Thursday, December 13, 2012

Brain Building with KRE-O

KRE-O Transformers Product Review

As part of the Mom-It-Forward blogger network, I had the opportunity to participate in a review of the KRE-O TRANSFORMERS sets by Hasbro.  Hasbro sent a big box of KRE-O TRANSFORMERS for my two boys (just weeks away from turning 8 and 11), to build, play with, and review.  Pretty awesome – and perfect timing with the holidays and birthdays coming up!   

Okay, now I have to admit up until this point, we have pretty much been a LEGO house.  Two years ago, we also received another brand of "mega" building sets that my boys found to be harder to click together and very frustrating, so we never really ventured beyond LEGO.  When I received this opportunity, I was really curious to see how Hasbro would "stack up" (pun intended!).
For the review, we received 

  • The Destruction Site Devastator set 
  • Cycle Chase
Even though my younger son is just weeks away from turning 8, he’s a pretty talented builder and usually ends up helping his older brother.  After opening the sets, we found that the pieces are high quality, they click together easily, and the directions are easy to follow. The KRE-O sets say that they work with other major brands of building sets, and we found that to be true - they snapped right into our other brand bricks without a problem.

Destruction Site Devastator Set

The Destruction Site Devastator set is the ultimate gift for advanced builders ages 8 and up.  It is 9 sets in one - kids can build four construction vehicles, four construction robots, or the massive Decepticon robot Devastator.  The Destruction Site Devastator set was perfect since my boys decided to share in the building.  Both boys still had a chance to choose their own individual projects, yet once they were done, they were able to trade off and build something totally different, all using the same bricks.  With all of the possibilities, this set will last a long time in our house.  

When building the smaller components, the pieces are not initially organized by project.  You will have to open all the baggies to find the pieces for your project.  This actually turned out to be a good exercise in teamwork/cooperation - my boys had to work together and help each other find various pieces from all the piles.  The robots/vehicles are divided into two books of instructions - again perfect for two kids.  Once a figure is built (we started with the robots), all of those same pieces can be used to build the coordinating vehicle using the same book of directions.  If your child builds one robot, he/she can take that robot to a friend's house or restaurant along with the directions and they will have all the necessary pieces to build the vehicle.

Cycle Chase

Cycle Chase is great for beginning builders ages 6 and up and great for kids who may like smaller projects. The motorcycle in this set has a “rocket launcher” on the front that actually works.  My kids have done other building sets with rockets or missiles that launch, but the pieces that Hasbro uses for this Cycle Chase launcher seem cooler than launchers from other sets.  The Cycle Chase set and other smaller sets, like Decepticon Ambush, make great presents for the holidays or birthdays.  These smaller size sets are also great to take on a trip or to a restaurant when you need something to keep young hands and minds occupied.  And because this smaller set comes with 4 complete figures, it’s also great for shared play.

KREON Figures

Both sets also come with fun KREON figures, featuring Autobots and Decepticons.  My boys like the flexibility of the KREON figures – switching out the bodies, legs, and heads. My younger son immediately pointed out the fact that the legs rotate and swivel around in all directions, unlike other brand figures with legs that only move back and forth.


Building block sets such as KRE-O require kids to use their visual/spatial skills and fine motor skills.  With all of the technology and video games out there today geared towards this age group, it’s nice to find a brain building activity, especially for boys, that provides an alternative to computer/video games.  According to a British study done in 2010, kids who are experts with toy building bricks are more agile with their hands and can typically solve problems faster than the average person.  Improved visual/spatial skills help with geometry and other math/science subject areas, engineering, and even day to day tasks (such as navigating using a map or other tasks that require visualization).

The Verdict?

Thumbs up Hasbro! Both sets provided hours upon hours of fun, and we haven’t even made it through all of the possibilities yet. Once my boys had two of the robots built, they wanted to play with them for a while before building more.  The robot figures held up well to playing and don't seem to fall apart easily, which has been a complaint of ours with some other building sets. If you are looking for a holiday gift that the kids can continue to play with after the other presents are unwrapped, definitely check out the KRE-O sets. I was impressed with the quality, clear directions, versatility, and fun themes.  As a bonus for parents, KRE-O sets don’t require batteries, don’t involve “screen time”, and are pretty much a quiet hands-on activity (until they start running around the house with the Transformers chasing each other!).  

I would definitely recommend KRE-O TRANSFORMERS sets, as well as other Hasbro KRE-O building sets as a great option for holiday or birthday gifts.  You are not only giving a gift that provides hours of fun building and hours of creative play, but you are also giving the gift of brain building through visual-spatial skills, fine motor coordination, and dexterity. If you happen to have several kids who choose to work together like mine did, it also encourages teamwork and cooperative play.  So Hasbro, you have 3 new fans (including mom)!

More KRE-O TRANSFORMERS Sets by Hasbro

We also received some information on other sets that are available - while I haven’t seen these sets in person, these sets sound like a lot of fun as well:
  • The Battle For Energon which includes pieces to build two of the most iconic Transformer characters – heroic Optimus Prime and evil Megatron – all in one set!

  • KREON Micro-Changers Mystery Bags – for just $2.99, each Mystery Bag contains a random KREON figure which can also convert into an alternate mode like a jet or an insect. Great stocking stuffer idea and perfect for goody bags!  Like I mentioned before, my kids really enjoyed playing with the KREON figures that came with our sets and these Micro-Changers sound very versatile.

Disclaimer: I am part of the Mom It Forward blogger network.  Mom It Forward and Hasbro partnered in support of this campaign. Hasbro compensated me for participation in this campaign. However, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

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