A wooden frame surrounds a white magnetic board, where the eight magnets and gears can be placed. The set includes five double-sided templates, each color coded so the corresponding magnet can be placed accordingly, if so desired.
The eight plastic gears, each brightly colored, are made to be placed over the magnetic peg. The peg itself is plastic, but has a magnet at the base, allowing the peg to be placed on the board. After setting up the magnetic pegs, the gears can be added and interlocked to create a moving simple machine.
Aside from the sense of satisfaction a child can receive after creating a functioning simple machine, they can also improve their dexterity, problem-solving skills, and increase a basic sense of cause-and-effect.
Dexterity is improved as a child places magnetic pegs onto the board, followed by placing plastic gears onto the pegs. Fitting the gears together creates a machine that moves all gears via the manipulation of one gear.
Children can decide to set up the gears according to one of the included templates, or place the magnets and gears on the board free-style. This open-ended type of play allows for a greater use of their imagination.
Users reported, overall, a fairly positive review of the Gear Board. Ideal for children over two, connecting the gears successfully can help with a child’s ability to problem-solve, while thinking through how one gear will affect the others can improve their cause-and-effect.
Placing the pegs, and subsequently placing the gears over the pegs, requires hand-eye-coordination and can help improve dexterity.
Single-sized gears allow for limited gear combinations, and a few users expressed interest in seeing a toy that had more possibilities in this regard.
Because the gears do not really click, grip, or connect tightly to the pegs, the toy cannot be used on a vertical surface, such as a fridge door.
- Wiped down with a damp cloth.
- Gears can be washed in warm water and mild soap.
For more in-depth information on how to clean this type of toy, please see our blog, The Cleaning Guide for Toys.
Parts and Pieces
We could not find any information as to where to purchase replacement gears. However, Melissa and Doug have a good reputation for customer service, so we have listed their contact information.
Melissa & Doug Customer Service: (800) 718-5365 M-Th 7am - 6pm Eastern or on Friday 7am-5pm EST.
Consumer Questions/Comments: Service@MelissaAndDoug.com
We noticed several reports of the magnets falling coming off the pegs, creating a potential choking hazard. Additionally, if the magnets are lost, the toy is rather difficult to play with. Some users were able to glue the magnets back onto the pegs, but this was uniformly met with success, and a variety of glues may need to be used.