A new toy from Thames and Kosmos might send kids climbing up the walls with excitement.
Geckobot is more than just a buildable wind-up toy, it is a veritable science lesson in a box. 176 pieces might not sound like a lot to parents with LEGO-addicted kids, but unlike standard building sets, this kit features intricate inner workings that will keep kids engaged for hours. The complexity also serves as the first observable science lesson for kids: mechanics.
Building the core and body of the Geckobot was probably the most time consuming part of the build for me. I spent about an hour making sure all the gears and joints were in the right spots and testing to see if the legs made full rotations before I even installed the motor that connects both sets of legs. The set includes a useful anchor pin lever that acts as a tiny crowbar—a necessity, since the pieces become very snug once connected. Like any science experiment, there is a fair amount of trial and error that comes with building, but the mistakes made can serve as a learning opportunity for kids. Seeing actual gears turning (or not turning) gets the little gears in their heads turning and enhances their problem solving abilities.
The detailed instructions that come with the set aren’t just colorful, they are educational, too. The booklet features several insets explaining the science behind how real geckos stick to walls and how air pressure helps to keep the Geckobot’s suction cups sticky. Though the step-by-step instructions are pretty straight forward, the kit features enough detail that parents may want to stay on-hand to build alongside kids.
Once the body is constructed, the task of connecting several little hoses to close off the air system becomes its own challenge and reward for little scientists. If constructed correctly, Geckobot limbers along gingerly and the suction cups are surprisingly strong for a toy that becomes a little top heavy. Geckobot can’t be controlled remotely, but kids can set him on a course along a wall or floor and watch him climb.
The fun and learning doesn’t just stop at Geckobot, as the set comes with seven more experimental builds. Using the included pieces, kids can build an industrial arm robot, a suction cup smartphone holder, and more. Of course, kids are really only limited by their creativity. This experiment kit is great for inquisitive little minds who can’t seem to get enough of science and engineering and parents who want to learn right alongside them.