STEM toys will be very popular for Christmas this year. Hexbugs started by making small bug-like toys that moved and are typically much smaller than this. However, Hexbug has started making bigger and more advanced toys in order to attract older boys and girls.
Hexbug Vex Robotics – Strandbeast is a STEM-inspired robot that has over 400 pieces and 7 electronic elements. The box says that it is for ages 8 and above. It is a giant marching robot with 8 legs that requires 3 AAA batteries to move. You need to assemble it yourself, but no tools are required, and the pieces snap together. It has an LED module, interactive tech, brain, and snap pieces, gears, gear linkages, and motors.
My first impression of the Strandbeast was that I was super excited to open it up and assemble it. Playing with this looked extremely fun, and the box said no tools required and easy assembly. However, once I opened the package, I found that some of the pieces were very similar to each other, the instruction manual was difficult to follow, and there were even some steps that were wrong. This is not a toy that can be put together by any 8 year olds that I know. Parental help is a must if you want to build this robot. I spent many frustrating hours trying to build this.
Overall, I feel that this Hexbug robot is too difficult to build for ages 8 and above. It should be rated something like ages 14 and above. It looks like a cool toy for kids that have a lot of patience and are very good at building things like complicated Lego sets. The instruction manual needs to be redone because it is only pictures, and the pictures are not clear in many steps.