Pros: *Nice carrying bag for the tubes
Cons: *Child can't build
*Not sturdy enough to play in
When is a bargain not a bargain? When you pay only $10.00 for something that was originally priced at $40.00 and you cant imagine even having wasted the $10!
I should have just taken a ten dollar bill and dropped it on the ground rather than having wasted it on the Cranium Super Fort!
I had such high hopes. My daycare children love building forts with sheets and when I saw this *ahem* super fort marked so far down I thought for sure it would be something they would have a great time with. Boy was I wrong. It has managed to do nothing but frustrate them and me!
In the Box
Inside the big rectangular box is 73 pieces. Oh boy, lots of pieces to build our fort with, I thought.
16 yellow bendable foam tubes
6 orange rigid foam tubes
16 magnetic connectors
6 magnetic bases
2 flexible floor panel
3 colored square panels
1 super big panel
1 rectangular panel with porthole
1 Large storage bag
1 Small storage bag
The tubes are similar to the Noodles that children play with in pools, except shorter being approximately 2 feet long. On both ends of the tubes is a plastic piece with a magnet on the end.
The panels are brightly colored plastic pieces that are used to create the rooms from. They vary in size but almost always seem too short for whatever weve built.
The bases and connectors are made of red plastic and have magnets in them for attaching to the foam tubes. The connectors are six sided with a magnet in each of the sides while the bases have a flat bottom and one magnet to attach the tube to.
The red clips are to attach the panels to the tubes and do slip on and off easily. They are a C shape that is easy to use by just pushing them on to the tube.
The two blue carrying cases have handles and Velcro closeures. They are a light canvas material and probably the best thing about this set.
I was really excited to build our first fort last winter. I decided to wait and put it together until after the children arrived because of course they would want to participate in the building. Well, they could sort of participate. They could connect the tubes to magnetic connectors and bases, but as far putting them together in fort building, it really takes a grown-up who can look at and decipher the short instruction sheet. This quad fold paper shows how to put together four different types of forts. There is a ship, castle, spaceship and playhouse. Each picture shows a variation of what can be built and sort of step by step picture instructions of how to build them and a rating of the difficulty as well.
Since the instructions recommends this for children 4 plus, I wasnt disappointed that they couldnt help build our fort and was anxious to watch them have fun in it. Trouble is, everytime they moved, so did the fort. I finally took it down when it just sort of flopped over to one side and was more a pile of tubes and panels than it was a fort.
So, this summer while I have older children with me as well I decided to give our Cranium Super Fort another try. Surely having an almost 7 year old and an almost 6 year old work on it would make all the difference. Well, they could follow my direction a bit better and had some fun building the fort, but play was a whole different thing.
We decided to make it outside and although it wasnt windy even the slightest breeze seemed make it sway to one side or the other. We had a terrible time trying to get the panels to fit the square to make it more of an enclosure rather than just a freestanding square of tubes that were connected together.
We tried several different types of forts but none seemed sturdy enough for the children to really play in. The floor mats have rigid edges to them, but they just slide around when anyone steps on them. If you touch any of the tubes they sway and move throwing the whole thing off balance and the panels just dont go on and stay the way they look in the pictures. After about an hour of messing around with this thing we all agreed that it was time to put it away. The handy carrying bags are great for storage for the tubes. I guess that is the one Pro Ive found with this set. Unfortunately the panels dont fit into the storage bags, so youll need to keep the box to store the entire set in.
How do I hate these? Let me count the ways. They are a major disappointment to young children, are difficult for a child to put together, dont stay standing well enough to be played in, make a flimsy fort.
Okay, so the idea of these is great. If it had worked I think my daycare group, ages 2 7, would have had a fantastic time with it, but with the way they just sort of topple if touched this is a very disappointing toy for young children and a very frustrating toy for their caregivers too.
I cant rate lower than one star but if I could I think Id give this set a minus rating. It wasnt a bargain at $10 and I just cannot imagine how I would feel had I spent the $40 they were originally priced at. It would have gone back to the store that is for sure!