Thursday, 28 October 2010

Bob the Builder Build It With Bob 50 Brick Construction Set

 

When I saw the words "50 brick construction set" on the box, I just assumed this was another typical building set with plastic blocks like Lego or Megablocks that you'd slot together then pull apart again. So when I opened the box, I got really excited ! This is a REAL construction set with a little bag of cement so that you can really build a proper building with real child-sized bricks and mortar ! I did then think that the only downside is, it's not reuseable but no, wrong again ! The manufacturer says : "If you don't like what you've built, just soak it in water and use the bricks again and again." Now that really is fabulous !
As you can see from the picture, you really do get everything you could possibly need. The contents of the box are listed as : 50 real clay bricks, Cement, Wooden trowel, Wipe clean play mat, Base board, Mixing bowl, Cloth, Building plans, 8 centimeter articulated Bob the Builder figure. All that's missing is a bit of tap water and an enthusiastic child. And probably his (or her) dad who will want to get involved too !

I absolutely love the concept and it is a lot of fun to play with, for kids and parents (and girls as much as boys too) but I do have a few little criticisms. The suggested age on the box is 3+ but in my opinion, there is no way a 3 year old would have enough coordination to build something with the small bricks, especially when you have to cement them gently together. I would say 5+ with supervision and lots of help or 7+ by themselves. Secondly, the metal cementing trowel seems quite dangerous to me for small children - it's authentic but something similar made of plastic with a rounded end would be more child-friendly. And thirdly, you run out of cement quite quickly - especially if you demolish your construction and reuse the bricks - and I couldn't find anywhere to replace just the bags of cement, which would be ideal.

These are just minor criticisms though and I still wholeheartedly recommend this as a special gift for a young Bob the Builder fan. I love the way the little instruction booklet explains to you the real technique of bricklaying and the fact that you have enough bricks to make the suggested clock tower with some left over to get creative and build whatever else comes to mind is great too. Even without the Bob the Builder brand, it's a lovely kit but the fact that you can play with the little Bob figure too just adds an extra element that really appeals to children.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £14.99

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