Marbles may seem like an old-timey toy of the 1950s, but that’s only because marble runs weren’t in the picture! Of course, it’s fun to shoot marbles across the floor and try to knock your opponent’s out of a circle drawn on the blacktop in chalk, but it’s even more fun to watch them travel down a chute that you’ve created and built. Marble runs these days are a source of outrageous fun for kids of any age, and also a great way to teach them about gravity and the laws of physics.
Marble runs have the same appeal as LEGOs or Kinects do in the sense that they require being built piece by piece, but the satisfaction your child will get when they stand back and check out the run they’ve created is priceless. They’re great for the hands-on child who loves to build things and can be suitable for any age with a little parental supervision. Marble runs can also be easily turned into a fun family activity that can be substituted for game nights since the entire family can play a part in building a section of the run.
Watching marbles travel through chutes and down through holes and through lever systems is a lot more fun than it sounds. Similar to the game Mouse Trap, marble runs captivate a childlike sense of wonder when marbles are sent down into the run and out through various sections. Kids will be amazed at where their marbles end up and how what they’ve built affects each marble they send down the run lanes.
Each of these toys has something different to offer based on what you think your child will love, but they’re all a fantastic option for adding variety and a new skill to your kid’s toy collection. It’s a great way for them to construct their own forms of entertainment and gain a basic knowledge of how gravitational pull works in addition to other laws of force when acted on with a bit of kinetic energy. Marble runs are proving that marbles are making a comeback and aren’t just good for collecting.
Our Top 3 Picks
- Marble Genius Marble Run Super Set
- 85 Marble Run Pieces
- MindWare Marble Run Set
- 123 Pieces
- Marble Genius Marble Run Starter Set
- 60 Pieces
Criteria Used To Evaluate The Best Marble Runs for Kids
These uniquely built marble runs offers kids a variety of educational exploration. Each of these sets encourages science, technology, engineering, art and math. In addition to that, kids will learn about action-reaction, problem solving skills and sequential, spatial and logical thinking. Kids are free to be creative with these marble runs as they promote imaginative, physical and social play.
For the fact that these sets are educational they can be used at home, in the classroom and at childcare centers. They encourage patience, hand-eye coordination, following directions and perseverance. The overall intelligence of kids could be enhanced as they learn through play while enjoying theses sets. If you decided to purchase a toy for your kid, you want it to be not only enjoyable, but educational as well. Each marble run on our list offers both of those factors.
Each of the marble runs on are list are practical as they come with everything that a kid needs to enjoy the marble sets. How many times have you purchased a toy, but your kid couldn’t properly use it because it didn’t include batteries? It’s very frustrating. Similar to batteries, which none of these sets require, each manufacturer provides marbles in the package so that your kid will have everything that they need to begin playing. In addition to marbles, the marble runs have a plethora of accessories to build captivating structures. Your kid will never run out of creative ideas with these spectacular marble runs!
The marble runs are easily to very easy to clean and sanitize. After frequently play, dirt and debris are likely to build up around the pieces that interlock. To clean the plastic pieces, simply spray them down with an eco friendly cleaner and wipe them off. To sanitize the plastic pieces, simple soak the toys in a warm, soapy solution and scrub them. Afterwards, rinse them with fresh water and allow to air dry.
For wooden toys, we don’t recommend submerging them into water, as large amounts of water could damage them. To properly clean wooden toys, spray them down and wipe them off just as you would do to plastic toys. To sanitize wooden parts, fill your sink or a small bucket with warm, soapy water. Dip a washcloth into the solution and wring it out so that it’s slightly dampened. Lightly scrub the wooden piece and then use another washcloth to ensure that any remaining soapy is gone. Allow to air dry. It’s simple as that.
Keeping your kid’s toys are important, and each of the marble runs on our list are effortlessly to clean.
How We Chose the Top Marble Runs in Our List
Selecting which among the hundreds of marble runs currently in the market we had to include in our shortlist was very challenging, to say the least. First it was all about cutting the number to a more manageable size. Product reviews and ratings were thus, considered to come up with a much shorter pool of products to be evaluated. This gave us the reassurance that all of the products that we have shared with you in our top 15 list are also recommended by many moms and dads.
