It’s been amazing over the last few years to watch Hexbugs evolve. If you aren’t familiar with them, these are tiny robotic bugs recommended for kids ages 3 and up that can travel through their habitat, which is a track system that children can put together. If the bugs flip over, they can right themselves and keep on moving. Now that Gavin is 4, we are really delving into construction toys and I couldn’t wait to see his reaction. One of the unique features of the Hexbug Nano V2 bugs are that they can actually climb or travel up and down various tubes.
To celebrate the launch of the new Hexbug Nano V2 toys, I was asked by the company to hold a party for friends. They sent us a variety of the new Hexbug Nano V2 play sets and 30 Hexbugs bugs, along with some party ideas for snacks and games. Aside from receiving the toys for free, I was not compensated for this opportunity and did not promise to provide a favorable review.
I invited a few of my friends over for a playdate and the kids got a chance to put together the habitats. At our get together, we had 8 boys that ranged in ages from 2-10, as well as a one-year-old little girl. The boys paired up and picked a habitat to put together. They were given only the directions in the box. Some of the kids had experience with the bugs, but not many of them had experience designing and putting together the track systems.
With so many kids opening packages, there was a lot of excitement and activity in the room, it was sort of like the chaos of Christmas morning in the beginning. The directions included in the packaging are pretty vague, and for the first 30 minutes or so, all 3 of the adults present were needed to help the children orient the pieces and get them started on building. Over time the enthusiasts emerged by persisting on designing new track designs of their own. Certainly younger kids in the 2-4 year old range liked turning the bugs on/off and watching them climb through the system, but in my opinion aren’t equipped for following the directions and putting together the materials to get a functioning set. There are small pieces that we did need to be mindful of having a one year old around related to mouthing and choking. While older kids enjoyed putting the tracks together and admiring their success, it is pretty typical for a 2 or 3 year old to destroy the habitat, so sometimes we’d no sooner get something put together before it would be dismantled which did lead to some frustration. I’d say kids in the 5 and up age range who enjoy building and problem solving are probably most suited for these toys. While the bugs are $7.99 each, the sets range in prices from $20 to $50. The bugs are fun, but can lose their play value quickly unless you purchase some of the sets, or design your own tracks. They do make a fun birthday party theme and gift, this year I’ve listed the Hexbug Nano V2 toys as one of the hottest toys for 2013.
After the party, Gavin and I took some time putting together all of the habitats, using the pictures from the packaging as our guide. At each orange base there are little pieces that can be flipped over to control the flow and direction of the bugs. His favorite part of playing with the Hexbugs was trapping them into various tracks to create traffic jams. Once that happens you do need to take the tubes apart to remove the bugs. Once we really delved into putting them together, there was a lot of problem solving involved because if you don’t close all the gates, certainly the bugs can escape.
When I had asked my friend to come to the party, she told me the story of how their first Hexbug cost their family $150. After moving into a new home there was a vibrating sound coming from one of their pipes. After paying a plumber to visit the house, a rogue Hexbug that had been left on some how got stuck in their pipes, so be sure to keep track of these little buggers!
Visit the Hexbug website for more videos and information, but here are some photos from our party: