Meccano – a building/construction toy for children from the age of 3, but it is actually much, much more than that. Today, construction model kits are manufactured for all ages – from the beginner to advanced builders. It is very Educational, can become a Quality Family Time Hobby and it absolutely Relaxes you.
Where does Meccano Come From?
Meccano was founded and patented between 1898 and 1901 by Frank Hornby in England. It was a new toy called “Mechanics Made Easy” and was based on Mechanical Engineering. This model construction kit targeted children to create awareness of and interest in mechanical engineering.
The definition of Meccano is ‘a construction set consisting of miniature metal or plastic parts from which mechanical models can be made’. The word ‘Meccano’ was derived from the phrase ‘Make and Know’.
Parts for the construction kit were initially supplied by outside manufacturers but as demand grew, Frank Hornby set up his own factory. This construction set became so popular that Hornby had established factories in France, Spain and Argentina very soon.
What Does Meccano Sets Consist Of?
All the parts are miniature and the only tools you need to build your project, is a screwdriver and a wrench. The basic construction model kit will consist off the following:
- Reusable Metal Strips
- Angle Girders
- Gears and Pulleys
- Bolts, Nuts & Screws
Depending on the model you choose, your construction kit will also include ‘can’ motors, battery holders, high-performance motors, electric motors etc.
There are plastic kits available for children from 3 years old and metal kits for older children and adults. With the vast selection of designs available, there is definitely something out there for everyone – even glittery pink for girls.
The first construction sets had parts that were rather crudely made: the metal strips and plates had a tinplate finish, were not rounded at the ends and were not very sturdy. Manufacturing improved rapidly and by 1907, the parts were made of a much higher quality material and finished off much better. It now had rounded ends and were nickel-plated. The wheels and gears were machined from brass.
Some of the sets available are:
- Plastic Meccano – Junior
- Pull-back Friction Motor – Junior
- Construction and Agricultural Sets
- Space Sets
- Dynamic Sets
- Action Control Sets with Infrared Controls
- Motion System Range
- Crazy Inventor Range
- Future Master Range
- Meccano Evolution Range
- Meccanoids – Robots
- Formula 1 Cars
- The Ferris Wheel
and there are many, many more.
How is Meccano Educational?
For over 100 years, Meccano has inspired Engineers, Designers, Architects and Creative Minds of all ages. It is based on the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Education and this is important to our children’s future as we are living in a technology age that relies heavily on STEM.
Meccano is the centerpiece of the ‘Mentoring Using Meccano‘ program of School Volunteer Program ACT. Volunteers use Meccano to mentor bright primary school students who need help in improving their communication or social skills, which in return builds students’ self-esteem.
This construction set also helps with the developing of the following;
- Design and technology – structures, mechanisms, control, designing and making skills
- Science – forces, motion, energy, experimental and investigative science
- Maths – number, shape, space and measure
- Cross-curricular requirements – creativity, problem solving, mathematical skills, communication skills
A child’s interest in model building will inevitably originate from construction, as most children are brought up playing with colourful building blocks during their early learning years.
For the younger children, the colourful pieces makes them aware of different shapes, sizes and colour. Fastening the bolts & nuts, also improves their hand and eye co-ordination.
Quality Family Time
Meccano building sets offer a unique experience for young and old alike. A real hands on toy!
This toy can turn into a huge family venture. Each family member has his or her own project to build and sitting around the table on a Sunday afternoon, constructing your toy, is pure bliss. Your children get only one childhood, make it memorable.
Constructing a Meccano project at my house, is very high on our priority list. Children gets comfortable asking for help if they need it. Interaction between parents and children grows enormously and we all laugh at each others mistakes.
We have a ‘special place’ in the house where completed projects – and the builder’s names – are displayed. Something like a trophy cabinet. The children are always proud to show visitors which project they built and that goes with a clear explanation of what it is.
Parents and their children are spending less time interacting with each other. As a result, many children are getting less personal attention than their parents did. American Demographics reported that parents today spend roughly 40 percent less time with their children than parents did a generation ago. Keep in mind, quantity time and quality time are both important when choosing activities.
I think togetherness is a very important ingredient to family life. No amount of money or success can take the place of time spent with your family.
You will be surprised at how calm and relaxed you become while building your own Meccano project, or building a joint venture with your family. Before you know it, the day has gone by. Concentrating and being creative, takes you to a whole new world. You have relaxed conversations with everyone present, help and be helped, and just forget about everything that goes on at the office.
We are all stressed and overworked and we know we have to do something about it. It’s just not always that easy in this busy life we all lead. Trust me if I say Meccano can solve your problem.
Meccano For All
Maybe you think I’m crazy – but believe me – this really works. Who would have ever thought that a toy, created in 1898, to educate children and to get them interested in engineering, could be so much more.
Enjoy building your very own Meccano model!
I hope you found this information interesting. Please feel free to leave any comment or your own review below.
All the best