By K'nex

Reviewed for Third Grade, 2008

Octopus Whirl

This building toy comes with 454 individual pieces that can be interconnected in a huge variety of ways, allowing the player to use her creativity to construct anything she can dream up. Once she's done building, she can switch on the on-board electric motor and  the Octopus Whirl will spin around, oscillating up and down in a circular motion just like the real carnival ride. Hit reverse and the ride will run backwards, too! As with all mechanical assembly toys, kids will have the pleasure of watching their creation take shape as they build it. Freeform and compatible with Lego, this set doesn't claim to teach mechanical or engineering principles, but your kid will get an eye-full on the fly, plus a lesson in creativity and spatial cognition. Just think, all that carnival fun without the nausea! (K'nex, $19.99)