Saturday, 18 June 2011

Review: Meccano

Available from all good toy shops...and probably some bad ones too.

The only time I've ever really played with Meccano was at school when I was around 10 or 11. One afternoon each week we'd split into groups to do various activities - baking, board games, Lego, or (drum roll) Meccano!

The brief with the Meccano was to build something related to whatever topic we were currently studying. One (term/week/day - really can't remember which) the topic was 'flight' (or something similar. It was a long time ago!), but one boy decided what he'd actually quite like to build that afternoon was a car. When someone pointed out that the teacher wasn't going to be very happy, he quickly added some helicopter blades to the top.

The teacher, not being a complete idiot, spotted that the boy had completely ignored her instructions and was indeed not very happy.

On Fridays there was assembly which the entire school attended, and for some reason Class 4 always took whatever they'd built that week into assembly to show everyone. Of course the boy took his helicopter-car.

Assembly was being lead by the headteacher. The boy stood at the front, held up his car and showed everyone. The headteacher LOVED it. 'I wish I had a helicopter mode for my car for when I was stuck in traffic jams,' she cried in delight.

This tale doesn't really have anything to do with the sets that Meccano kindly sent out to us to try out, but it has amused me for two decades so I thought I'd share.

The goods are divided
Testing out the goods are Bumblebee (yellow, aged 4) and Luke (blue, aged 2), and a baby. None of whom are in the intended '5+' category, but that didn't stop us having a lot of fun.

After an enthusiastic disagreement over who got which screwdriver (there was an identical red one in each set we were given, but that didn't stop both boys wanting the same one), there was a little confusion over what to do. Bumblebee went straight to the instructions, but was a little confused.

Baby fared even worse...

Mmm, tasty.
Before the children really got anywhere with the Meccano they were called for bathtime, during which I was 'volunteered' to sit by the bath and build the models for them. After this they got the idea of what exactly all the little bits were for and the next morning I came downstairs to find this...

Both boys have been fiddling with the Meccano and building their own models ever since. I've also been finding screws around the place ever since too.

A reminder of my lovely summer job building microwaves.
The boys are too young to do some of the more fiddly bits in the instructions by themselves, but those are perfect builds to do with an adult (I believe it's called 'quality time') and they were more than capable of making their own, simpler, models by themselves.

I say 'simpler' but I actually prefer these models to the instructed ones as the children are using that now chiefly underused item in these days of computer games: 'imagination'.

All the Meccano combined.
Don't be fooled - despite sitting, posing with the screwdriver, this boy did not make this car.


  1. I love the pic of Bumblebees confused face and the meccano eating baby!
    I'm also very jealous that your meccano set is motorised!

  2. Just in case anyone is about to report me to social services, it must be pointed out I only gave her the big bits to eat!