- Games, Toys, and Hobbies
Marble Run Toys
Marble run toys are an excellent gift for any creative and engaged child. These toys are not only fun, but also they are educational in many ways. Marble runs encourage children to use 3D dimension and design skills in the building process. They must be able to visualize what the structure will look like as they build and make sure that pieces will fit together in all directions. These skills are important in developing special perception and are used in something as common as driving. In addition, a marble run will help your children to understand the affects of gravity when you are playing with the marble maze. You can explain that the track must always be sloped downward to take advantage of gravity. A discussion about the force that is needed to move something up an incline is the beginning of understanding physics. When coming up with their marble run plans, the marble run toy will help your kids to understand the limitations of structures and give them insight into what supports are needed to make a sturdy structure. These are the beginning skills of a structural or civil engineer.
Marble runs are fun and education and come in many shapes and sizes. There are many different materials of construction and each has benefits and disadvantages. The following is a list of popular marble run toys and a description of each.
Quadrilla Marble Run
The Quadrilla marble run products are a combination of rails and blocks with a few plastic parts thrown in for some of the special effects. The rails are made of birch plywood and do not have any slope. The rails are completely level. All of the slope comes from the block pieces. You connect the rails to one another through the blocks and each block has a sharp slope down from one side to another to give the marble its speed. Typically the blocks are at the end of a track and not only does the marble travel downward, it changes direction so the rails go off in another direction after connecting through a block. There are also a few pieces called speed makers that you can use to connect two long rails together and give the marble some speed without turning it. There are several different sets available and the pieces from each set are interchangeable. Therefore, the more sets you have, the bigger the marble track you can construct. Here is a list of some of the most popular Quadrilla marble run products:
- Quadrilla Basic Set – Includes 49 pieces and retails for $45 - $70.
- Quadrilla Rail Set – Includes 102 pieces and retails for $88 - $113. The rails in this set are all straight.
- Quadrilla Twist Set – Includes 105 pieces and retails for $112 - $195. The rails in this set are curved so you can create designs that are more elaborate.
Cuboro Marble Run
A small Swiss toy company makes Cuboro marble run toys and these marble tracks are somewhat different from the wooden marble run toys you are accustomed to. This marble run toy is a collection of beech wood cubes measuring 5 centimeters on each side. Each cube has a combination of holes, channels, and tunnels. The purpose of this marble run is to construct a structure of the blocks so that the marble can run from one top corner to an opposite corner on the bottom by traveling through the maze of cubes. This marble run is a great toy for the entire family because you can create structures of varying complexity and the task is a challenge for all skill levels. Cuboro marble run sets are much more expensive than some other choices. The Cuboro Basis Set has 30 blocks and retails for around $150. The Cuboro Standard Set contains 54 blocks and retails for around $213. Even though they are expensive, these marble runs are well made and can provide enjoyment for many years as your children grow and gain skill in special perception and 3D design.
Quercetti Marble Run
Marble runs by Quercetti are among the less expensive marble run toys out there. This educational toy company makes plastic marble tracks that are easy to assemble and very durable. Because the parts are made of plastic, they are less expensive than the wooden marble runs. Unlike some of the other companies, Quercetti makes it a bit easier to get marbles up to speed by using sloped rails. The connection pieces are just cylinders with holes going from top to bottom and the marbles gain their speed by traveling on sloped rails. The following is a list of some of the Quercetti products available:
- Quercetti Basic Set – Includes 45 pieces and retails for approximately $17. This set can come with solid or transparent pieces.
- Quercetti Vortis Set – Includes 80 pieces and retails for approximately $19-$20.
- Quercetti Motor Set – Includes 117 pieces and a motorized marble return system to return marbles to the top of the marble run track. This model retails for around $45.
- Quercetti Marble Run Vortex – Includes 220 pieces and retails for around $50.
Other Marble Run Toys
The marble runs described here are just a few of the options out there. There are many other brands and companies that make similar products. No matter what kind of marble run you get, your children will have hours of fun with this toy.The concept of a marble run has transferred over into board games as well. The old classic Mousetrap by Hasbro is a good example.