The Bottom Line
The PlanToys 30 Construction Set is a sturdy, eco-friendly toy, but it's too difficult for young children to use to build by themselves.
- Made of wood from rubber trees that no longer produce latex
- Can be used in conjunction with other PlanToys sets
- Provides an opportunity for parents and children to work together to build things
- Too difficult for young children to build by themselves
- Instructions for building are difficult to interpret
- Pieces do not fit together well
- 30-piece wooden set includes blocks with pre-drilled holes, nuts, bolts, wheels, and a screwdriver
- Develops children's fine motor skills, concentration and hand-eye coordination
- Allows children to make their own creations, developing their imagination
- Children learn what works best through trial and error, developing critical thinking skills
- Winner of an iParenting Media Award
Guide Review – PlanToys 30 Construction Set
I was attracted to this set initially because of the manufacturer, PlanToys. We have several other toys made by this company, and I have generally been happy with the quality of their construction. Plus, I appreciate PlanToys' commitment to the environment.
All PlanToys are made from wood from rubber trees that no longer produce latex. Additionally, the company uses non-toxic, water-based dyes to color their toys. PlanToys also uses recycled material and soy- and water-based inks on their printed materials, further minimizing their impact on the environment.
And their environmental commitment extends beyond the products they make. They also use alternative energy sources such as solar, bio-fuels, and biomass; they reduce waste by reusing and recycling materials; and they support a reforestation program.
There is a lot to like about this company, and I was hopeful that I would like their 30 Construction Set just as much. Unfortunately, this set fell short of my expectations.
For starters, I found the pieces very difficult to put together, even as an adult. I can't imagine a three-year-old being able to use this construction set without adult help. Perhaps that is not the manufacturer's intention, but even as a joint project I found this set a struggle to use because some of the bolts simply do not fit well into the different parts -- they end up being very difficult to turn or too loose to form a solid connection.
Beyond that, I found the instructions for some of the recommended projects you can build that comes with the set difficult to follow. Two of the projects come with illustrations that show what pieces are needed to build the projects and where they go, but the rest are simply shown with black-and-white illustrations of the finished product. I found these illustrations difficult to interpret. Since the bolts come in different sizes and colors, it would have made a lot more sense to me if the illustrations were at least in color.
Despite these issues with the product, I am hopeful that as our son grows older, he will be able to use it more independently and build his own creations. Once we reach that stage, I think this will be a great toy for creative play and developing fine motor skills.
For now, our interaction with this toy is pretty much limited to me attempting to build things for him while he watches me and fiddles with some of the parts. The parts are brightly colored, engaging and sturdy, but I was disappointed that this toy wasn't easier for a young child to use independently. And my son was clearly disappointed by my inability to put the different projects together, which made this set a frustrating experience for both of us.