With toys, sometimes simple is best: no batteries, no electronics, all kid-powered. Such is Wrecking Ball, the latest addition to SmartLab’s line of award-winning Demolition Lab build-‘em-and-wreck-‘em DE-construction toy sets. Build the five-story school building, then knock it down with the wrecking ball. Simple concept – and that’s where the fun just begins.
First you assemble. Punch out the realistically illustrated wall and roof panels and add the plastic stand-up feet. Each panel depicts part of an abandoned schoolhouse, complete with hazard tape warnings, broken windows and bell tower. Also snap together the wrecking ball crane with extension feet and pre-assembled lever mechanism. Colorful stickers add a finishing touch to the wrecking crane.
Then build the five-story schoolhouse by stacking the walls and roof panels. The stand-up feet make this easy so even the youngest kid can do it without needing delicate “house of cards” dexterity. Add the bell tower on top to finish.
Now for the big moment. Adjust the telescoping arm to aim the wrecking ball so you can strike the building just where you want. Pull back on the handle as the wrecking ball s-l-o-w-l-y swings back and rises up with a dramatic “click-click-click…” Make any last minute fine adjustments, then press the red button to release the wrecking ball. The ball swings down and – kaBLAM!– the panels tumble as the school walls and roof collapse. Classic tension/release play pattern.
Simple enough for any kid. But there’s more: suggestions in the instruction propose other challenges. Can you knock the entire structure down in a single blow? Make other structures and designs to demolish. Try to knock out only certain sections with a controlled swing of the wrecking ball while leaving the rest of the structure intact – kind of a kooky Jenga game. Kids will devise their own games and activities, add action figures and vehicles, improvise Rube Goldberg constructions, etc. What’s nice is the control you have by setting the length of the arm and precise amount of backswing: you can deliver just the right amount of force exactly where you want. And, besides, what kid wouldn’t enjoy a little school-wrecking fantasy this time of year?
Note: Full disclosure: I’ve done design work for Smart Lab in the past but not on this product line – wish I did!
Wrecking Ball Building Kit