This time, the circus comes to you.

Designed for kids ages 8 and up, Spin Master’s Rube Goldberg The Acrobat Challenge play set is a wacky and complex contraption kids construct to complete a simple task. The STEM set includes a variety of pieces, including a base, a flagpole, a monkey, a snake, a seesaw ramp, a wagon, a basketball, a cannon, a tight rope, and more. In short, it’s a medley of silly parts that come together to create a chain reaction of fun.

Inspired by the famous cartoonist and inventor Rube Goldberg, the sets encourage young ones to build, discover, and play. With this kit in particular, the goal is simple: to send a plastic acrobat figure flying through a hoop. Using the contents and the instructions provided, kids can assemble their contraption with the help of colorful and easy to understand illustrations.

Assembling the system is painless and fun, and kids can do it all on their own. They can start by snapping together support beams into their base, and then construct a seesaw ramp, a balance beam, a flag post, and more. Eventually, they’ll load their acrobat into a cannon that’s fitted with a trigger button. Once everything is built, it’s time for inventors to test their system. If assembled and positioned correctly, this is what should happen: The chain reaction begins with a basketball hitting the bulls eye on the bottom of the flag post, pivoting it and sending the monkey down the tight rope. As the monkey drops, his peanuts fall into the popcorn box, tipping the seesaw and rolling the wagon down into a barrier. The barrier stops the wagon, but the circus ball rolls out, and it hits the racket that sends the plastic matchstick crashing down on the cannon’s fuse. With the right positioning (and a sprinkle of luck), the domino effect should end with the acrobat launching through the flaming hoop.Kids will have a blast putting their contraption together, and they’ll learn about the principles of gravity and spring forces along the way. The process of building it the right way, testing it, and ultimately succeeding is a wild and wacky ride. It took me a handful of tries to get it positioned just right, but the struggle made the success much more satisfying.

Other Rube Goldberg sets (sold separately) include The Castle Escape Challenge, The Fly Trap Challenge, The Garden Challenge, The Speeding Car Challenge, and The Trick Shot Challenge. Kids can collect and connect all of the playsets to create bigger, more complex inventions, ultimately extending the play value of each system.

About the author

Joe Ibraham

Joe Ibraham

Joe Ibraham is the Art Director at the Toy Insider, the Toy Book, and the Pop Insider. He creates all graphic content for the Toy Insider, the Pop Insider, and the Toy Book social channels, including promos and stagnant graphics, as well as all signage, programming, and media graphics for various networking events. Joe shoots, edits, and manages all YouTube content for the Toy Insider and Pop Insider brand, including Play by Play videos, event videos, and other promotional videos. When he's not in the office, you can find Joe in the gym or hanging with his friends and family. He loves music, basketball, and art in a variety of forms. He STILL wonders why Drake and Josh is not available on Netflix.