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Best Ways to Introduce TECHNIC / POWER FUNCTIONS to Your Children

herekittykittyherekittykitty Member Posts: 122
edited July 2012 in Collecting
Apologies if this is in the wrong place, I put it here because I am looking for advice with what to buy.

My daughter just turnd six years old and is attending Lego camp this week (Jedi Engineering put on by Play-Well, Org.). They used some power function stuff today to build things (mostly just windmill looking things, gotta start somewhere, right). I am thinking it would be beneficial for her to have some of this stuff at home, but I am not sure what to start with. I don't want to go hog wild, and I can't spend more than about $80-100 - if she uses it lots, we will add to it later.

So I would like to get a starter power functions motor/battery set, and it looks like 8293 is good for that. Does it make sense to get a second motor and battery box? Can one battery power more than one motor? Do I need extra cables? Does the Lego stores carry these pieces or are they online only?

I also want to get her some beginning technic pieces. Whatever little bit we have is part of bigger sets (aka my sets) that I don't wante to mix up, so assume we have none. What set(s) would give her a decent selection of pieces, with the most bang for my buck? I don't raally care so much about what the set itself builds, more what would give her pieces to play around with.

We have tons of regular bricks and some wheels, but more wheels wouldn't be bad. I expect her to build mostly windmill type things to start, and she said she wants to make a car for her Lego friends that she can drive them in( so maybe I need a remote too, corded is fine, but I could get that later, too).

On a side note, there are 20 kids in this camp. Guess how many girls? One. For all that Lego is a gender neutral toy, that doesn't seem to translate to six years old camps.

Thank you for any advice :)


  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,364
    The battery packs can power up to for of the smaller motors.

    If you are used to Lego / technic and willing to help her build, I'd buy parts on bricklink rather than a specific set. Plan a few things to get her started and see where she goes from there.
  • herekittykittyherekittykitty Member Posts: 122
    I'm absolutely willing to help her and I am used to Lego but not to technic, so I don't really know what pieces to look for. That's why I was thinking a set of some sort would be good to start out with, and then I can supplement once we figure out we need more of a certain kind.

    If someone has a basic list of pieces, I can certainly start with the brick link route though, it's just that I'm not sure where to start.
  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,272
    edited July 2012
    Honestly since you aren't that familiar with it yourself, I would probably suggest trying to pick up a used technic set that has the power functions items in it so you can get an idea of how all the technic stuff works together and decide after that if you want to order more individual parts to build something specific with. Just getting a battery and motor with controller isn't useful unless you have the parts already to create drive gearing etc. Unfortunately most of the powered sets seem to be trucks/construction type stuff and I'm not sure how much the initial build would interest your daughter but they are still pretty fantastic in showing some of the things you can do with the power stuff. But at least with a full set you'll have a good set of parts to build gearing for your own creations mixed in with your other bricks.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,364
    I agree with the above if you are not familiar with technic. Or alternatively, download a few instruction manuals from and have a look how they work to see if you are up to it / interested in it. I often build things in my head using their instructions!
  • tamamahmtamamahm Member Posts: 1,985
    One of the sets from the first year of the master builder line focuses on technic. I think it is the last of the first six, so that may not help for now.
  • herekittykittyherekittykitty Member Posts: 122
    Is there a particular set or sets you guys would recommend looking for used? Cars or rather vehicles are fine, she likes that stuff and if it gave us something to learn from then we could adapt into other things.

    I worked my way over to the Lego education site, and that stuff is way cool, but I am having a hard time figuring out what sets you would start out with.

    Like this seems very nice, tough it's more than I had planned to spend right now:

  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,272
    I'm not sure what smaller sets there are that have the power function stuff but the larger ones like the Unimog or Excavator would be out of your price range as well probably and those are really the only two I'm familiar with.
  • herekittykittyherekittykitty Member Posts: 122
    edited July 2012
    Aaaaand this is where I show my ignorance. (I'm good with the modulars, I'm good with creator and city stuff, my husband knows star wars backwards so some of that has rubbed off, but apparently power functions makes my head spin, pardon the pun!)

    Would one of the train sets give us a decent intro? We had talked about getting the yellow cargo train for the family pre-Christmas anyway (our son is obsessed with trains). If that is the case, I may just get the motor set and a small technic set now (she can learn more about technic that way, and also make some super simple windmill type things, no gears needed), we can learn more with the train set, and then get something bigger or more parts or one of the Lego education sets for Christmas or next year.

    Thank you for all the input, I really appreciate it.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,364
    The trains can use PF, but they just drive the wheels. There is not much else to it. You can get the IR controller too for them.

    Technic is more fun since you can start playing with gears and so on.

  • graphitegraphite USMember Posts: 3,272
    Yeah, the trains wont really give you a good idea. Emerald night is the only train that is true Power functions and even that is a limited idea of what it can do.
  • dsdg88dsdg88 Member Posts: 133
    Take a look at
  • tamamahmtamamahm Member Posts: 1,985
    I read your initial thread wrong. I thought you needed these right away because of the class. That is what I get for skimming.

