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Parents' Stories

“Daddy, can I have a Rippin’ Rocket Roller Coaster?”

7 years later, I distinctly remember this request of our then 6 year old son Alex. The delivery of his question came with great purpose and clarity. It took me by surprise you see, Alex is Autistic.

What happened next is the stuff of screen plays and inspirational after school specials. We purchased said Rippin Rocket and brought it home. At first I tried and failed to help Alex assemble the Rippin Rocket. They next day, Alex is back at work in our playroom with no directions, only looking at the box, he builds a functioning Rippin Rocket an about 2 hours. My wife and I were so excited for him and so proud. That day began what has been a 7 year love affair with K’NEX and Alex.

Read more about Alex

For Andrew Babala, K’NEX is Not Just a Toy

Andrew began playing with Kid K’NEX when he was 3 years old.  We were excited that Andrew had found something that he could build and follow the directions all by himself.  Andrew couldn’t yet read, but because the K’NEX directions are all pictures, he was easily able to follow the directions and was able to feel great accomplishment by building things on his own.  At 4 yrs old, he started building with his older brother’s LightUp multi-model K’NEX set, building windmills, helicopters and swing sets that moved.  Once he started building models that could move, he was so motivated to build more and more models.  At 5 yrs, he moved on to roller coasters, building the Junior Screamin’ Serpent with little help.  Our house regularly looked like a complete amusement park.  Initially he only built things following the exact directions, but before long he began getting more creative and would come home from local fairs and build rides based on what he saw. 

Read more about Andrew

Building with K’NEX since 1992!

Roger R. is 27 years old. He is a developmentally disabled adult that has been dealing with seizures since he was 6 months old.
When he was a child, his parents ran a carnival with about 20 rides. He has always been fascinated with the carnival rides, their operation, and their construction. He remembers intricate details of every ride, and adds these details to the rides he builds with K’NEX. The detailing of the rides that Roger builds with KNEX is something that would rival the complexity of contest entries. The rides spin and move, and are often interconnected in their function and operation. He has been building with K’NEX since they came out in 1992. He found they offered him better flexibility and greater complexity than tinker toys or erector sets. He makes and spends his own money on K’NEX and wants to save up for a KNEX motor that he can use to power his Scrambler. 

Read more about Roger…

Melissa & Matthew Epstein, becoming a K’NEXpert runs in the family!

Matthew began to build with K’NEX when he was 5 years old.  His preschool teacher suggested that he play with them as a way of increasing fine motor skills, and to help with neuropathway development. He breezed through the vehicle kits, and wanted to build the larger models like the Big Ball Factory and the Original Roller Coaster. 

In 2005, he and a friend were looking for parts on the K’NEX website, and found the K’NEXpert Contest notice.  They began to build a life sized robot, but did not enter it in the contest.  In 2006, Matthew built his Breezy All Terrain Vehicle, and was chosen as a semi-finalist in the contest.

Learn more about Melissa and Matthew's story...

Sharing Holiday Traditions from the K'NEX Family

For the past 20 years, K’NEX has been owned & operated by the Glickman family and are deeply rooted in tradition. We consider our fans to be part of our family and as we celebrate the upcoming holidays, we’d like to share some K’NEX family traditions with you.

The Great Outdoors

Since the kids were little, we have started the tradition of going to a tree farm near our house and cutting down our own Christmas tree.  The outing includes a hayride pulled by a tractor to get us out to the fields where the trees are planted.  It's fun to take this ride with other families with children; taking pictures and watching the kids from infants to teenagers participate in the search for the perfect tree.  Once the tree is found, Eric saws it down and hauls it to a waiting wagon to be sent back to the farm and wrapped for the trip home.  We take another wagon ride back to the farm and enjoy roasting marshmallows over an open fire and drinking apple cider. 
Eric H., 15 Years at K’NEX and 
Holly H., 13 Years at K’NEX