Each of the short-listed marble runs was then subjected to a more thorough evaluation using a variety of parameters. Chief of these was the inherent developmental appropriateness of the marble run. We had to look at the manufacturer’s recommended age and determine whether the complexity of the play set is appropriate for the child’s developmental age. We also carefully evaluated other inherent features in each of these products to determine how they would fit in a child’s need to develop his or her true potentials.
Safety is also a primary concern. Since most of the products that we have evaluated are made of plastic, it is essential that they are not made of harmful materials or are finished with a variety of chemicals that can undermine the health of our children.
The company’s trustworthiness was also factored into the shortlist as this can help us give you the peace of mind that you need regarding the quality and safety of the products we have listed. We know for a fact that highly reputable organizations will never do anything that will tarnish their good image.
Marble Runs and Your Child’s Cognitive Development
One of the most important benefits of playing with marble runs by children is the development of their cognitive abilities. There is simply a lot of cognitive processes going on every time a child plays with these kinds of toys.
For the most part, their logical thinking will be enhanced as they attempt to piece the different building blocks to create a continuous pathway for the marbles to reach their destination. This requires logic and critical thinking that largely depends on their understanding of cause and effect relationships. By looking at the different pieces, they are able to mentally paint a possible outcome if they are going to position a piece in one particular way. Changing the position or configuration of this building or construction piece can also lead to another “effect.” It is this mental processing of many causes-and-effects that children are able to develop their logic and critical thinking.
This can also have a significant implication in their problem solving abilities. By thinking logically and critically, they are able to develop an understanding of the essence of a scientific process. This can help them process other more complex problems in the future as they now have a very rudimentary yet effective understanding of such concepts.
Children’s spatial intelligence can also be enhanced by these types of toys. This gives them the opportunity to define the relationship of an object with the space around it. Dropping marbles into the holes of these playsets simply mean kids will have a good spatial sense, not to mention good hand-eye coordination as well as superb control of fine motor skills.
The Bottom Line
Marble runs, like building and construction playsets, are beneficial to your child’s development. We hope you have found something from our top 15 marble runs that you think your kid, or even the rest of your family, will love.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are marbles included in the sets?
A: Yes, each set that we listed comes with marbles included. Some sets only do well with the marbles that are provided, so if you need more you may have to contact the manufacturer. Many of the sets fair well will any kind of marbles, which will keep the cost of buying more marbles down to a minimum. Or even better, if your kid already has marbles, they could use those.
Q: Can the marble runs be used in a classroom setting?
A: Yes. The marble runs can be used at home and in classrooms. All of these sets promotes educational subjects such as science, technology, engineering, art and math, and could easily go along with daily lesson plans or free time at the end of class.
Q: What is STEM?
A: Simply put, STEM in an acronym for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Marble runs are great for cultivating a great interest in these subject areas, as the educational aspects are very hands on and promote logical and spatial thinking, as well as problem solving skills.
Q: Does these toys present any hazards?
A: Yes. Each toy contains marbles. Marbles are very small and could easily be mistaken as food for children who are 3 years and younger, which presents a choking hazard as the marble could become lodged in your kid’s throat and restrict breathing. These sets should not be played with by kids who are 3 and younger. Additionally, even if your kid is older than 3, depending on their individual development, parental supervision may be needed to prevent any mishaps.
Q: Are instructions included with each set?
A: The Ideal Amaze ‘N’ Marbles 60 Piece Classic Wood Construction Set and the
Hape Quadrilla Wooden Marble Run Construction set includes instructions. The Marble Genius Marble Run Super Set also includes instructions, but they are only accessible online. The other marble runs listed above do not. This could be a positive thing for the fact that of instructions aren’t included, or gives kids the freedom to be wholly creative, by building their own designs. In contrast, this could be a negative aspect for kids who enjoy and work best when following a guideline.
Q: Are these sets gender neutral?
A: Yes, due to the wide variety of colors all of the marble runs on our list are gender neutral, except the Tevelo Marble Run Coaster. The Tevelo Marble Run Coaster includes an immense amount of pink and will probably not be enjoyed as much by boys as girls would enjoy it. However, there’s plenty of other marble runs on our list to choose from if your kid isn’t a particular fan of the color pink.
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