    Okay, my sales ad for Master builder.

    I would try Master Builder with her. This will not give you power bricks, but it will teach her a number of skills and techniques. Set six is the car set, and that is the one with a few technic pieces. The three car build each showcase a small technic aspect to it. I thought the info and direction for this set was very nice, and my son was able to take what he learned and create his own small model with technic pieces. What is also nice is that one of the sets is creature design, which really deals a ton with various hinged type pieces. There are micro-builds, and rocket ships. Each set has a variety of builds, and the overall year was a wide theme range.

    Even, though, you have a bunch of bricks, this really helps with those wide variety of techniques. My son absolutely loves this, it is spaced throughout the year, and she may really get far more out of it than simply buying a technic set, since that first Master Builder year really covers so much more.

    IMHO, the nice technic models are often not as fun for the younger age group to build, and are not as intuitive. My son is a bit younger, at 5, but I have found that at 4 and 5, while he could build with large models with technic via directions, it just wasn't very intuitive. It really took a set 6 to make it far more intuitive.

    If you aren't interested in that, then Based on that last paragraph, I would look for the smallest kit possible with only 1-2 small technic features. Small features are for more understandable and more easily replicated and modified when they do their own designs. That is what I really got out Of watching my son with those technic elements in set 6. I just don't know enough about the technic models out there to state what set fits that advice.

  • AnnkanAnnkan CaliforniaMember Posts: 3
    Almost 5 years later, any update to the original poster's question? I am almost in the exact same situation with my boy turning 6. He has some experience with gearing from Lego Crazy Contraptions and has been asking about motorized sets. The Master Builder series seems discontinued. I prefer to buy a new set rather than to search for used. Have seen the WeDo starter set via Lego education, but do not know if that is overkill. Thanks!
  • AnnkanAnnkan CaliforniaMember Posts: 3
    My concerns around WeDo 2.0 core set is that there seems to be a lot of reliance on the tablet interface to get projects to do something. I would like that he can make projects without the tablet interface, though happy to help him do some with the tablet as well. Also it is unclear to me how instructions for projects are presented. Only through a tablet/computer or also on paper?  I welcome your comments on this set as well as the "Simple and Powered Machines" set, which does not seem to have any computer interface.
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,758
    If he has any technic/system technic, just get a battery box and motor/s. If you want, add in an IR Reciever and remote, so he can make RC stuff.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 20,364
    I'd still go for an entry level technic kit. The best way to learn is to do.
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 1,765
    This thread reminded me that I have a Mindstorms NXT 2.0 set that I had only briefly played with when I picked it up a year or so ago. I broke it out Friday night to investigate and found that the NXT has Bluetooth connectivity. I threw together the tracked vehicle in the instructions, downloaded a controller app from the Play Store, and now have a nice little remote-control tank. It is possible to program the NXT directly on the NXT controller brick, and there is a USB interface to connect to a PC for programming as well.
  • LyichirLyichir United StatesMember Posts: 978
    edited February 2017
    Since no one else seems to have mentioned it, Bionicle can be a great gateway to more challenging Technic builds. The colorful characters can be very appealing to younger kids, while the action figure builds snap together fairly quickly and introduce simple Technic assembly methods and gear functions. You can even follow those up with some more complex Technic vehicles for them to ride—while unfortunately the recent reboot of the theme didn't ever include any vehicles (unlike the original theme), I've seen some great examples of builders posing Bionicle or Star Wars figures on mid-size Technic motorcycle sets.
  • BooTheMightyHamsterBooTheMightyHamster Northern edge of London, just before the dragons...Member Posts: 1,463

    I'd suggest a couple of the smaller Technic sets, just to get a feel for studless building, the different types of connecting pin and so forth.  At that point, have a look around for either a set that comes with Power functions included, or one that can be upgraded.  These do tend to be at the expensive end of the scale though.

    So for example, of the sets that came out last year, the CLAAS XERION Tractor is a superb set, with some remarkable features, both manual and powered.  I'd say, however, that it might be a bit ambitious for someone just starting out.

    The Drag Racer on the other hand is a little cheaper and somewhat simpler.  The functions are all manual, but it does give the option of being upgraded with power functions at a later date, so more of a gradual introduction.

    And it's a Drag Racer, which is going to appeal to most 6 year-old boys!
  • AnnkanAnnkan CaliforniaMember Posts: 3
    Thanks for all the input so far! We are going the route suggested by @BooTheMightyHamster .. pull back racer and maybe the power functions motor.
  • koshkakoshka UK/SwedenMember Posts: 193
    A couple of random things depending on what you already have to hand. There's a video somewhere online for motorizing Wall-E. That might be fun if you watch the movie first. I tried the Technic 4x4 Crawler with my son when he was 6 and he just found it too fiddly. He's nearly 9 now and showing more interest again so I think that we'll either do the Claas Xerion or the Bucket Wheel Excavator.

    With regards to buying PF parts I'm not sure that 8293 is particularly great value unless you want those exact parts. Bricklink or [email protected] is probably a better bet. I've picked up a few individual PF parts in store but the availability has been variable.
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