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Quadro: The Coolest Toy You've Never Heard Of

Usually the content of my blog falls under either parenting, homemaking, or food.  Sometimes you get a poem or some thoughts as I meditate on what God is teaching me through his Word.  Usually my goal is to encourage, inspire, and perhaps amuse.  Today, my aim is not so noble--I just want to share a unique thing my family has been enjoying. 

This is Quadro--modular building toy, a prop for imaginative play, and active play equipment. 

Winters are always rather intense in our neck of the woods, but this one has been particularly frigid.  Nevertheless, my son asks to go outside to play pretty much every day.  I've had to say no a lot, or risk little frostbitten fingers or losing short stuff in a snow bank.  How's a little guy to burn off energy when running circles through the living and dining rooms gets old and his best playmate (his older sister) is busy with school?  This was one of our considerations as my husband and I discussed Christmas gifts for the kids this past year.  My husband grew up with a Quadro construction set and has said that it "defined [his] childhood."  We really like to give our kids gifts that will stand the test of time and won't be cast aside as soon as a fad fades, and we knew this one could be enjoyed for years by all our current--and any future--children.

Quadro is manufactured in Germany and a little hard to track down, which is one of the reasons I'm writing about it.  You'd be unlikely to just stumble upon it in a toy catalog!  We made our purchase from Creative Kids Stuff, the official distributor of Quadro products to consumers in the United States.  A Google search might turn up a few other resellers or vendors (PhunZone distributes to commercial facilities), but CKS had them all beat for price and allowed us to use a great coupon code as well.  Would highly recommend checking them out for unique gifts even if Quadro doesn't interest you.

Quadro has four main components: tubes, connectors, panels, and screws.  It can be used indoors and out.  Special pieces like slides, wheels, and pools/ball pits can also be purchased, and everything works together.  An older child can construct by himself (with a little guidance to make sure structures are safe and sturdy), a younger child can help a parent.  This image on the official Quadro site illustrates how the tubes connect.  Brochures illustrate and explain the designs you can build with your set and you can browse one of the  model databases as well, but Quadro also allows you to download a free 3D construction program to create models of your own, which is pretty neat.

My husband made some modifications to the pirate ship model and built it with the kids this past weekend.  I haven't made an animated gif in years so no judging, but hopefully this gives you an idea of how everything goes together:

This toy was a big investment for us, but we know the pieces to be incredibly durable.  They are the same quality components my husband grew up with, which is amazing in this day and age!  We have two Expert sets.  When broken down, each one just fits (with a little packing finesse) in a 31 gallon Rubbermaid Roughneck tote--about $13 each at Walmart.  The primary colored floor pads were purchased separately from Sam's Club since we have hardwood and tile floors.  We've had a few slips and falls, but the kids quickly learned that grippy socks or slippers minimize that.

My 3 year old son is at the perfect age for enjoying little fort and platform areas--anything with tunnels and places to hide.  And he just loves to climb.  My 7 year old daughter really enjoyed my husband's monkey bar/jungle gym design (pictured below) for playing "circus," practicing gymnastic moves, and learning to hang hands-free "like a possum." :)

My 8 month old daughter enjoys army crawling in and around the floor spaces, especially in the little house area of our Christmas morning design--the "climbing castle" at the top of this post.  The great thing is that you can have a different playground every time you build, and it doesn't always have to be huge.  It could be a small stage, a puppet theater, a tunnel, or a little house.

It's fun for adults, too. ;)  Yo ho!


Anonymous said…
I know this may be a long shot since you wrote this post back in January, but I figured it couldn't hurt. My husband and I are looking into buying quadro for our 2 girls, but we are looking for some specific parts. I saw that you bought the expert kit, and was wondering if you would mind sending me a parts list for what it comes with. I unfortunately can not find it anywhere else. Thank you in advanced.
Hi Danielle,
Quadro parts lists can be found on the back of the construction manuals, which can be seen/downloaded here:
This is the Expert manual: Hope that helps! I'll send this info via email as well.
Rachel Callahan said…
Hi, I know this is an old post, but I'm thinking of buying this for our 5, 4 and 1 year old this Christmas. Do your kids still like it/use it? Are you happy with the investment? Thanks! Rachel
Hi Rachel, we are still happy with our investment. We typically put it away for the summer when the kids are able to play outside, and then it's fresh and fun again and something to look forward to when the weather turns cold. My oldest is soon to turn 9, so I think your kiddos are at a great age for it--provided you and/or your SO are prepared to do all the construction work! :)
Rachel Callahan said…
Thank you so much for your reply. It is surprisingly hard to find any reviews/info on Quadro online. Your review was so helpful and informative, thank you!

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