Monkey loves building things and recently we’ve been having fun with Real Construction and two of their building sets. The Real Construction Starter Set and Deluxe Workshop Set are aimed at children aged 6 years and over. They offer a real taste of woodworking crafts without the mess.
Monkey’s recently discovered the Beano magazine and he was eager to set to work when he saw the Real Construction set was recently featured.
We began with trying out the Real Construction Starter Set (priced at £9.99) which comes with various wood-like material construction pieces, a small hammer, saw, nails and wood-like material which cuts just like real wood! The instruction leaflet contains instructions for 2 builds, with a further 4 being available online. The materials included in the set will be sufficient to make 3 of the projects.
Monkey decided that he wanted to make the tool box, which also looks like the easiest build, so it seemed like a sensible place to start. The instructions that come with the set are very small and quite hard to read, especially on the more complex builds. We didn’t realise until after we’d built the tool box, that it would be much easier to work from the instructions online.
Measurements are shown in mm and inches, it would be great if a ruler of some sort was included with this set. Monkey wanted to work in mm but struggled to read what the likes of 8.89mm were on our ruler, so a lot of guidance was needed.
The material is like some sort of compacted foam, its firm but flexible and fairly easy to mark with a pen. Once everything was marked out, Monkey could start cutting out the various pieces. We’d recommend working on a board to avoid any scratches to the furniture.
Once all the cutting out was completed it was time for the construction. The main build instructions tell you exactly what boards, rods and nails are required. But the actually step by step guides don’t identify which size nail to use where. It was all guess-work, so again, I think this is an area that could be improved, especially for younger children.
The nails are quite easy to fit, and can actually be pushed into the material as a first fix. The instructions give you guidance on where to fix each nail too. Monkey was having fun with Real Construction and enjoyed completing his first project.
Looking at the Real Construction Deluxe Workshop Set (priced at £24.99), we could see that this set would allow us to look at angles and get to grips with a realistic saw too.
With this set, the enclosed instructions provide details for 4 different builds requiring different levels of expertise, and further 4 builds can be found online. There’s enough material included in the set to make 4 projects. Monkey decided that he wanted to build the Helicopter which is classed as an Expert Build. I’d definitely agree with this, Monkey, at nearly 7 needed a great deal of help with marking and cutting out.
This time around we decided to work with the online instructions, I did spot though that the part numbering doesn’t tie up with the paper instructions which is a bit confusing. That aside, this was a real two-man build with some complex measurements required. It’s a good set for working on developing drawing reading skills and certainly kept Monkey focussed through the build, which we achieved over a couple of days.
Monkey was so impressed with his finished project, it’s certainly larger than I’d expected. It’s been on a number of missions already.
Monkey has loved having fun with Real Construction and the 2 sets we’ve received from Jakks Pacific. They are no mess sets and a good introduction to the skills required for woodworking. I do think the instructions could be improved and I would say you’d probably need to be 8 or 9 to build independently. But that aside, they’re very different from anything Monkey’s tried before and he’s raring to get on with his next project.
disclosure: we were sent the sets mentioned in exchange for an honest review