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I was so excited to discover these tiny starter Makedo kits in our neighbourhood toy store last week. My three-year-old definitely has a crafty side, but I wasn’t sure he was ready for the connectors and tools in Makedo kits. They’re rated 5+ but after a little digging online, I found that they’re also suitable for 3+ with adult supervision.

Since the kit was $9.95 it seemed like a low-risk experiment. I picked this one up at Kol Kid.

Makedo is a fantastic Australian toy company that produces reusable plastic tools and connectors to help kids build things from cardboard quickly without using glue or wasting tons of tape.

They have two basic kits: ones that guide you to make a specific object, from a robot to a playhouse to a space pod to a fire engine — and open-ended kits that let you build anything you can think of. Seriously.

Each kit includes three key tools: a ‘Safe-saw’ so little ones can cut cardboard safely and punch holes, a ‘Re-clip’ to quickly and sturdily attach pieces together, and a ‘Lock-hinge’ to create joints that are either fixed or moving. Best of all, kids can upload their creations right onto the great Maker’s gallery on their site.

makedo cup critters includes all the parts inside the cup itself

The ‘cup critters’ kit included all the parts required for two critters nestled inside two (also nestled) cups.

An inventory of parts included and pictures of the finished critters were on the outside of the packaging, and visual instructions were printed clearly on the inside.

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I was amazed and impressed how quickly my son got the hang of it, especially punching the holes. It required me to first make a slight impression in the cup with the tool, but he was able to do the punching himself.

punching holes in the Makedo critter kit

What impressed me from this first experience with Makedo: the piercing tool is dull enough that my three-year-old wouldn’t hurt himself, but sharp enough to pierce an average takeout paper coffee cup.

There he is pushing the fastener pieces onto the connecting stem all by himself — once I lined everything up.

Sliding on the fastener for the makedo critter cup

The connectors are long and flexible — and see those tips?

Well, they’re not pointed and are extra flexible at the end, so there is little chance your kids will hurt themselves with the connector stem or poke themselves in the eye.

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They’ve really thought of everything.

It got a little crowded in there after a while. It was a bit tricky to get our fingers in there towards the end, and I had to push the last few connectors in for him.

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The connectors just pull right off when you’re finished. Older kids around eight or nine could probably do this themselves, but younger ones will need help.

Then we made the next critter, a bird with googly eyes and a cute beak. I didn’t notice that the kit actually comes with both cups needed, so we reused the cup I brought home from a new-ish coffee bar in Toronto (coincidentally called Early Bird).

My son was way more excited about this second critter. I think for him it was all about the feet.

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My long-term plan is to cut pieces for other animals out of paper and card and felt scraps so that he has some pre-cut pieces — and then he can decide how it all goes together.

Ta-da!

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You can find Makedo kits at educational toy stores, but call first to check if they carry the line — a couple of Toronto toy stores I talked to hadn’t heard of it.

If you don’t have a good toy store where you live, you can find these kits online, or order directly from Australia here — their shipping policy is surprisingly reasonable for ordering for ordering something from the other side of the world (shipping is free on orders over $60) and takes about 3 weeks for regular delivery.

Check this out:

And click on this great post to find out how to make cool things from leftover holiday packaging. 

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