Very Lucky Little Girls

I grew up in a home with two sisters and a father we adored and who adored us back. We also all adored Christmas and I have lots of memories of little traditions and family gatherings.  One that remains very special to me is Christmas morning. We lived in a row home in Philadelphia with a stairway that lead right down into the living room, which is exactly where the Christmas tree was located. From as early as we could get out of bed ourselves and walk, my sisters and I knew that we couldn’t go down those stairs and rush to the tree without first waking up my parents. And, to take it a step further, my father first had to go downstairs, turn on all the Christmas lights and start the Christmas music.  My sisters and I would sit at the top of the steps in our new Christmas pajamas giggling and calling down to him to “hurry up!” But of course, the more we told him to hurry, the slower he went, making comments like “wow, look what Santa left!”.  Of course, he wasn’t going very slowly at all, but we were dying. But we loved it too because it was all part of what we did Christmas morning.    Finally, when we were allowed we would rush down the stairs.  But we didn’t go to the tree. We went to the nativity my Mom had set up and said a prayer.  According to my mom, my older sister Michele and I started this when we were very little and then younger sister Kristin joined in when she was old enough.  Obviously my mom loved this part of the tradition!   But THEN, we rushed to the tree and ripped open our presents. In the beginning when it was dolls and Barbies, we would hold them up and dad would take our picture. Then it moved on to clothes and hats and scarves which of course we had to try right on. And dad took our picture. We have lots of very unflattering pictures from Christmas morning! But we love them.  After gift unwrapping, we would move to the kitchen and dad would cook up scrambled eggs, bacon and toast. We would all sit around, eat, laugh and talk.   I love those memories and my sisters and I still, every Christmas when we’re together, talk about Christmas morning when we were little.  
Jacqui G., 10 Years at K’NEX

Santa in a Small Town

When I was a child I lived in a small town, and of course Santa was very important during the holidays.  He visited my school, arriving on a sleigh.  He of course was at the department store, which we had to go 20 miles to get to, so it was a really big deal.  And, he came to our house on Christmas Eve – really came to the house while we were still awake bringing in the presents that my parents left on the outside doorstep.  So we were pretty sold on Santa being real.  But to make it even more convincing, because it was a small town, the same man played Santa at all of these events.  I can’t remember how old I was before I learned that it was my parents’ friend, George, but I was a believer for a long time. 
Ruth T., 1 Year at K’NEX


Meet Our Blogger of the Month – Julee Morrison

Just the Basics…
Name:  Katie Sexton
Blog Name:Mommy Katie
URL: www.mommykatie.com

Five quick questions…

When did you start blogging
A little over a year ago.

What role does your family play in your blog?
They inspire me when I write my posts and they also assist with testing the products I receive for review.

What are some of your favorite family activities?
We love to be outdoors and one of our favorite things to do is camping. We love to get away for a couple of days and just enjoy the outdoors, from hiking to fishing to cooking over the campfire at night.

What advice would you share with new or aspiring bloggers?
Be you, be real, and with that you can really make a connection with your readers!

What is your best parenting tip?
Put a lock on the toilet so you never have to hear yourself say, "Don't throw the cat in the toilet"!


Meet Our Blogger of the Month – Kim Grabinski

Just the Basics…
Name:  Kim Grabinski
Blog Name:  What’s That Smell?
URL: http://accidentalmommies.com

Five quick questions…

Why did you start blogging?
As a way to document and share our adventures raising kids and capture moments and experiences along the way.

What role does your family play in your blog?
They end up in a lot of photographs! 

What are some of your favorite family activities?
We enjoy board games as a family and my kids and I like to play Wii together (well, they like to beat me at the games).  Now that our kids are getting older we enjoy going new places, local traveling, berry farms, that kind of thing.

What advice would you share with new or aspiring bloggers?
Be real.  Be honest.  Be all you.  And wear fun hats.

What is your best parenting tip?
Sometimes cereal CAN be for dinner. 


Judd & Wesley Foster: K'NEX Fans!

Judd received his very first K'NEX 15 Model Building Set from one of his friends on his 5th birthday. Judd was a builder ever since he was able to pick up wooden blocks. He loved to create buildings, cities, ships, vehicles, machines – you name it! When he started working with the 15 model K'NEX set, he zipped through the instruction booklet and built everything in it. After that, he was fascinated with the K'NEX rods and connectors and with how they could help him create his wonderful works of art. He worked with the pieces most all of the time, building his own contraptions and creations.

