Are your kids fascinated with marbles? Those little balls have a mind of their own and tend to end up in places you can’t even imagine, yet they are as popular as ever!
[amazon box=”B00S2XPFVQ” template=”vertical” title=”Tumble Trax Magnetic Marble Run”]With a lot of so called educational toys, you are sometimes left scratching your head wondering what exactly your child is learning. But with this magnetic marble run, I could genuinely see the educational value.
Marbles are a vintage toy that just don’t age. Toy makers are constantly finding new and engaging ways to reinvent this classic toy. The Tumble Trax Magnetic Marble Run from Learning Resources, is one such reinvention.
See also: 10 Best Marble Run Toys
One of the coolest STEM toys I’ve had the pleasure of testing out this year, the Tumble Trax teaches kids a little bit about engineering and design. You have to arrange a variety of large foam shapes on your fridge, in such a way that the marbles roll down.
Learning Resources are an educational toy brand that make everything from math games to kitchen sets. If your child received this as a gift, you would be very impressed, but like everything it has flaws. Let’s review.
Unboxing the Magnetic Marble Run
The box isn’t too big and once you’ve removed the extra packing cardboard inside, everything fits back inside easily for storage. The tracks for the marble run are made of thick foam with a transparent plastic ledge, where the marble runs along. There’s one holder foam shape for catching the marble at the end of the run, one large circle foam shape and the rest are either rectangle or curved.
What You Get In The Box
10 x Activity Cards
Check out my video review below to see the Tumble Trax in action.
How It Works
To play, you simply just stick the magnetic foam shapes to the fridge and slide them about to make a track for the marble to run. When the marble runs off and falls on the ground, your child learns they need to adjust the track. It’s a trial and error process. The activity cards give you ideas and instructions for some interesting designs, but we just made up our own. A lot the the designs need a fair amount of space, so are really only suitable if you have a whiteboard at home or school.
It comes with 4 yellow and green marbles, that unfortunately look like gum balls, so are a choking hazard for younger toddlers or babies.
To over come this problem, we decided to use Maltesers instead of marbles. They are the exact same size as the marbles and roll the exact same way. So worst case scenario my son gets a mouthful of chocolate. I would leave the Maltesers in the fridge first, so they are extra hard, because after a few runs, they start to melt. The magnetic marble run is designed for kids age 5 to 9 years, but my 3 year old had great fun with it (or eating the Maltesers).
[amazon box=”B00S2XPFVQ” template=”avgen” title=”Tumble Trax Magnetic Marble Run”]Problem solving is the main skill that gets developed, because kids will try their hardest to get that marble into the bottom foam pocket. This type of learning all comes under the umbrella of STEM learning and critical thinking.
The ten activity cards illustrate how to position the tracks, though many of them need a wide horizontal position which is difficult for a refrigerator. Some of the cards have little challenges such as: “Build a track where the two marbles collide and still reach the goal”. They are a nice guide to help kids along with the creative process of designing a marble run of their own.
The Learning Resources Tumble Trax is a fun STEM toy for school or home that kids of all ages will enjoy.