The summer boredom had set in, and the kids were driving me batty. “Can we have screens? Mama, can you take us to X,Y, or Z? Can I do something dangerous?” And then the Vex arrived. Hexbugs have always been a hit in our house, and now the company has innovated for older kids (and parents!). Exclusively from HEXBUG comes the VEX Robotic Arm – a completely functional construction kit inspired by real industrial robot arms.

Vex armOn a particularly busy day when I offered to have a third boy over for a playdate, I pulled out the box with a twinkle in my eye. ‘Think you guys can build this?” The kids were delighted. Building the robot occupied them for at least 2 hours, and many scientific principles were explored. They figured out the gears, power-transfer and pieced together the STEM-based kit. The smaller pieces needed much dexterity, and seeing the three of them working together as a team to figure out concepts usually reserved for school was so satisfying.

In the end: it was nirvana. The arm can pick up and relocate items using four degrees of freedom and an articulated grabber hand. The whole crane can rotate 360 degrees, allowing this miniature robot to perform the complex actions of its real life counterpart. Seriously! (And I am trying so hard not to make a Big Bang Theory reference here in case you’ve not seen the episode about the robotic hand..)

VEX roboticsThe VEX robotic arm is by far one of the most advanced toys I have seen, and I look forward to playing with it when the grandparents come. It can span many generations, and it’s not only the scientists and robotics scholars who will want to put every bit together and explore the mechanics.

Disclaimer:  The reviewer has been compensated in the form of a Best Buy Gift Card and/or received the product/service at a reduced price or for free.