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Gaming. Love it or hate it, it’s not going anywhere.

As much as you threaten to reduce your kids screen time, they’re growing up in the digital age and gaming is a part of their lives like the Walkman, Polly Pocket and Gem + The Holograms were a part of ours.

So, if you can’t beat them, join them. And the Nintendo Labo is here to help.

What is a Nintendo Labo?

According to Nintendo, the Labo is designed to re-invent the gaming experience, allowing children to make, play and discover with cardboard creations that are compatible with their Nintendo Switch.

There are two kits to choose from – Variety and Robot – and we spent an afternoon – together – getting to know the Variety Kit.

The Variety Kit comes with a Labo Toy-Con game and everything you need to get started, guiding you through making and playing the kit’s pre-designed accessories.

It also comes with the software you need (simply follow the on-screen activities) to design and make your own accessories. The Variety kit lets you build five different Toy-Con projects, each with multiple ways to play:

  • Two Toy-Con RC Cars

  • Toy-Con Fishing Rod

  • Toy-Con House

  • Toy-Con Motorbike

  • Toy-Con Piano

Each of these comes with their own interactive games – for example you can race on up to nine circuits with the motorbike and can also create your own course.

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Younger children will need adult supervision but that’s part of the fun; it’s takes gaming from a one player activity and turns it into something the whole family can get involved in.

You start by building a holder for the controller to get you used to the process and you can them move on to building your first Toy-Con.

We started with the remote controlled car which took less than five minutes to complete and was super easy to make.

When we used the Labo, the parents took control of the video instructions and the younger kids did the actual hands-on making – full on family cooperation.

Older kids will probably be able to handle the making solo and/or help with younger ones.

The Discover section in the Labo includes a game which lets you know what your creations do, how to decorate them, the science and technology involved and advice on how to make the most of each of your creations. 

The on-screen instructions tell you how long each creation is likely to take, you can pause, forward and rewind meaning you can create at your own speed – particularly useful when you have younger children with shorter attention spans.

The kids will like the Labo as it extends the pleasure they can get from their Nintendo Switch (and let’s be honest – the Switch already gives a lot of pleasure).

Parents will like it as it takes the kids away from a one-player, sat alone in a dark room type toy and turns it into something the whole family can build and play with.

Nintendo Switch - £279 | Nintendo Labo - from £55