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Our 4 year old received a Marble Genius Marble Run Extreme set for Christmas this year. It has become a popular family toy for all of us to enjoy together. Keep reading our Marble Run Review below.
What is a Marble Run?
This set is similar to the wooden train tracks that have been popular for years. Because it allows for endless creativity and building your own adventure. The difference with the Marble Run set is that it goes vertical and replaces trains with a marble. This allows for a smaller real estate requirement but comes at the cost of stability.
Who is a Marble Run for?
Marble Run sets require some planning and dexterity in order to build a functioning set. For this reason I wouldn’t recommend this set for kids under 4 and even at that age parental assistance will definitely be required. We tend to make the building phase a family event with one parent holding things together while the other and the 4 year old do the assembly.
Directions and common sense suggest that this is not a toy for kids under 3 due to choking hazards. However, we do allow our 1.5 year old to participate under extremely close supervision. Its no fun to lose your marbles so we take inventory and store them in a bag when we finish a play session.
What is so fun about Marble Run?
There is something extremely satisfying about using your creativity to make something that functions and can be altered on a whim. We like to set up a standard run and get the marbles following the path. Once that is complete we will create a side run with a diverter that leaves the original path only to return again by the end. I try to encourage some critical thinking and have our toddler help plan the next style of piece and guess which path will be the quickest. Surprisingly some marbles cut the funnel short and are capable of making a pass. Therefore we usually sound like we are cheering on a horse race when we get a good run built.
In the event you aren’t feeling all that creative there’s an App for that. Marble Genius has developed an app with a few design options and challenges. You can select which kit you have as well as the technical level of design you are looking for. Difficulty levels include: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced, and Expert. The Marble Genius App also includes various challenges such as:
– Single Color Building
– Building a track in 1 min
– Building a dual track race
– Landing marble jumps
– Building off of a table or stairs.
Which set and accessories should I get?
The Marble Genius Marble Run Extreme set is more than enough for our needs and aspirations as Marble Run builders. The starter set is a perfect place to start for a trial run. Though it will somewhat limit you in how high you will be able to build your marble run. The good news is that if you enjoy your starter set all of the expansion packs are compatible. Standard Size Options include:
– Starter Set (80 pcs + 50 marbles)
– Super Set (85 pcs + 15 marbles)
– Extreme Set (125 pcs + 20 marbles)
One accessory that I highly recommend is a Marble Genius Automatic Chain Lift. Its a battery powered unit that hoists marbles from the bottom of the track back to the starting point. This accessory completely changed how we designed our Marble Runs. The endless loop makes “Marble Races” much more exciting. We have 1 green marble that can make a pass on almost every lap through a funnel. The limiting factor with the Automatic Chain Lift is the length of chain provided. Therefore the marble set can only span 18″ in elevation with a single chain. However, multiple chains can be combined to increase the elevation and utilize taller automated runs. Be sure to read the instructions when assembling the chain, there will be a few extra links in order to keep proper tension.
- Endless creativity options.
- Teaches gravity, planning, and support to little ones
- Encourages teamwork and collaboration with parents, siblings, or friends.
- Can include the whole family
- Marble Genius App provides ideas and design options.
- Small Pieces can be a choking hazard
- Odd Shaped pieces can be difficult to store
- Pieces sometimes come apart while adding new sections.
- Automatic Lifter eats batteries, keep a box of AA handy.
- Assembly can be frustrating for little hands, therefore adult assistance is required.
Marble Run Review Summary:
After a month of playing with the Marble Genius Marble Run it has grown on us in popularity. The first build session was met with frustration as we built stuff blindly only to find it toppling over soon after. Now that we’ve learned how to use the bases properly our builds are much stronger and allow for expansion without compromising the initial run too badly. I highly recommend the Marble Genius Marble Run as a fun interactive play set. That being said your little one needs to be able to focus, take instruction, and not play too rough.
If you enjoyed our Marble Genius Marble Run Review (or Marble Genius Automatic Chain Lift Review) please share with friends.