and the well thought out concepts.
I supported my 7 year old grandson's effort to build the first project. My 5 year old grandson looked at what was involved and walked away I think because it looks complicated and the projects contain very few pieces. Both of them are very skilled Lego builders who pride themselves on their ability to throw lots of pieces together quickly. Does that sound familiar to you?
So... I think what motivates most young Lego builders is assembling lots of pieces quickly and having a relatively static object to play with when done. The chain reaction projects aren't that at all. They don't look like much -to an adult - when complete. They are challenging in my view mostly because of the need for precision alignment between the paper parts and the Lego motion actuators the kids assemble to create the Chain the Reaction. Once assembled and aligned, making it function can require trial and error, motivation to succeed, precision hand and eye coordination and patience. I think that doing the first project successfully might be a make or break point for this product. Failure would surely be a deterrent towards doing subsequent projects in the book so initial success seems very important at least for younger children. The greatest joy my grandson experienced (and it was great joy) was the moment the first project functioned properly for the first time after several complete and partial failures (just as his patience was wearing thin) and then joy again once the chain reaction was rehearsed and easily repeatable so as to show his parents without failure. Having achieved this first success he was excited about doing more projects. It remains to be seen what his long term interest level will be.
Yes.. This is radically different than just sticking prices together and success is not easy considering that the projects are minimalist in the total number of pieces. However I think the lessons and skills this product teaches are very important, worthwhile and noteworthy. Aside from the skills mentioned above this is also elementary physics of motion, weight, angle, momentum, etc. In summary, it appears that, assuming success along the way, the complicated chain reactions are fun for children to assemble, challenging to make fully, reliably functional and thrilling once they work for that first time. It's all good stuff!