I have been interested in the Girder and Panel building sets since I stumbled across Bridge Street Toys at Toy Fair in 2011. I love that it’s a family owned business and that it arose from the dad’s desire to provide other kids with the toys he remembered from his childhood. Despite my interest, I never got around to trying out the products myself. So when Bridge Street Toys reached out to ask us about checking out their products, I was happy to oblige.
This one is the Goose Hollow Town House. LadyBug was thrilled to have a pink set, so she claimed this one for her own.
This is the post Office. This one was a bit more complex and Bug and Big Guy decided to tackle it together. It has suggestions for a few different building designs.
LadyBug, who is 5 (almost 6), needed little help getting started. I showed her the basics of how the pieces went together and she just took off.
Bug needed a bit more help figuring things out, but he soon picked it up. The girders were relatively easy, but the directions are more of a “guideline” than anything else. This is great if you just want to build on your own, but it was a bit frustrating to try to replicate the design on the box. That said, some trial and error is good for learning and we eventually figured it out.
The panels were not nearly as easy as the girders. All four of us had some trouble getting everything to line up. As you can see above, one of the panels broke when we tried to get it on and we still couldn’t get the pieces lined up correctly. The panel next to the broken one is bowed out. Didn’t phase my daughter in the slightest. She was very proud of her building!
Big Guy and Bug had similar issues and, in fact, they could not figure out how to finish the set as it was shown in the manual. The area with the flags should have a roof on it, but they were unable to get the roof and the panel with the doors on the building at the same time.
Not long after we finished making the sets shown on the boxes, the kids took everything apart and made their own set with the pieces combined. This is exactly what this type of building set is made for. They liked the original sets, but didn’t like that you couldn’t really play with them because there was no way to get inside. This is the solution:
Girder and Panel sets are available from specialty toy retailers, on Amazon, and from Bridge Street Toys. The Goose Hollow Town House retails for just $14.99 and the Post Office retails for $19.99. They are recommended for age 6+, but I’d suggest that an adult may be helpful for first-time builders under the age of 8. As you can see, once they got the hang of it, they were off and running on their own. Despite the broken panel (I honestly have no idea how that happened), the sets feel very sturdy.
In addition to having these at your own home, I think these are great for grandparent’s houses. They don’t take up much space, and there’s plenty of creativity to be had. There are larger sets available, including a bridge and (the much coveted) Hydrodynamic Building Set.
Disclosure: We received product samples for review purposes. There was no additional compensation and no promise of a positive review. The opinions contained in this post are my own.