Meccano M.A.X – Robot Toy that You Build, Code & Play
A big thank you to Spin Master Meccano M.A.X who is a sponsor of Kids Activities. As you will see, we had a lot of fun with M.A.X and can’t wait to see how he learns and changes as we play. All opinions are mine.
Meccano M.A.X is a STEM toy that will be hot this holiday season…is it worth $120?
Watch our experience unboxing, assembling, coding and playing with this robot to find out.
It comes with a large step-by-step instruction book and over 300 pieces.
Rhett (11 years old) is an avid builder and took on the task of putting M.A.X together.
The suggested age on M.A.X is 10+. For the building, that seems really on-target unless you have a master-builder who is a bit younger. For the coding and play, you could probably go a little younger with an interested kid.
Rhett follows directions very specifically and he built the robot in a little over 3 hours.
Once he was put together, there are a few simple steps to awaken M.A.X and start the coding process.
We started the coding process on the computer, but found that the iPad process is much more intuitive and user-friendly.
Rhett started by coding a little routine for M.A.X:
- M.A.X’s display would read “WOW”.
- The robot then moved forward a few inches.
- M.A.X then turned around fully.
- The LED display then flashed “BYE”.
This took him about 10 minutes to complete to where he was satisfied with the results.
As a parent, one of the things I love about kids learning to code is how tied it is to sequencing. Breaking down each action into tiny programmable steps. With M.A.X, there is instant feedback. For instance, the first few times M.A.X didn’t turn completely around like Rhett thought he should with the instructions he had inputted. After some trial and error (with M.A.X getting a little dizzy), he figured out where the error was in the process.
This aligns so well with the basics of STEM play. Rhett started with an idea, figured out how to apply his knowledge to creating the steps and then testing and re-testing the results with logic. I can see applications for this beyond the home due to the limitless boundaries of coding M.A.X.
And then we played with M.A.X.
M.A.X is a nut. He is out-going, funny, persistent, silly, engaging and so much more. I am a skeptic when it comes to “artificial” engagement with kids. I cringe when a kid’s TV program asks a question or gives a command and then pauses to let the kids comply. My kids just never did that resulting in an awkward silence. We have had toys in the past that were supposedly interactive, but were really predictable and boring. M.A.X is different. I don’t know how they did it, but he is quirky in an endearing way that had us all giggling.
M.A.X has the ability to learn from interaction so no two will be the same after play. He also has a variety of built-in games and activities controlled through voice commands and the buttons on M.A.X’s Mecca-Brain.
Some of the things he can do is to make a delivery, go on patrol, remind you of something, tell a joke, play a game, dance (he really likes to dance), tell your future, challenge your intelligence and give random thoughts.
As a parent, the biggest question for me is the price vs. play potential. This was simple in this case because not only was the building process fun, there are tons of things to explore with M.A.X in future.
We really love M.A.X.