When our Simple Machines Activity Set first arrived the kids unpacked the box and were already exploring the different items and figuring out how everything worked before I even had a chance to read the instructions. They both seemed really taken by the different items so I purposely put the instruction down and let them play around with the bits and pieces. They quickly figured out the pulley system and my youngest loved this ( I actually spotted him using the pulley a few days later as an elaborate means of lifting some knights out of his toy castle.)
The set comes with – a pulley with rope and hook, a wedge, a lever board, 4 barrels, a cart (the wheels are removable), an Archimedes screw and 10 activity cards. Very simple items but items which when combined together can be used to create lots of interesting outcomes (espically if you add extra bits like Cheerios / water / beans).
A few days later I did eventually get around to the reading the instructions and my husband actually suggested to the kids that they sit and go through the cards together (the set comes with a number of cards with challenges on them). The kids happily sat and I was very pleased to see that by just spending a few days before hand playing around with the different bits they had figured out most of the answers for the challenges already.
The two things they had not figured out for themselves was how the Archimedes Screw worked or that the wheels of the cart could easily be removed and reattached. My husband showed the Archimedes screw to them and the both thought it was fascinating. Simple bowl of Cheerios and both kids had a blast at getting the Cheerios to move up and down inside the screw.
They also had a blast at using the lever board on the wedge as a way of catapulting some Cheerios through out sitting room.
My kids do love mixing their different toys up and combining different parts together in new ways and this simple machine set has been a great addition to their way of playing. The simple parts can be used to create some interesting ways of moving toys from one point to another or up and down
The Simple Machine Set is from Learning Resources if you are in the UK you can get it here – Simple Machine Activity Set
We were sent this set from Learning Resources in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are mine