I found this "Drill 'n Design Mosaic Art" kit on the shelf of a "Tuesday Morning" store yesterday, and was immediately intrigued. I have to preface this by sayng that I am a teacher, and look at everything through the lens of "how might I use this in my classroom?" Thus I might be looking for things that other potential buyers might not, such as scalability for multiple uses at once and multiple purposes.
When I first saw this kit, I was reminded of an Erector set, but with big plastic pieces good for little fingers to be able to manipulate. It is great for developing and building fine motor skills as well as creativity for multiple designs. When I opened the box, I was impressed by the quality of the materials (the "pegboard"-like lid is made of high quality plastic and each hole is threaded to fit thematic bolts). There were a generous number of plastic pieces, and they could all be kept in a multiple-sectioned box. I really liked the thought that went into the overall design of thIs product. I would definitely recommend it as a gift for a child, and as I type this, my 10-year-old daughter is even enjoying creating a design with it. (I have my 10 and 12 year old girls "beta-test" things I am considering for my classroom). My daughter started out giving this 3 stars, but upped it to 4 as she used it more and found different was to overlap their pieces to make different shapes. She also likes the variety of colors, though she wishes the selection of colors was still larger. Also, since she used the screw both actually and as a decoration, she ended up using every single screw provided in the kit, while there were still an abundance of flat pieces remaining. So, an additional bag or two of screws would have been a great addition to the kit.
Now, I had some expectations for this product that were not fulfilled. I couch this by saying that my expectations were most likely not part of their original concept, so it's not their fault that I wanted something that their product was never meant to deliver. A couple things could be easily modified to make this's scalable to multiple children playing with a single set. 1). Add more screwdrivers. The main thing that would prevent more than one child from playing with this is the fact that there is only one screwdriver. Adding a second or third screwdriver to the kitcould mean that more than one child could collaborate together to create a design. 2) Add at least one or two additional "pegboard" design bases, to allow more than one child to create designs with the pieces. 3). Add some angled, flexible, or corner pieces to allow children to create 3-D structures. Of course, that would also mean that nuts would need to be added to the kit since the holes in the flat pieces are too big for the screw threads and don't hold on their own. (big, chunky kid-friendly wing nuts could be used for this purpose, literally adding a new dimension to this kit).
I really like this kit, and so does my daughter, but I think this product could be made so much cooler...and its use potentially expanded to the classroom with just a few additions modifications. If they do, they may just give Erector Sets a run for their money!