Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Review: Woodmobiel: Ultimate Toy Shopping Secret Revealed

The Woodmobiel Standard Kit can make at least two different sizes of See-Saws- the playground toy that has all but been banished in many playgrounds. Why?

Woodmobiel distributed by OOTS!

DOES: allows you and your child to build the toys and furniture that she/he can use everyday!
INVEST:  $300 for Standard Kit; $165 Starter Kit
TOOLS: Express Yourself, I Can Take of Myself, More Make-Believe Please, Think Like a Scientist/Engineer
EXPERT OPINION: David Wells, Manager, Creative Making and Learning, New York Hall of Science

Today I am going to sound like a crazy person or an absolute idiot.  You are welcome to call me either but seriously, here is the crazy truth:  This year, the biggest bargain toy that I have found is a $300 dollar building toy.  That is right. $300.00!

Uh, hello? How is $300 a Bargain?

First, let's get something straight.  I know it's a lot to spend in one setting.  BUT, if you have ever purchased toilet paper in bulk then you are going to appreciate this.  Moreover, with this bulk purchase you won't be buying 100 of the same.  Rather, you will be getting over 100 ways to have various children's toys, furniture, and even therapeutic equipment.    Before I show you my list of toys that could be shaved off of any shopping list, let me share with you David Wells' expert opinion.  After all, the Woodmobiel is a life-sized toy and it really is designed to be safe but as the manager of the Makerspace at the NY Hall of Science, he still has to buy things so that kids can make things with them.  He is as budget-conscious as the rest of us.

"...it's heavy as hell," says David Wells, expert maker and teacher and facilitator
Two combinations wrenches are also included.  The red tray and Radz guy is mine.

About the $300 pricetag, David said, "It's seems to me to be a pretty reasonable price because a lot of thought and a lot of care went into the product."  David has never met the Woodmobiel folks but he could strongly assume this (and you would too) from working with this toy. "It's also durable. I mean... it's heavy as hell."

SAVE $$$ - Have You Ever Purchased or Plan on Purchasing Any of These?
(I've put some sample links to show you things on the market today)

18 Months  - 3 Years:
  • Table and Chairs ($35-$200)
  • Easels ($30-$200)
  • Wheelbarrows, wagons ($$$$$$ ever tried scouring eBay for these? Who even makes handtrucks for kids)
  • Seesaw Toy (plastic) ($50-$60
  • Push Bike ($20-$70 - can be way more....)
  • Pretend Kitchen (usually $100+, Here's one that looks like what we had. )

Can be made with One Standard Kit

Directions also include instructions for building smaller push-bikes for kids.

    4 Years +:

    OOH, kid's desk WITH adjustable height settings? COOL.  Can be made with Standard Kit.
    You can make a dollhouse with floors and walls... So cool!

    • Desk   ($40 - $75 - or more!)
    • Dollhouse (Wooden ones are usually $100 and up)
    • Balance Beams- (Therapeutic catalogs have good ones but it ain't cheap)

      I had always wanted to buy a balance beam but it was too hard to justify this cost and space challenges but here is Woodmobiel telling me that I can try it out to see if I really want to make this investment or if I just want to use it for a few months.  This can be made with one Standard Kit but instructions for this one is not included in the set.

    • Basketball Net and Stand- a real one  ($$$$)
    • Go Kart -one that won't break the next day or give parents a heartattack ($ +not easy to find)
    • Semi-Functional Pretend Play- Tents, Markets, (affordable ones are currently offered in plastic, nylon, and cardboard- but wood is better, right?)
    • Contraptions + Pretend Play - (This takes you to the hardware store but it can also be achieved through smaller building sets but LEGO, K'nex, Erector, etc...)
    • And this is supposed to be... I don't know but it will have to be done outside.

    If your child is five or older, you will have purchased many of the things on the above list but as it was for me... Weren't they all SEPARATE PURCHASES that were offering only ONE FUNCTION? And you know you spent more than $300 on buying just some of the things in that list. I always felt like I was being ridiculous buying these things but then I couldn't help myself and I'd scour the web to find the best toy at the best price.

