Nintendo Labo was obviously designed with kids in mind. The builds are called Toy-Cons after all, and can be played with simplistic, accompanying apps that basically boil down to mini-games. Still, Labo isn’t strictly for children, especially when it comes to building your Toy-Cons. In fact, parents would be wise to help their children with the builds. Labo is a recommended for ages six and up, but if you have a young kid as I do (my daughter is seven), you’ll probably have to provide guidance from time to time. Here are a few tips for building Labo Toy-Cons with your child.
Control the remote
Each Toy-Con has its own set of interactive instructions. Every crease, tab, and knot is demonstrated on screen to ensure that you don’t mess anything up. Nintendo’s walkthroughs are much more useful than the standard instruction booklet that comes with other products of a similar nature. However, if you have a youngster, chances are they will need to see steps more than once, view different angles, and possibly even have the corresponding words read to them.
I found that controlling the Joy-Con remote, which lets you move forward, rewind, zoom in and out, and pan to view different angles, helped immensely when building with my daughter. This allowed her to keep both hands on the build while I made sure that she understood what she had to do by showing the step on screen in a way she could understand.
Also, you can use the touchscreen to control the instructions when the Switch is undocked, but the more screen space, the better, so I recommend sticking with docked mode.
You may need to help with the non-cardboard parts
It’s true, Toy-Cons are largely built with cardboard. Folding those pieces, after awhile, becomes a fairly standard process that young builders will likely pick up well (with minor assistance here and there). Toy-Cons require other components too, though, some of which may require parental assistance.
It’s a good idea to be more watchful as your kid grapples with items from the accessory bags (found in both the Variety Kit and Robot Kit). In particular, pay close attention to the reflective stickers. These white stickers may not look like much, but they are what the Joy-Con cameras read to register movements in games.
Also be aware that a couple builds — the robot and fishing rod — use string that will have to be tied in knots. And numerous builds use grommets and fasteners which must be snapped into place. A fair bit of force is needed to secure them properly. You may want to double-check your child’s work here so the Toy-Con doesn’t fall apart in motion.
With the exception of the RC car, each build takes more than an hour and several take multiple hours. The robot, for instance, can take four hours to complete and the piano, due to its wide array of small parts, takes around three hours. If your kid’s attention tends to wander, Toy-Con construction can be a considerable undertaking.
The instructions often recommend taking breaks between steps. Definitely listen to these suggestions if you see that your child is losing interest.
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