Learn more about Judd and Wesley's story...


Facebook Fans Share Inspiring K'NEX Stories 
Parents of K'NEX fans have shared some heartwarming stories on our Facebook page. In an effort to share them with a wider audience we're sharing two of our favorite recent stories here. We'd love to read and share stories of how K'NEX touched your children's lives. Feel free to post your stories on our Facebook page or send them to ParentStories@knex.com.

From Lucille: "KNEX has been a great creative toy for my son with autism - he loves playing with them. He is now 13 and has a huge bucket of them next to his bed at all times!"

From Maureen: "Combining K'NEX with Monster Jam was my 5 year old son's dream come true. We got him Grave Digger and he took it everywhere. Our 2 year old son recently suffered severe burns in a campfire on 7/4 and we were so proud of our 5 year old when he gave his Grave Digger to his brother in the hospital so he could 'feel better.'"



We Asked, You Answered: Keeping Kids Engaged on School Breaks

We asked some of our favorite blogging moms about how they keep their kids engaged on school vacations and they answered! Check out their tips for keeping kids inquisitive, active and mentally engaged when school is out. 

WE ASKED: What activities did you use to keep your kids engaged, active and learning during the summer months?

YOU ANSWERED:
"I am a HUGE fan of workbooks - so when my kids are not in day camp- once they get home and eat their snacks- they get to choose from a stack of different workbooks- and we play school time - or more aptly my nine year old schools her five year old brother on the merits of learning to sit at a desk and practice being a first grader. I'll put on some music in the background (my kids take turns choosing their favorite tunes) and I let them get to work; whether it's digging into math problems, working on their penmanship or reading comprehension. Of course, my son who is determined to be an architect- after his workbook time- can spend HOURS and I mean hours constructing cities from his K'NEX toys and weave elaborate tales of the goings-on within these imaginary cities. As far as I'm concerned is all a part of the learning process- and I'm happy to let him build for as long as he likes. In fact my daughter even gets on the floor and will help him ... when he "lets" her!"
- Melissa, Kids In The City 

"Camping is a great activity to keep them engaged, active and learning. The opportunities we have to learn new things during camping are incredible. The kids go fishing with dad regularly, we had the privilege of seeing a turtle lay her eggs one spring and this year we were met face-to-face with brand new baby robins and then saw the birds again 10 days later when they were grown up and ready to leave the nest. We always combine our trips with learning experience as we home school the kids. Every year we also go blueberry picking and we have a blast doing so in August."
- Isabelle, Canadian Ladybug Reviews 

"We do all kinds of stuff! We have what is called a 'Yes Jar' with all kinds of things in it from painting rocks to baking cookies to marshmallow building. The kids must complete all their chores (20 min of reading is one of them) to pick from the 'Yes Jar.'"
- Robyn, Craft with Me 

"Water activities are the best during the summer months. It allows us to play outside together while keeping cool. And, no matter what the weather, bubbles are the BEST thing at occupying any age range of children."
- Marie, Sawyer Family Blog 

"We keep our preschooler busy with a lot of fun summer activities like going to the beach, swimming lessons, summer camp and visits to amusement parks."
- Jennifer, Sugar Pop Ribbons 

"We explore the local parks with blank notebooks that we call Field Journals. We draw pictures and write the names of the creatures and nature that we encounter. We discuss everything we see. The next time we go, we look for what we've already drawn and review the letters of the words and add to our Field Journals each time. This is great exercise, great for creativity, and great educational fun."
- Cindy, Akron Ohio Moms 

"We set aside a good 30 minutes each day where we read together. To make it more fun, we will sometimes go outside and have a book picnic under the trees."
- Rachel, Second Time Around 

"We color, go outside, and play pretend games."
- Desiree, Wee Share Blog 



We Asked, You Answered: Summer Vacations With Kids
We asked some of our favorite blogging moms about their summer plans and they answered in a big way! Check out where our K'NEX fans (and their parents) will be traveling to this summer and get some ideas for your own vacation! Hint, hint... it seems that camping is a popular choice. 

