We learned of RumbleLab from a fellow homeschooling mom. They had seen something about it online and got in on the first crate. Her son loved it. And, because it is very tinker or maker-oriented in terms of building and designing a creation she immediately thought of our son. So, we got in on the company’s second crate. And, my son loved it immediately. We will be participating in future crates for sure!
Here was our experience. The crate we got was the Crank Slide Pump. It arrived 3 days before the first of the month, which meant we had to wait. The deal with RumbleLab is that you get your kit before the 1st of the month because on the 1st of the month they put up the videos for construction. They have an “I Give UP” or “Last Resort” you can click on to receive step-by-step directions if you need them. Our son loved building via the videos. You then have 15 days to build and start thinking of ideas for re-design during the upcoming challenge phase. On the 15th of the month you get the engineering challenge. The challenge for our kit was to innovate a new way to use the crank slide. The challenge is the chance for imagination and free-build. You can also use a 3D CAD program called OnShape to help you. RumbleLab has some designs on there and they have their own tutorials. OnShape was a bit more difficult to learn, but my son is 9 and had never used a program like it. He enjoyed it. And, we just learned OnShape is available as an app too.
In addition to the fun of creating, RumbleLab added a competition to it. They encourage builders to share their creations on social media. And, they give away prizes for the first built and they have a team that judges the challenge entries for a different prize. Of course you do not have to compete. Our son won the first build and thought that was neat. We didn’t realize the competition side as my son was just excited to build something completely different from what we have done with Tinker Crate and Legos.
Right now it appears that RubmleLab is not a subscription and is not monthly. They appear to release crates every other month. They have a one month window to order the next crate. If it sells out, then you have to wait to the next crate. On May 15th they just opened the order for the next crate. On June 15th, they will close the order and you will receive the crate before the 1st of the build month, which is July for the next crate. This does mean you are purchasing and then waiting a full month. And, they don’t post anything on their website letting you know what the next crate is. It is a surprise until you get the box and you have to wait until the 1st of the month to see the videos.
RumbleLab is perfect for any young builder or inventor. My son is 9 and needed very little adult assistance. I only had to hold it for him 4 times while he was fastening stuff. The videos and photos we saw looked to be of various students ranging in ages from 8 to 14. It could be used with small groups such as an after school club in a traditional school or within scouts (boys or girls). Adding the use of OnShape makes it a great way to learn about designing and planning. In addition, the challenges allow for creativity as well as there is potential to mix these crates with other construction materials such as littlebits or Legos. I know our son is thinking of a way to motorize his challenge creation to take it to another level. The way their website is set up, the previous month’s information is online so it is even possible to reuse or rebuild the original design.