Creative way to use Legos
Makes use of stray Legos
Teaches machine-building concepts
Lego piece compartment tears when opened
Needs bag for piece storage
We purchased the Klutz Lego Chain Reactions Science & Building Kit so our writer could put it to the test. Keep reading for our full product review.
Legos are a big deal in my household. My four sons from age 14 to 8 and my 16-year-old daughter have each gone through intense phases of Lego-mania. After a few weeks or months, their attention might shift to Nerf guns, BMX, Tech Decks, or the trampoline, but soon enough, the Lego passion will resume, particularly for my younger sons. They will build and build, complete traditional sets, and make their own creations, often trying to outdo each other. So, when I came across the Klutz Lego Chain Reactions Science & Building Kit, I knew we were the perfect family to review it. Plus, when 10-year-old Noah saw the activity book, he said, “Oh, I heard about that in school, and it’s supposed to be super cool,” Read on to find out if the hype is real.
Entertainment Value: Legos on the move
This activity book has been a huge hit with my boys—even my oldest, who hadn’t touched a Lego in a few years. It’s perfect for inspiring quiet, engaged play.
The 10 machines you can build range from easy (quintopple, dominoes, seesaw and ramp) to medium (pop-up flag and falling hammer, board bouncer, and pulley and bucket) to hard (elevator ramps). My boys built projects that spin, swing, pivot, roll, drop, lift, and fling with this book. They’ve also surprised me by starting to play with the machines, once built, incorporating them into imaginative play with other Lego figures, ships, or set-ups they have on hand.
What’s especially great is that assuming you keep track of the included pieces (I put mine in a designated bag when not in use), kids can keep building the projects over and over again.
This has been great for my family of multiple kids as each one can take the book and make each machine even if their brother has already done so. Generally, Lego sets, once built, melt into the general Lego population, never to be reunited in that exact way again.
Each of my boys has spent a few hours with this book, the “Essential Lego Elements,” and a big bin of stray pieces. Once you build the basic machines, you can connect them in various ways to create “chain reactions" by combining quintopple and dominoes with trigger and seesaw and ramp, which lets you watch all your hard work in motion. It is exciting to get your normally static Legos moving. My kids had fun figuring out other things to do with their creations, such as swinging the hammer to shoot tire pieces across the room.
Educational Value: Wow
I love that this product gives kids a new way to access their Lego play. Instead of simply building the sets or playing with their creations in an imaginative play realm, this Klutz activity book gets them thinking and playing in a whole new way. They are building machines, thinking about making their Lego’s move and doing things, which gets kids thinking about all kinds of cool things.
This activity book has been a huge hit with my boys—even my oldest, who hadn’t touched a Lego in a few years.
These projects gently guide kids into the world of invention, movement, creative thinking, problem-solving, basic physics, and the concept of chain reactions. In addition to just running through the included projects, the book inspires kids to develop their own creations. Plus, they can have fun playing with the machines they built. It makes for a great present for any Lego fan.
Design: Simple, straightforward, genius
Klutz prides itself on “super clear instructions” and does not disappoint. The 80-page booklet provides straightforward, step-by-step instructions that the children had no trouble following. The projects range from simple to challenging and can all be combined in different ways (instructions included) on creating more complex machines. Kids of different levels of ability can access a range of projects. The books include answers to common questions and how to solve problems that may arise, which really helped to keep projects moving and frustration levels at a minimum.
Each activity is built using a range of basic bricks from your own collection along with some of the 33 included Essential Lego Elements, which includes 6 green plastic balls, 2.2 yards of string, 8 paper ramps, 2 paper signs, 1 paper funnel, 1 paper flag, and 1 paper bucket. Another cool element is that the instructions also come with ideas for substitutions if you don’t have the exact bricks recommended in the instructions. I liked how the instruction book keeps nudging kids into problem-solving and thinking creatively.
One gripe is that the book does not come with a workable bag or storage system for the included pieces. I’ve put mine in their own clear bag, which I keep with the book, but it is a real flaw not having a useful storage compartment. The slot (along the right side of the book) that the pieces come in is too hard to open and close to make that an option, and while it has a small clear window, you can’t really see what’s there. We couldn’t open the folding tabs on ours without ripping it, so using this slot for storage wasn’t workable for us. Plus, it really needs to be a removable bag so the kids could have easy access and keep the pieces from falling out, which is particularly important for the rolling pieces.
This award-winning activity book and the included invention blueprints were created through a collaboration between Klutz staff, educators, and 11-year-old kids. Having kids help design these activities makes this product truly kid-inspired and kid-focused, with attention to detail for the building process.
Age of Use: 8 and up
This book is designed for kids aged 8 and up to enjoy. I would put the age at 10-plus for completely independent use, particularly for the medium to hard projects. Readiness will vary quite a bit from kid to kid. My young 8-year-old needed some hands-on guidance to complete these projects. My 14-year-old son enjoyed challenging his former Lego-obsessed self to help my younger son build these simple machines. They are quite fun to do as a team. My younger son was very proud when he eventually completed (and re-built) several of the projects. With an adult's help, I’d say children as young as in kindergarten could enjoy trying some of these projects.
Price: Mountains of possibilities for under $20
Klutz’s Lego Chain Reactions Science & Building Kit retails for around $17. This is a reasonable cost for an activity book that will provide hours of fun. For that price, you get detailed instruction on how to complete 10 unique projects, which can be combined into “chain reactions,” which amplifies the possibilities. Plus, kids can invent new creations.
Klutz Lego Chain Reactions Science & Building Kit vs. The Lego Boost Activity Book
Both of these activity booklets breathe new life into the bin of Legos most kids have ready-to-go. Both provide step-by-step, easy-to-follow instruction on interesting activities that build various machines, teaching kids key concepts in physics and mechanics while they have fun. Both retail for around $17. The Lego Boost Activity Book focuses on building robots (as well as programming them) and is great for a kid with an interest in robots. I would go with the Klutz book for kids who are more into trying out a range of machine-building options that can be created out of Legos.
Yes, buy it!
The Klutz Lego Chain Reactions Science & Building Kit gives kids 10 easy to challenging projects to build out of their own stash of stray Legos. This activity book and included “essential” pieces feature straightforward instructions and provide fun ways to get kids to build and think creatively.
- Product Name Lego Chain Reactions Science & Building Kit
- Product Brand Klutz
- MPN KZ570330
- Price $21.99
- Weight 1.1 lbs.
- Recommended Age Range 8 and up
- What's Included Chain Reaction activity book, 33 Lego pieces, 6 plastic balls, 2.2 yards of string, 8 paper ramps, 2 paper signs, 1 paper funnel, 1 paper flag, and 1 paper bucket