We're always on the look out for toy gears. Over the last couple years I have spotted and/or purchased a handful of gear toys. It turns out that there are toy gears for all ages!
6 Months Old. For the teeny tiny preschool engineers there is a cool rattle with gear-like action! Check out the Schylling Ambi Twin Rattle.
12 Months Old. Sometimes I am reluctant to look at Melissa and Doug stuff just because I like to oppose mainstream stuff. But they deliver time and time again with some great toys. They make a few of these gear puzzles for 12 month olds - a caterpillar, trucks, and butterflies.
3 Years Old. Lakeshore Learning Materials makes some awesome Magnetic Spinning Gears. They are listed for 3 year olds but my 1.5 year old can successfully put two of these on the refrigerator and get them to engage and spin. The magnets are just the right strength for children to easily get each gear on and off a magnetic surface and the spokes of the gears easily engage. It has been fun to watch all the spontaneous gear-work that happens with these toys. Here's a heads-up...be sure the child you buy these for has a magnetic surface to try them on. If his or her parents have a new fancy 'frig then they might not stick! You might want to throw a magnetic board in the cart for good measure.
4 Years Old. Learning Resources makes a few "Gears Gears Gears" sets but our favorite is the Monkey Gears. Like the other sets, the monkey gears come with green bases that snap together (the snap is tight so your kid might need a hand) and a bunch of gears to build a great big machine. What makes the Monkey Gears stand out is that it has a horizontal auger-type gear that, when attached properly, spins; and, as it spins a monkey will move across the bar. The moving monkey is a cool mechanical phenomenon of how a screw works!
Adults. Ok, this one is for you. Kinekt Design makes a pretty sweet-looking piece of jewelry for adults. It has an actual moving gear integrated into a band!
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