As my kids have grown up, we’ve encountered a lot of different types of toys, activities, and play systems. Some of them are worth the space they take up; some are not. But the best ones are those that take up very little space but have such open-ended play that they can be used again and again, and carried with you when you go places. My kids are older teens now, so we aren’t in the market for too many toys, but we’re all kids at heart in this house, so we still play with and appreciate some toys (<cough>LEGO<cough>).
Clixo is one such toy, one that takes up little room but has an infinite number of ways to play. It’s a system of shapes with magnetic spots that connect to themselves and each other. You can make shapes, flowers, vehicles, animals, or whatever you like. The Clixo system is available in smaller, medium, or larger sets so you can get the one that’s right for you (and one that can fit in your everyday carry bag). Sets include their Itsy Pack (18 pieces, $29.99), Crew Pack (30 pieces, $44.99), Rainbow Pack (42 pieces, $59.99), Super Rainbow (60 pieces, $89.99), and Rainbow Wheel Combo (72 pieces, $129.99 and includes wheels). If you want three of the Itsy Pack, they have a multi-pack discount for about $75 which includes different colored sets. We received the Crew Pack for review.
The Crew Pack included the 30 pieces, the case, and instructions on how to use it, which also instructional diagrams to build six different creations, plus there were illustrations for a few more. The diagrams were a little hard to decipher for some of the builds, but we got the feel for it pretty quickly. Very young kids will struggle to follow some of the more intricate designs, though, so encourage them to use their own imagination, or be on hand to lend support. In addition to the included instructions, there are tips, tricks, and ideas on the Clixo website, along with challenges to inspire you. People also share their creations in the gallery, and you can register your kit to get additional free bonus content.
Our Crew Pack has some of each of the above types of pieces, other than the wheels, as well as a couple of pieces that allow for rotation, such as in a helicopter rotor. There are pieces that serve as petals or propellers, others that can form the body of a design, and long ones that can be handles or headbands. I recommend starting with the included builds to learn how it all goes together, and then expand your efforts and reach deeper into your imagination.
Clixo is color-coded to make it easy to connect up. You just match the red connectors to the blue connectors and build anything you like. The pieces are quite bendable and twistable, and you can contort them in all kinds of ways. The connectors also have little gear teeth, so they hold in place without spinning around. You can also ratchet them into place. I do wonder if the gear teeth will wear out over time, but they do seem pretty hardy.
The Clixo pieces feel nice in your hands, and can also serve as a fidget toy, if you’re in a situation where a little clickety-clackety noise is okay.
Clixo allows for easy and satisfying tidying up when you’re done playing, because the pieces all just pop together like magnets do, and it all fits in the case it came in. The lid only sort of tucks back in, since you open it a bit like a tissue box pulling off the perforated cardboard top, so you may decide you want to store the Clixo set in another container as time goes on (and you lose the lid), or you can hold the lid on with rubber bands. It does take a little practice to put it away in a way that fits in the case, so I do recommend looking at it before taking it apart for the first time so you can recreate a similar setup for putting it away. (Hint: Take a photo of how it’s in the container when you first open it!)
The Clixo sets are great fun for kids old enough to safely play with magnetic toys, and there’s something for almost every budget. Buy them on Amazon, or check out their website for more build ideas.
Note: I received a sample for review purposes.