| I grew
up playing with a Discovery Toys marble run. I spent hours building
different tracks, and experimenting letting the marbles run down to the
bottom. I would roll the marbles back up each piece to the top. I would
dump whole handfuls of marbles down at the same time.
I loved my
Since then I
have grown up. I got married. We have a family. And we started a
business, selling toys. (www.superdairyboy.com)
Ah, the perfect thing.
I don't know
where my old marble run went, but it doesn't matter because now I have
access to almost every toy imaginable. I bet you can't guess what type
of toy we have an unhealthy amount of space
devoted to in our store? Yep, that's right. Marble Runs.
Since my husband and I are adults who like toys, and since we have 5 children who like toys and can help out... we test almost every toy we start to carry. Actually, we have about one of everything stored away to come out in rotation for our kids (a.k.a. "Quality Control") to "test". We like to measure usability, intrigue, and durability.
we've tried all of the marble runs. I feel well-prepared for a marble
start, let me mention that marble runs are not for children under 3.
Marbles can be very dangerous if little children get their hands on
them! Please be careful, even with children 3 and over if they are
prone to putting objects in their mouths.
Here are the
types of marble runs toys we
carry (don't say I didn't
warn you that it is a ridiculously large selection!)
Frigits – the Marble Run for your
Classic Marble Runs were probably the first type of marble run
that we carried. The biggest things that stand out to me about it is
that it has a simple design (so suitable for smaller children
as well as older) and that the pieces do not snap together tightly
as I'd expected. (Be careful not to push too hard or the whole thing
might collapse.) All in all, it is a very
usable, quite popular marble run.
Marble Racer Marble Run line came out some years later. It has
a special layout, so that every so often the marbles drop into a
funnel. The idea is to race two marbles down, and see which one wins.
The funnel pieces give both marbles a fair chance of winning. I was
surprised at how much our kids enjoyed actually racing the marbles.
This was definitely a "winner" at our house.
I have a hard
time determining which is my favorite marble run. It is one of the next
two, but they come pretty close in comparison
for uniqueness and enjoyable playability in my mind. Each one serves a
different user group, so at least our customers should be able to tell
which they like best... as long as they're not complete marble run nuts
Wooden Marble Run line is made of a high-quality birch wood. It
is truly an heirloom toy – it will last for generations.
The sets are
made up of blocks for building up the run, tunnel pieces, and chute
pieces for carrying the marbles. Then there is an extensive line of
accessory pieces – things like a sound staircase, domino set, and ski
jump! They really add a lot of fun to the whole experience.
pieces are unit blocks, so there is no frustration trying to
get to just the right height. They stack to equal the height of the
next tallest piece. There are plenty of cubes, cylinders, and
rectangular pieces to accomplish your ends in building your marble run.
One of the best things, is almost no two runs will ever be the same
(unless you're following the sample set provided). Creativity runs wild.
drawback to the Haba Wooden Marble Run is that since the pieces do not
interlock, young children will be prone to unintentionally pushing
the pieces out of alignment. Unless they
are particularly careful children (we do
have one of those!) I wouldn't recommend it
until a child is about 5 or 6. Along the same lines, I believe this
marble run would hold the interest of an older child as well (over 10)
since a lot can go into designing each course.
Marble Construction System is my other favorite. This is
another marble run where you have almost complete freedom in
designing whatever course fits your fancy. There are ramp pieces,
90 degree turn pieces, straight pieces, duplo-sized
building pieces, and several exciting add-ons as well. All of the
pieces can be used in any combination, so that, again, no two
courses will be the same. It is a very versatile
set, with lots of room for creativity. We have put together a
collection consisting of at least 4-5 sets. These things are strong
enough to build a run to the ceiling if we felt like it!
to this set is that the interlocking system the blocks employ can lead
to sore fingers if you play for too long. The sets are strong,
but only because the fit tightly together... and it can be a bit much
for my fingers. A pair of light gloves might be in order.
Skyrail Roller Coasters are a totally unique type of marble
run. Instead of a usually spiraling system of runs like most of the
other marble runs tend to create, the Skyrail Roller Coaster uses long
"rail" pieces with intermittent supports to
create a roller coaster effect! Even the small set can use up
your whole living room! The marbles can run loops, curves, and
ups-and-downs, all depending on what run you created.
There is a
level of fine tuning each course must go through to get the speed of
the marble under control so it will not fly off the rails. This is not
a drawback... rather it is just part of the fun. (...and helps make it
unique from the other marble runs.)
Marble Run line employs some of the same type of "rail" pieces
(though not as long), and puts them into more of a regular "marble run"
design. The stacking and building processes are unique to this
brand, and my kids have spent a lot of happy time building their own
courses. There is one marble run which even includes an elevator
lift – which in my opinion adds a lot of appeal to the whole thing.
This is another marble run that I wouldn't recommend to the younger
children. It is more suitable for the 5 and up crowd.
Quercetti lines are very popular, especially as Christmas presents.
We finally come to the Frigits Refrigerator Marble Run. This is another very intriguing marble run. One of my children, especially, loves to play with it time and time again. The chute pieces are interesting and fun to run marbles down. I am impressed with the sturdy build and strong magnetism that keeps the pieces from sliding around the 'fridge when bumped. They also come in pretty, eye-catching colors. A couple of extra add-ons are available.