Friday 28 March 2014

by Chin Wye Mun, Junior 2 Cempaka, Class of 2014

How many of you have spent your childhood playing with colourful blocks of LEGO? A big yellow bucket of bricks opens up a world of cars, towers and robots. Gradually, the cars and creations from your mind started forming into more complicated X-Wings and Batmobiles from instruction manuals. In the past decade or so, you would have realized that LEGO blocks have evolved from a simple bucket of bricks to complicated constructions set in stone. When I say set in stone, I mean that blocks meant for an X-Wing will always become an X-Wing and blocks for a pirate ship will always become a pirate ship. And when you're done with it, it will always remain that way too. 

In response to this decline in creativity, KEVA planks were created. You may have never heard of it since it was just introduced into Malaysia last weekend at BORDERS. I had the wonderful opportunity to be one of the first people to demonstrate KEVA planks at BORDERS on Saturday.

What are KEVA planks? KEVA planks are just that, planks. The basic ones are made of pine wood and are all precision-cut. Each and every plank is the same - 1/4 inch thick, 3/4 inch wide and 4 1/2 inches long and extremely light. What's amazing about these simple wooden planks is the fact that people can come up with thousands of different structures and designs from the exact same 200 pieces of wood. 

The Contraptions set on sale comes with two balls and this differs because contraptions are meant to have a track for the ball to travel through and eventually end up in a catchment. This makes it really great for honing problem-solving skills because you have to observe every single bounce, every angle and every swift movement of the ball as it makes its way through the track. The slightest change in the angle of the plank or the drop of the ball could make the biggest difference to how it lands, how it rolls and where it eventually ends up. 

The Structures set is exactly the same except without the two balls and it's just for constructing buildings and well, structures. People come up with ships and trains and towers high enough that you need to use a crane just to top it off. 

KEVA planks are really awesome because the fact that all the blocks are so precisely cut out makes it easy to balance and fit things together - of course you need steady hands and a good sense of centre too but the blocks make it easy for anyone to build. I didn't really know what to expect when I got to Borders on Saturday but I guess all you really need is your imagination. Here's a few of the structures and contraptions that I built while demonstrating. 

One that was actually taller than me (thanks to the table and my short height ; but a RadioShack employee did one taller than himself and he was pretty tall)

I had a great experience there too because I got to meet people of different ages and occupations since the planks are really for anyone. There were fun and some pretty amazing buildings coming from extremely brilliant, intelligent 6-year-olds, impressive engineering students and even your everyday security guard and RadioShack worker. 

It also wasn't as tiring because it wasn't a repetitive thing. Each person had a different idea as to what to build and it was a pleasure to grant the wishes of some rather demanding children who wanted me to build things like keyboards to dollhouses. Helping them solve problems with their balance or the contraptions was also a blast and helped keep my brain working.

The planks would be great for engineering, architecture or design students and young children too but I do have to admit it's a little pricey so make sure it's something you're really into before you buy it. However, if you are planning to buy a box of Legos, I do suggest just taking a look at the KEVA planks. I myself didn't expect to have as much fun with it as I did. And it left me rather bittersweet to leave the store on that day. 

Special thanks to Mr. Edwin for the opportunity to have some "work experience" over there and to try out the product!

(All photo credit : Chin Wye Mun)
by Anonymous 19:27 11 comments | in , , , , ,


  1. It reminds of the great time of my college life, when we used to do same activities wiht keva planks and spending most of time of our class making things with them and besides that we had to complete our Research Papers on Engineering which was one of the the hardest task to do cause we didn't have such useful sources like this.

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