K’NEX was invented in 1993 by Joel Glickman as a construction system consisting of interlocking plastic rods, connectors, gears, wheels and components that are assembled to form a variety of structures, from machines to architectural structures.
Although Glickman initially tried to distribute his creation through some of the largest toy companies: Mattel, Lego and Hasbro turned him down. It was Toys R US the company that encouraged Glickman to form his own company. The first K’NEX shipment went out to Toys R Us in October of 1992.
Today, K’NEX is distributed in more than 25 countries around the world.
This building system is geared at children 5 to 12 years old and the instructions are color-coded so they are very easy to follow.
K’NEX has a variety of licensed brands including Battle Tech/Mech Warrior sets, Sesame Street and Mario Kart Wii Building sets with buildable karts, trucks and even the same obstacles as in the Wii games: mushrooms, bullet bills, chain chomps, thwomps and goombas. The brand also has licensing agreements with NASCAR®, Family Guy TM , Monster Jam®, Pac-Man and the Ghostly Adventures TM .
All K’NEX products are educational in nature, but the company also has a line specifically designed for use in the classroom from preschool to high school, including sets to build simple machines, DNA models and geometry tools to name a few.
K’NEX building systems are based on the same concept with different levels of complexities. The building systems consist of rods and connectors that assemble together and can be combined with other parts such as pulleys and wheels.
Until 2001, the company did not have licensing agreements with other brands, but that year K’NEX introduced its first licensed brand, the Battle Tech/Mech Warrior. Today, the K’NEX family of brands include popular brands like PacMan, Tinkertoy®, Lincoln Logs, Angry Birds, Super Mario, Mario Kart 7.
K’NEX also has expanded its line of products to include K’NEX Building Sets, K’NEX Education and K’NEX Thrill Rides.
The K’NEX educational sets expand from toys directed at preschool aged children with themes such as transportation, organisms and lifecycles to Biology, Math and Geometry sets for older children. The Physical Science sets include solar energy products, wind and water energy and a set with a focus on Newton’s Laws.
K’NEX products are manufactured in the company’s manufacturing facility in Pennsylvania at The Rodon Group® ecofriendly facility. Both companies are members of American Made Matters®, an association that educates U.S consumers about the importance of buying nationally manufactured products. K’NEX and Rodon are also family owned and operated.
Building sets offer endless possibilities for creative play. We love K’NEX because the many different components of the sets, with wheels, pulleys, panels, spacers, gears, bricks and other pieces, provide kids the opportunity to build a multitude of moving structures, including roller coasters.
The diversity of K’NEX sets is such that the U.S. Space and Rocket Center holds a Guinness Book of World Records Award for the World’s Largest K’NEX Sculpture.
For its great variety of toys, its compromise with education and the endless possibilities it offers, we give K’NEX five stars out of five.
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