The cardboard box was invented in 1817, and for the past 200 years, it's provided endless hours of inspiration, imagination and entertainment for kids. So much so that the cardboard box was named to the the Toy Hall of Fame in 2005.
But you've never played with cardboard quite like this before. Nintendo Labo is a creative building set designed to work with the Nintendo Switch. Open the box, and you've got sheets of cardboard. Each of them relates to a project you can build. You'll need to insert the game cartridge into your Switch to get started, too. The directions walk you through everything you need to do, and one of the truly amazing things you'll find is that you can adjust the view of the instructions as you build to make sure you're doing it right.
Punch out the pieces and follow the instructions. We started with the simplest unit in the Toy-Con set, the R/C car. It takes only a few steps, but putting it together will acclimate you to the process of punching out the cardboard pieces, folding them, and building your models. It took us only a few minutes to do, and we had a vibrating-action R/C vehicle to play with.
Of course, from there, we jumped into the most difficult project in the box--the piano. That took us a good three hours to build. But it was fun! And, of course, that's the whole point. There are so many oh-wow moments in building this--realizing the real genius of the designers and the engineering feat that this is, the fun of building with cardboard, and, of course, watching all the pieces come together.
When you're done, you can play with the models, thanks to the activities that are built in to the cartridge. This does require that you own a Switch. If you don't have one, and you or the kids in your life like to get crafty, this is a reason to get one.
We were a bit skeptical about the idea of buying a box of cardboard pieces. I also have to admit that it's awesome when we can be so mistaken.
This is an extraordinary toy/activity/learning experience. The thinking and innovation that has gone into it blew us away, and while this is completely on trend for the next generation of integrating physical toys with technology, this is easily the most elegant application we've seen yet. It's packed with imagination and fun, and for sure this isn't your great-grandparents' cardboard box.
Nintendo recommends this for ages 6 and up, but some younger children may need a little help with some of the finer folding or placing labels, but that just makes this a more engaging co-play opportunity.
If you can, leave your Switch plugged in to a power source while you're building.
Definitely start with the simpler models so you can get the feel of how to punch out and fold all the pieces.
We absolutely love the way the directions are done on the Switch. They're very clear, but the option of being able to move the images around as you build make it easy to see just how everything fits together.
The process is surprisingly satisfying and engaging. The more complicated sets are time consuming, but it's a lot of fun to see how everything comes together. And then when you add the tech, it's pretty magical.
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