    Have More Time To Yourself

    While it's true that you sometimes use these things at the same time (toddler push bike and chair), you will have to agree with me that sometimes you will not! Understandably so, some of these toys will not be interesting after 6 months or you may not have enough space to have them all at the same time. So you buy it and then give away or sell it which of course is good.  However, if you were to get many of these items covered by your Woodmobiel set, things would work out even better... I'm sure of of it.  For one, you'd save TONS OF MONEY.  Look at all those things and how much they cost and most importantly---- how much time did you spend researching which was the best, safest, most fun....  Bargain-toy-shopping should not be the huge time-suck that it is today - internet shopping doesn't always save you time.  Veteran shoppers know what I mean.  If you have a very young child, Woodmobiel is going to save you even more money. This is THE savvy grandparent X-mas gift for toddlers, yes toddlers! Think....... a toddler could have a chair, a wheelbarrow, a mini-balance beam.... I bet you can make all of that with just one Standard Kit.

    Go-kart are awesome to build but you don't have to trash it when you're done with it! 

    OH- AND it's MEGA-Educational Too

    Let's not forget why we're here.  This toy offers limitless learning opportunities. David had so many amazing things to say about Woodmobiel but here are the highlights:

    Being Rewarded for Following Directions:

    "You're not only building these toys, you're following directions," he said. "You're also developing a foundation of how joints work."  David is a ghost in my home.  Number 1 Son didn't want to follow directions but he soon realized that he couldn't make whatever he wanted to make (lack of experience) and so he started testing out the directions and he started to get familiar with the material.  He made a little see-saw the first day! It didn't take long at all.

    Learn to BE A Builder Beyond Woodmobiel: 

    David said that kids could learn to build more things by combining their Woodmobiel pieces and say... a big slab of wood.  They could drill some holes, get more screws... (ie. making a hut).  From the design, he sensed a greater purpose in Woodmobiel that they weren't trying to monopolize building play in anyway.  "They're providing a platform for kids to be introduced to it and not only be introduced to it but have them follow certain rules and regulations behind it order to ideally to create their own."

    Woodmobiel Standard Kit $300; Pushing your little brother around on a cart you made: Priceless

    And If They Don't Become Mechanical Engineers?

    Understanding nuts, bolts, structural integrity, following directions... these are all important things to David. So basically, even if your child doesn't end up building a mansion with it, you can still pat yourself on the back.  All that knowledge gained will stay with them. "It's still going to be part of their mental toolkit," said David.  Nevertheless, while neither of us has taken this toy out for a long term drive, I agreed with him when he said he could possibly see certain outcomes, "The toy would end up growing with the child, dependent upon the child's needs."

    Look at that bilateral coordination!  I love it!

    Why Life-Sized Building Toys Rock

    David also talked about one of Woodmobiel's best traits.  It's not just for building... it's for using too! "It's a lot different to build a bike and put a doll on it," David explained. "When you're sitting on something, there's a whole sense of pride that goes along with something you've made that you use in your everyday life."

    Oh a cute little desk with just two wheels (for stability and for rolling easily around!)

    Note to parent: this does not really fly

    There is so much more that we talked about but for now let's just say that this life-sized toy is proving to be a wonderful everyday toy for a lifetime.  You don't have to build with it everyday but you can build something and then enjoy it everyday for years and years.  Before they are ready to build, you can build something for them (instead of buying it) and watch them enjoy their creations. Think how cool it is that your child can see how his toddler desk turned into a camp tent a few months later and then finally he himself was able to build go-kart with it, just a couple of years later.  What else is cool?  When you give this toy that kind of time to be a part of your home, to let it become real reliable fun and furniture, without saying a word, you send your child this message loud and clear: "You can make anything you need."

    Instilling this message effortlessly while getting toy after toy from it year after year for $300?  Like I said folks, when talking toy bargain buys, Woodmobiel is THE ultimate steal.

    You DO get the directions for this.  It's just so cool!

    Woodmobiel Waiter- 45 second video

    Want to get it on Amazon? Here are two strategies.  Buy it now and get ready to take off on a new toy adventure or if you want... start saving now... But remember, the earlier you buy this the more you save. You heard it here first!

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    Disclosure:  Toys are Tools was not compensated by the manufacturer for the publication of this review.  The reviewed items were provided to Toys are Tools and the expert to facilitate a review.  Reviews are never promised. 

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