I recently had the opportunity to review the Plus-Plus Learn to Build Jewelry kit with my first grader thanks to the Brilliant Minds program. While I did receive reimbursement for my purchase of the kit, all opinions are my own. The short story: the kit was a hit.
What Learn to Build Jewelry Is
Plus-Plus Learn to Build Jewelry ($25) is a STEAM kit with little pieces that are shaped like puzzle pieces. They allow users to create 3-D objects by connecting them together. The set is meant for ages 5+. The pieces are somewhat small, so if you have a child who still likes to put things in their mouth, you might want to skip it. The kit includes 300 glitter and bright pieces and 100 Gold pieces. There’s a white baseplate to help with building, string and elastic for jewelry, and a guide book.
What We Thought of It
Miss 6 loved it. She thought it was a lot of fun to not just string beads but to first construct the pendants for the necklace. For the review, we did the first project in the book. At six she’s mostly able to build the necklace, but needed to be reminded as to how to make a square knot, and needed a little assistance with measuring the string.
This kit is great not only for developing STEM skills, learning how to put things together, and following directions, but it’s also great for developing fine motor skills. Not only did she need to be able to interlock the pieces to build the pendants she made, but she also needed to be able to keep the pieces she’d already put together in place as she added the new ones.
I like, as a parent, that the fun doesn’t end when we finish all the projects in the book. She can create other jewelry items, or she can do some open-ended building. It makes it a versatile STEAM kit, and while some of it is consumable (the strings for making necklaces, bracelets, etc.) the beauty of the toy is that like other building kits, it’s pretty open-ended and limited only by her imagination.
Using It for STEAM Education
As is customary on this blog, I’d like to offer some ideas for extending this kit beyond the lessons in the book and just letting your child explore with it if you’d like to use it in lesson plans or for further exploration.
- Use the puzzle pieces as counters and/or math manipulatives. They can be great for sorting, talking about sets, exploring addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. You can also use them for talking about fractions.
- Create a building/STEAM challenge. Can you build a structure that will support your favorite stuffie? Can you build something that might float?
- Create an activity using the Plus-Plus pieces to make the child’s name or practice spelling words or reading list words.
- Use the Plus-Plus blocks in a measuring activity.
You can purchase the Plus-Plus Learn to Build Jewelry kit on Amazon for $25.