WE ASKED: "Are you taking a vacation with your children this summer?"

YOU ANSWERED:
"YES, we are. Actually we already had one vacation. We packed the kids and the RV in May and went to Boston, MA. We would love to travel some more, but in the meantime we will do a lot of camping. Living in an RV for an extended period of time is good once in a while as it brings the family closer to each other."
- Isabelle, Canadian Ladybug Reviews 

"My husband and I are going to be taking our little girl to the beach this summer. We want her to experience the excitement of the sand, surf, shells and birds for the very first time. I can't wait to take her there, where she can run, jump and play to her heart's content and discover all the neat things the beach has to offer!"
- Melissa, Mommy Living the Life of Riley 

"We are going to Monterey, California. We decided there because when buying new sandals my son said, 'Mom! These are beach shoes!!' Then Mommy and Daddy decided why not! It's only a 13 hr drive! :D"
- Robyn, Craft with Me 

"We don't usually take one summer vacation. It's too expensive. We like to take short frequent trips to the lake for a few days of relaxation and bonding time with the kids. It breaks up the monotony of the weeks and brings us closer together."
- Marie, Sawyer Family Blog 

"We will be visiting out of town family members. Summer time is a great time to get away and spend quality time with relatives we haven't seen for awhile. It is an excellent time to catch up with cousins because they have the summer off too."
- Jennifer, Sugar Pop Ribbons 

"Because of the economy we are going to stay close to home this year and go camping in the mountains. It's fun to do in the hot summer months because it's cooler in the mountains and is a great way to spend real family time since you are away from TVs, computers, cell phones, and other electronic distractions."
- Rachel, Second Time Around 

"We are going camping. My husband and I did often before my daughter was born, and we want to start sharing that with her."
- Desiree, Wee Share Blog



K'NEX Elmo Building Set Brings Smiles, Encourages Speech
Mississippi mom Laura was thrilled for her son Orion when he won a Sesame Street Building Set in the recent K'NEX Sesame Street Sweepstakes. Laura shared that Orion was ecstatic to receive the set. 

From Laura: "The K'NEX came last night, and I cannot thank-you enough! Our son is Autistic and although he is making great strides in his speech, anything Sesame Street makes him smile and talk! He was so thrilled with the set that Elmo even found a comfy place in his bed at night. Thank-you so much from a very grateful mom!"



A Birthday Like No Other
Lori, the mother of 2008 K'NEXpert Christian who previously wrote a Parents Story about how Christian began building K'NEX and went on to become a K'NEXpert sent the following short message and photos from Christian's recent trip to K'NEX Headquarters. The visit to K'NEX Headquarters was one of the prizes Christian won as a K'NEXpert and coincided with his birthday. 

"We were able to take Christian for his 9th birthday on a trip to the K'NEX Headquarters. Here are some of the pictures of that special day. My children all enjoyed the visit. Thank you." 

 
 
 
  


K'NEX: The Best Gift
I had never heard of K'NEX prior to Christmas 2006. My 4 year old received a set from his grandma as a gift and I have to say it was the best gift he opened. PlayStations, DVDs, or remote control cars don't measure up to the set he received. Everyday we build a different model and he loves it. We've downloaded model instructions off www.knex.com and have purchased new K'NEX building sets. I just wanted to say "thank you" for making a product that does not involve electronics and promotes family fun time.



A Cherished Memory on a Horrible Day
Last February a tornado came through our community, taking with it much of our home. I started my child on K'NEX a very long time ago, he has always been interested in building things and would like to go to college to be a designer. When this tornado came though our home it took with it my 16 year old's TV, Xbox ®, MP3 player, CD player, radio, and quite a few other things he thought were important. As we were picking up his room, we noticed under the rubble was a blue container, it was full of water, but it also had the K'NEX we had bought him through the years in it. He pulled that box out got a towel and started wiping the K'NEX pieces off. He looked at me, quite surprised and smiled and said, "you can't ruin K'NEX." After 14 hours of hard labor patching and tarping and picking up, my 2 sons and their father sat down on the couch exhausted and began to play with the K'NEX. It was like they were all young again, and I began to thank God that my sons could sit there and play with their father. Thanks for giving me a very cherished memory on a very horrible day.



