Everyone knows what LEGOS are, and if you have a kiddo in your home over the age of 3, than I am sure your bare feet are familiar with LEGOS too, but have you ever heard of K'NEX?
K'NEX is a brand of construction and building toys that, unlike LEGOS, are made right here in the USA.
Back in 2009, K'NEX began bringing it's manufacturing back to the USA to keep jobs at it's factory in Hatfield, PA. At this facility, 100% of the rods, connectors, and bricks are made. These pieces are the main parts to every K'NEX kit, and are THE parts that separate K'NEX brand from the other construction and building toys.
Though 95% of all K'NEX parts are manufactured in the USA, not all of the kits carry the ‘Made in USA' label. Why is this?
K'NEX only uses a “Made in USA” seal on it's building kits that contain 90% or more parts, pieces and packaging that are made/packaged in the USA. Some K'NEX kits contain more parts made over seas than others, and some kits contain more parts packaged in other countries (like China or the Dominican Republic) than others.
K'NEX and Rodon Group are constantly looking to bring ALL of the production to the USA. The pieces in kits that are made in China are the ones that contain painted on decoration, as there is yet a company in the USA that does this. The packaging that is done overseas is done so because they feel there is not a place here that can do it affordably.
I am greatly impressed with K'NEX's and the Rodon Group's efforts to reshore ALL of their production, and I am especially impressed with how open they are with their labeling.
At USA Love List we support any effort a company makes to bring manufacturing to the USA. I strongly believe that the more information a consumer has, the easier it is to make a purchase in support of American manufacturing. This is especially important over the holiday season when we are showing our support through the purchase of gift items.
K'NEX is very clear on its boxes what percent of the product is American made, and what percent is China made. Also, the first page of the building instruction manual shows images of which pieces are American made, and which ones are made in China- this even impressed Logan, my 7 year old!
I have to admit, I was excited to find an American made version of LEGOS, but I honestly did not think my kiddos would take to K'NEX as an alternative. BOY WAS I WRONG on so many levels!!
K'NEX are NOT an American made version of LEGOS. Yes, they are made in the USA and LEGOS are made elsewhere, but they are NOT the same. Where LEGOS pieces are mostly blocks, K'NEX pieces are mostly rods and connectors.
This difference in the K'NEX part structure leads to a whole different building style
My kiddos have been so used to building things with different shaped blocks that fit together, that when I dumped out the K'NEX 618 Pc Tub Building Set, they stared at the variety of rods and odd shaped connecter pieces in confusion. The first thing out of Logan's mouth was, “Mom, there are pieces missing. How are we supposed to build without a lot of blocks?”
Whoa. Mom teaching moment. I had to explain that there are other ways to create things other than with blocks. We went to work ,together, to see what we could come up with. We discovered how the pieces fit together, and we looked through the instruction book to get some ideas. Once they opened their minds and escaped from the thought process of creating buildings and cars, they were able to experiment and have fun.
Logan and I both LOVE the K'NEX 618 Pc Tub Building Set! Logan was frustrated at first that there weren't a lot of blocks, as that is what he is used to with his LEGOS, but once he opened his mind to the creative possibilities, he has been on a robot and space vehicle building spree. Sophie, his 5 year old sister, has been enjoying watching and helping, but she is not as interested. I think this is mostly because of her age. The set is recommended for ages 7 and up, I am thinking, because the pieces are a bit tough to put together. At her age she is just fine-tuning her finger and hand motor skills, so she was a bit frustrated. Also, she has been so stuck on “girl LEGOS” thanks to LEGO coming out with LEGO Friends and making pink and purple pieces, that she automatically assumed that the K'NEX are for boys. UGH. This just made me want to throw away all her “girl LEGOS”!!!!!
I love K'NEX because with the rod and connector pieces my kiddos are exposed to a whole different building style. I love that K'NEX has opened a whole new level of creativity in my son, and of course, I love that the K'NEX 618 Pc Tub Building Set is made in the USA!
Disclosure: USA Love List received products in this post unconditionally for review purposes. Our opinions are always our own, and we aim to write fair and balanced reviews to promote only the very best of American-made.
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