There are some toy brands that have always been at the forefront of my consciousness. As a kid I really enjoyed Lego, Brio, and Lincoln Logs and Erector sets, and I get a kick out of seeing these products in my store. Today at Toy Fair I meandered into a booth with a great brand that I was not so connected to: K’nex.
I have never really seen K’nex in action, and I hardly know what they are, but I was really impressed. If you are not familiar with K’nex either, these are sets of plastic rods and connectors that enable kids to construct various types of roller coasters, vehicles, ferris wheels, and practically any type of structure. K’nex can be guided by the instructions in the box or can be for sheer open ended fun.
Expanding their core product line, K’nex has introduced K’nex bricks. These familiar looking, colorful bricks are designed to interlock with all existing K’nex components, but they’re also compatible with Lego. They don’t get points for originality, but just imagine what kinds of incredible structures kids will be able to create with so many types of pieces at their disposal.
What I was most excited about, though, was K’nex Education. K’nex has created sets designed for the classroom that they are repackaging to be sold in retail stores. Students solve physics and spatial problems through play with K’nex. Try to figure out how to build a bridge that holds a certain amount of weight, and when the bridge won’t stay up on the first try — build it again in a better way until it does hold the weight. And best of all, there are just buckets of K’nex pieces for true open-ended building.