“ Brand: Builderific / Age: 4+ / 78 Pieces „
I bought this construction set from Trago Mills, a local discount store, for £4.99.
Builderific is a bit like a cheap plastic version of Meccano. Sets come in various sizes. The 78 piece set is one of the smaller ones and you get 2 large triangular pieces, 2 smaller triangles, 15 straight strips of various lengths and some angled pieces; all of which have holes at regular intervals to allow you to join them together, using the plastic nuts and bolts included. (The nuts and bolts are counted as part of the 78). You can bend the strips to make curves. The main pieces are all brightly coloured, in yellow, purple, green and orange. There are also 4 black wheels included and a plastic spanner for tightening your bolts.
The box this set came in lies flat and the flap can be lifted to reveal the contents. Each type of piece is kept separate in its own plastic indents. This makes it easy to keep the pieces neat and tidy, so it is worth keeping the box for storage.
Inside the flap are pictures of things you can make using the 78 pieces, including a giraffe, moped & sidecar, airplane, helicopter, forklift, tank and dinosaur. We also got a big booklet of possible makes included, but this was unfortunately aimed at people who'd bought the larger sets. The children were enthusiastic about making several of the things there, and to realise they didn't have the necessary pieces was very disappointing. The box tells you that 10 toys can be made using the 78 pieces from the Builderific design booklet, including a boat and a peacock, although you can think up your own. Some of the models you can put together require a bit of imagination/squinting to know what they're supposed to be (particularly the dinosaur!)
It's quite a simple set to use and it's easy to follow the suggestions to produce a model. Construction sets have great developmental value in utilising fine motor skills, hand-eye co-ordination and in learning how to follow pictures & written instruction, as well as trying things out using trial and error. The Boy likes to put lots of bits together fairly randomly and declare what it is at the end! It's also an opportunity to work together, either with a parent or another child to build something. Construction toys stimulate the imagination too and can have further play-value in playing with the completed models afterwards. With the Builderific set, you get all these good outcomes and a lot of fun too. The set is suitable for children aged over three.
One thing we have found is that quite a few of the models expect you to bend the plastic strips round. This works fine for the most part, but the strips don't necessarily return to flat afterwards, and we have had a couple snap during building. Obviously it's quite a cheap construction set and the durability doesn't seem to be there. That said, the nuts and bolts fit together well, and we haven't had any problems with cross-threading.
Currently the children are more interested in Lego than this construction set, but it does get some use at home. Their school has a big box-load of it, which is well-used during wet-play.
I think the Builderific's pretty good at the price if you're not sure whether your child will enjoy this sort of construction set, but a higher quality set (such as Junior Meccano) would probably be a better long-term investment if your child is really into building. I also think I should have bought a larger set, because the 78 piece one is quite limited in what can be made, especially if more than one child wants to use it. So it's not a whole-hearted recommendation from me.
The Boy (6) says "I think it's really good, but it can get a bit boring."
The Girl (11) says "I think it's good, I like all the bright colours and you can make cool things with it, but that bit snapped, remember? I wish we'd got a bigger box of it as what we can't make a lot of the things from the booklet-thingie. It's not amazingly-amazing."