The Exploring Machines Set from K’Nex

By | August 12, 2015

Help children learn more advanced concepts of simple machines while having fun – this set will achieve just that. It is the next step after the sets in the K’Nex Simple Machines series and gives the children more advanced models to build. The concepts that children will learn from this set include many STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) skills.

One of the more advanced models in the Exploring Machines Set

One of the more advanced models in the Exploring Machines Set

What do you get in this set?

  • Number of pieces: 1432 pieces, including various gears, wheels and pulleys
  • Number of models: 30 fully-functioning replicas of real-world machines
  • Instructions: instructions for the models are included and a comprehensive teacher’s guide CD
  • Storage: comes packaged in a strong plastic tray with a snap-on lid
  • Suggested age: 14 years and older
  • Amazon customer rating: 4.6 out of 5
  • Price:from $US 122.77
  • Re-play value: very high

Click here to buy this set now

Who is it for?

The set is designed for classroom use and there are enough pieces to allow for up to 4 models to be built at the same time. This also makes it great for use in a home where there is a need to keep a few kids busy at the same time. The children can each build their own separate models (up to 4 of the smaller models) while still working together. The larger models that need more pieces can become a group project that will encourage teamwork and communication.

The models can get quite complex and this is why the set is not recommended for children younger than 14 years of age. However, with some help from a parent or older sibling, younger children will still be able to enjoy this set.

On the downside, there are many duplicate pieces to allow for more than one model to be built at a time. For this reason some people don’t think it makes a good set for using at home and prefer to buy a few of the smaller, more specific sets.

Educational value

An elevator uses pulleys

An elevator uses pulleys

The models in this set are more advanced than those in the Simple Machines series, making this a good next step in a child’s fun learning program. Having fun while learning educational concepts is very beneficial to helping children grasp these sometimes difficult concepts.

The number of pieces means that the set offers a lot of variety and the children are likely to come back to the set again and again for a few years. Combine it with other K’Nex sets and the children will have many ideas to work with and be encouraged to design their own models.


The storage tray is great for storing the pieces, but is not large enough for the assembled models. It will be a good idea to have some re-sealable plastic bags to keep the different pieces in. This makes it a lot easier to find the pieces you need for specific models.


Overall this is a great set for older children and the learning benefits make it worth the investment. Younger children will be better off with the sets in the Simple Machines Series. If you are looking for something similar with even more pieces you can take a look at the Simple Machines Deluxe Set.

Click here to buy this set now

Share you thoughts in the comments below. Do you think it is necessary for parents to buy sets like this to help their children learn STEM skills?

14 thoughts on “The Exploring Machines Set from K’Nex

  1. marnialward

    I liked your site. If I already didn’t have enough clutter in my house, I would buy a K’Nex set for myself. I sure do wish they had this toy when I was raising my son. I think it would have made a huge difference in his ability to imagine and visualize. I think this is a great product. Good luck to you

    1. Lesley Post author

      Building toys have really come a long way in the last few years. There are so many options for children now, almost too many. It can be very confusing for parents to know which sets are worth buying. I am sure that you will find somebody to buy a set for in the future.

  2. Neil

    Cool…. I remember K’Nex as a kid, and I found it just as exciting as lego 😀

    The K’Nex Simple Machine series sounds awesome, and is just the kind of learning toys that kids need these days because they spend far too much time playing on video games, so K’Nex will bring them back to Earth 🙂

    Thanks for the review.


    1. Lesley Post author

      Those video games can really waste a lot of time if they are not monitored. I am pleased that my kids usually prefer the building toys to the video games. I really do like how much they can learn from a set like this. With the importance of developing STEM skills from a young age, this set is a great option to help them learn those skills.

  3. Linda C.

    Now when my boys were younger they would have surely been taken by this ‘builders’ STEM toy.

    I have grandchildren now who sadly are so taken by gaming that I’m not sure they would take the time to get into doing this.

    The larger choice here seems to me that it would be overwhelming. What do you think? Would the K-Nex Simple Machine set be simple enough and yet engaging enough to get a sense of accomplishment that would keep them playing and building?

    You recommend these units for kids 14 and over. Any suggestions for younger tykes, as young as 5 and 6?

    Thanks for taking time to share this info. Pretty cool stuff!


    1. Lesley Post author

      Hi Linda, thanks for stopping by.

      This set is suggested for ages 14 and up due to the more complex models that it contains. Many of the models will be too advanced for kids of 5 and 6 years old. For that age group something from the Simple Machines Range would be a good option. To enable the kids to build larger models you can combine it with one of the basic K’Nex sets. the restriction will be the number of “special” pieces contained in the specialized sets, like the gears, pulleys and wheels.

      I think even gamers can be enticed to build a few models. The sense of accomplishment is a great attraction. The trick is to find a set that is both not too easy and not too challenging.

      I hope you find the right match for the recipient.

  4. ronniem

    STEM skills is a great idea. I had no idea there was a program like that. I definitely think it is a great idea for parents to buy these kind of toys. I would vouch for the anytime over play games on the computer, playstation or TV.
    The involvement of getting the machine set assembled could easily even be good for adult team buildings.

    1. Lesley Post author

      I agree that these types of sets can be great for adult team building.

      I have seen this done in a setup where different teams were given a set each but some pieces were swapped out between the sets. No team had a complete set and all had duplicates. They had to negotiate with other teams to exchange their excess pieces for those that they needed. It was a great challenge!

  5. Kush1000

    Hi there! That’s a nice post you have created here.

    This set is great for children and their development in early age. Great “toy”… will definitely be looking at buying set for my kids in the future.

    I’m sure many people will find this article as useful and interesting as I did.

    Cheers and best of luck to you.

    1. Lesley Post author

      This set goes beyond early age development and is useful through the school years. It will build on and reinforce the concepts they learn in Science, Technology and Maths. Helping children to grasp these essential concepts through play helps them to understand the subject better and could help them to get better grades.

  6. Allen Adkins

    Hi Lesley
    This is a great website I have 8 grandchildren and they all love building with knex.. It is absolutely something that all children can get into and if careful they have something for just about every age. I love the picture it really stands out and makes your site very inviting. Keep up the great work.


    1. Lesley Post author

      Thanks for stopping by Donna.

      It is really great that there are so many different building toys available for children now. Though it does make it a lot more difficult for parents to choose between all the options. I have taken quite a liking to the K’Nex range and the options they offer.

  7. Richard

    When I was a child, I only had Lego’s. I don’t know if K’Nex was around then, but I honestly wish that it was. I could have let my imagination go to a new level with K’Nex.

    You said that the set that you were primarily showcasing was for classroom settings and had a price tag of over $120. Wouldn’t that make it out of the range of possibility for most teachers to purchase?

    I do, however, definitely see the good in having it!

    1. Lesley Post author

      Thanks for stopping by Richard.

      The set does have quite a hefty price tag but is well worth it. In an educational setting, whether for a classroom or for a home-school, it will be used for a number of years. As the children learn new concepts in science, engineering and technology, many of these can be explored using this set. It really is a worthwhile investment to boost the learning experience.


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