K'NEXpert Challenge helped me see my son in a different light
I want to thank you for the KNEXpert challenge. Your having the KNEXpert challenge has led me to see my now 8 year old son in a different light. When I bought my 3 children a 275 Tub at a garage sale the first of July 2007, I thought I must have been out of my mind. I looked at the pictures and thought what have I done, instantly my 3 children ages 7, 6, and 4 started building. My oldest opened the book and went to the windmill and started building it. He never even asked for help. Learn more about Christian's story... 



Hannah's Enthusiasm and Interest in K'NEX 
Hannah decided that the theme for her Bat Mitzvah party would be K'NEX. 
Hannah is the youngest of 3 girls and has been building with K'NEX since a very early age. In late 2006, she needed to build a model of Skylab for a school science project and decided that K'NEX would be the perfect material for building the project. As luck would have it, just after presenting her project in class, a fellow student noticed an advertisement for the 2007 K'NEXpert search and her teacher and friends all encouraged her to enter the contest. Learn more about Hannah's story...



Keep Up The Great Work Andrew!!
12 Year old continues to amaze with K'NEX creations!.
I would like to personally thank you for designing a very fun, educational, physical, motivational toy for kids of all ages and especially for kids with disabilities. My Son was diagnosed at age 2 with Hypotonia, (weak muscle tone) and early gross and fine motor skills disorder. He started playing with K'NEX when he was 4 years old and became very addicted to this amazing toy. Andrew is now 12 years old and still spends hours and hours on the floor of his playroom and builds these amazing structures from buildings to robots to characters from a movie or cartoon straight from his imagination. The models he comes up with astonishes my husband and I and the rest of our family and of course his friends. Andrew's fine motor skills have developed through years of physical and occupational therapy but his therapists very much agree that the amount of time Andrew spends playing with K'NEX has helped him tremendously. Andrew has accomplished so much physically and mentally though his young life and it's great to know that K'NEX is and always will be a good tool for our son. He wants to be an engineer and build a real skyscraper one day! We are so proud of you Andrew! Thank you K'NEX!!



Way to Go, Chris!
Child finds motivation through building with K'NEX.
When my son was three months old he was diagnosed with having had a substantial stroke, affecting a major part of his brain. Due to this he has struggled to overcome a right-side weakness and has had intensive therapies to overcome gross and fine motor deficits. His uncle gave him his first tub of K'NEX when he was four years old. We thought, "There's no way he'll be able to use that toy!" But something about the K'NEX struck a chord within my son and he was determined to play with them despite his physical challenges. When he was seven years old he was further diagnosed with autism. He is now in a special school and his teachers and therapists have continued to use K'NEX to motivate him and improve his physical and educational progress. My son makes very complex structures that he's very proud of! Thank you for a fantastic toy!



Merry Christmas, Pablo!
Special 4 year old finds focus and reward in KID K'NEX building.
I was introduced to KID K'NEX on Christmas of 2004. I was having a lot of trouble with my child who had just turned 3 and this was really the only game that he fell totally in love with and kept his attention. 
In February of 2005, we came to realize that my son had a form of autism. The one thing that kept my son motivated and focused and actually helped us through difficult situations was the KID K'NEX set.



Big "Hassle" No Big Deal for Louisville Student
Student-built mini coaster demonstrates physics.
LOUISVILLE - A 75-foot-long winding and looping fast track is the result of Justin Bair's pursuit of fun and desire to "toy" with the laws of science.

Called "The Hassle," the plastic miniature roller coaster sits as sort of a backdrop in a Louisville High School physics classroom. Its academic value is demonstrated as the small, four-wheel cart travels the track, illustrating how velocity, friction and gravity govern motion.

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