Get this great product here: Marble Fun Run by Mega Fun
I had a marble maze set as a kid and still remember how much I loved making and testing out new configurations, so I was really excited to order this set and share it with my two kids. This marble maze by Mega Fun definitely has the same basic idea as my set from the 80’s, with a few more complex design twists thrown in. The included instructions show a suggested configuration that uses all the included pieces, but I was happy that my 7 year old wanted to initially instead try to design our own maze – it’s a challenge, but one I was very excited to do with her! She can fairly easily assemble the pieces, although understandably it will take her some practice to fully grasp what configurations are most successful. I think this learning process is probably the best part of this kind of toy! My almost 5 year old does get a bit frustrated with putting the pieces together, but again this is to be expected since he’s a bit on the young end for this sort of toy. He loved however finding specific pieces for me as I was helping them build a course and especially is an excellent tester when we are ready to try out a completed section!
I really like the collection of different types of pieces. I remember having pieces in my old set with a spinning wheel – this set has three of those, which actually involves snapping the wheel assembly onto a piece that is a straight and steep downward slide. It’s cool that this gives the option of using the wheel or not, and the wheel piece can even be snapped onto one or two of the other configuration pieces. There are also several pieces with three little plastic “gates” that are snapped into place. This is a really fun extra design element. The set includes one “loop da loop” piece, which has to be assembled by snapping in place the top of the loop – this took me a moment to figure out, but is extremely easy once I found the top portion in the bag of pieces. I suggest making sure there is some significant downward momentum (those pieces that fit the wheels are good for this!) just before the “loop da loop” to make sure the marble will make it through successfully. The top “entry point” pieces are really cleverly designed. There is a small plastic piece that snaps into place that essentially makes a “starting gate”, so you can get the marble all ready to go, then press down on the outer circle to lift this gate and start it going down. I love this, because it makes it easy for us to “race” marbles to see which of our tracks on a build can get to the bottom first! My kids absolutely love watching the marbles go down the track, and as you can see in the video so do my cats!
There are so many creative ways that a track can be designed, and the process of experimenting to see what does and does not work is a really fantastic learning experience for children. It allows them to basically go through the scientific method of coming up with a design suggestion, building, testing, and then optimizing if any flaws are uncovered. I do wish that the pieces slid together a bit more easily so that single stacks of pieces don’t so easily get misaligned when we’re assembling another portion of the track, but I have a feeling that such issues are just natural with these kinds of sets – it’s all part of the learning process! All in all it’s a great toy and I know that as my kids older their enjoyment and understanding of it will continue to grow.
I’m very glad that I was able to order this as a free promotional sample in order to evaluate and provide my honest review.