Frank Hornby created the first Meccano set in 1898. The nuts, bolts, and basic construction sets allowed children all over England to explore basic principles in mechanical engineering. Fifteen years later, Alfred Carlton Gilbert created the first Erector Set in the United States. Inspired by the setup of girders in electrical railroad line plans, he created a set that equipped children to create their own miniature cities.
Today, Meccano and Erector have combined powers to build and design under the same flagship company, Spin Master Ltd. Family. Together, they are creating sets for a new generation of young inventors to explore the wonders of STEM toys. The winner of multiple awards, these toys are perfect for curious young minds that are looking for something a little more flashy and challenging than standard building sets. Meccano has collaborated with multiple universities and schools to ensure that its toys are in line with their STEM incentives.
Featuring metal and plastic components with motors and specialized mechanized functions, Meccano sets are laying the foundation for success for our future engineers and inventors. Here, you’ll find 10 of the most well-rated and user-friendly toys in the Meccano line. It’s their mission “to give today’s young minds the tools to become tomorrow’s innovators.” We think they’ll be well-equipped!
Best Meccano Sets and Toys for Kids
Criteria Used In Evaluation of the Best Meccano Sets and Toys for Kids
All models can be assembled by kids who are at least 8 years of age (with one exception)
Meccano toys are easy enough to be completely organized, assembled, and operated by the average 8-year-old child. Of course, they will be much easier for older kids, but 8 is the minimum age to understand the instructions and follow them precisely to complete the projects.
The exception to this statement is #9 on this list-–the Junior Advanced Toolbox 8 Model. This kit can be put together and enjoyed by kids 5 and older. For the other kits, younger kids can enjoy and possibly operate the toys after completion, but they will have trouble putting them together by themselves.
These are great family activities that parents can do with small kids, watching that they do not put any small parts in their mouths. Most of the pieces of these assortments are very small and would choke a child if swallowed.
All toys are authentic Meccano products
Collectors want to be ensured that the items they have are indeed Meccano products, as there are other very similar items on the market. The others may look just like a Meccano kit but without the Meccano name on the box, it is just another construction toy.
Each item comes with all pieces and tools (except batteries) kids need to assemble and enjoy the product.
All motors, modules, LED lights, tools, and instructions are included with all of the other smaller parts to fully assemble these toys. Kids must first sort out the pieces and match them to the parts inventory in the instruction booklet.
Once they become familiar with the pieces, they can then start to assemble them. Batteries are required to operate the toys, but they do not come with the sets for operation. Some may have test batteries inside to test the toy, but they are not for the prolonged operation of the item. Nothing extra is needed besides the batteries. Kids will not need paint, glue, or other tools to enjoy these Meccano toys.
Each set exercises the skills of imagination, cognitive abilities, hand-eye coordination, problem-solving, fine-motor talents, and abilities to read and follow directions well.
Construction kits test the mental and physical skills of children and push them to the limits of understanding these advanced toys.
Most of the pieces are small if not tiny and fine-motor abilities and dexterity of the fingers is needed to accomplish the tasks required. This is one of the reasons that the tools are included in the toy. Kids have the precise instruments they need to perform the intricate steps.
Comprehending and executing the tasks takes great cognitive skills and the ability to understand the directions and carry them through to the finished product. Sometimes children may have to look at several steps in advance in order to see how the step they are doing fits into the pattern of assembly. This takes foresight and creative thinking to do well.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are there any tools required to put these models together? Are batteries required and/or supplied?
A: No tools are required for these toys because the tools come with the kits. Yes, batteries are required but not supplied.
Q: What is the most appropriate age that these toys are suited for? Are they equally well-suited for boys and girls?
A: Most children under the age of 8 would enjoy having a fully assembled toy and can interact with them, as long as someone older puts them together. The many pieces and intricate instructions make small kids not good candidates for assembly. However, kids 8 and older should be able to understand the instructions and put the pieces together correctly. Boys or girls are equally suited for these toys. It just depends on their individual interests in toys.
Q: Are these Meccano toys hard to put together, program, and operate?
A: This greatly depends on the skill level of the individual, but basically no, they are not difficult to assemble, program, and operate. Kids 8 and older should be able to do these tasks with the help of the instruction booklets that come with the package.
Q: If some of the pieces are missing in one of these kits, can individual pieces be ordered separately to finish the toy?
A: Based on the reviews and questions posted, no individual pieces may not be ordered separately, even if they are simply left out of the purchase.
Q: Do these toys need any additional parts to finish them or paint to decorate them?
A: No, everything that is needed to finish each model comes with the kit.
Q: Are these models just for one child to put together or can several children do this together well?
A: They are made particularly for one child to put them together, but more than one child or other family members and friends would definitely be a big help in getting the model completed. Everyone wants to see the finished product move and interact with people, so the more the merrier.
Q: Are all of these toys controlled with a smartphone or electronic device? Do any of them use a regular remote-control mechanism?
A: The ones that we feature on this page are all controlled by a smart device, except Green Switch, which has a push button control system. None of them use regular remote-control systems.
Q: Can any of these models be used for more than one item? In other words, do they make more than one toy?
A: Yes, a few of them do such as the Junior Advanced Toolbox set. These can be taken apart many times and rebuilt into different things with the same included parts.
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