It’s taken me a little while to get around to reviewing the second item we received at the Junior Scholars event which was a few weeks ago. We quickly reviewed the Magic Science kit, which we loved, and then we took the Design and Drill set away with us when we went to stay at my mum’s house. I was really looking forward to this one, as I’ve wanted to try it for a long time. The children were all very excited too, and we had to work hard to get them to take turns as they couldn’t wait to get started. We had a little trouble with the drill at first, as it was wired up incorrectly so forward meant reverse, and vice versa. However, once we realised what was going on it was easy to work around. Unfortunately though, after about ten minutes of playing, the drill stopped working. The children were obviously disappointed, but I told them I would find out about getting a replacement drill and that we would probably be able to try it out again at home.
I emailed the team at Junior Scholars and got a very prompt and helpful response. They mentioned that it was unusual, as Learning Resources products are generally very reliable, and in my experience that is certainly true. It was obviously just a faulty batch, and they quickly arranged for a replacement drill to be sent out. We received it over a week ago, and tested it out the weekend before last, so most of the delay has been caused by illness, being too busy and me struggling to keep up with my mountain of overdue posts.
The Design and Drill Activity Center is aimed at children aged 3 to 7, and it certainly appealed to Monkey, Rabbit and Tiddler (aged 7, 5 and 3). Owl (aged 9) liked it too, although it didn’t hold his attention for quite as long.
The set includes an activity board with 100 holes, 10 double-sided pattern cards, 100 plastic bolts in 5 bright colours, a combination spanner, a junior power drill with reverse function, a hand drill and 3 different drill bits. The power drill requires 3 AA batteries, which are not included. At £29.95, I think it is really good value for money as there is a lot of things that the children can do with it, from simple drilling to complicated designs, so they won’t get bored of it easily.
Second time round, it was a great success. All the children loved it, and this time there were no problems with the drill. Tiddler really enjoyed using it and spent some time practising putting the bolts in and taking them out. The older children were quite patient while he did this, and they used the small hand drill to add and remove some bolts as well. After a while, Tiddler had had enough, and then Monkey and Rabbit had a chance to create some pictures. (Owl had a go too, but couldn’t wait for Tiddler to finish, so he went and found something else to do.)
They used some of the picture cards, to create a flag and a flower, before designing their own picture of a train for Tiddler. They worked really well together on this, and it was clear to see that this toy has a lot of potential for a wide range of ages, as it can be used in different ways.
Despite our initial false start, we are really happy with this set, and I’m sure it will be used by the children for several years to come.
We were given the set for free by Junior Scholars. All opinions are our own.