Marble Run

So far the most-played-with toy from Christmas has been the HABA Marble Run. Henry has literally wanted a marble run for his entire life. For years, whenever we go into a store that had one, he’d play for it for the entire time, and would have to be dragged away. If we ever got a toy catalog that had a marble run, he’d get a pen and very carefully circle the picture. I kept fretting about the marbles being choking hazards but finally decided to get over myself (I mean, we’ve never put up child gates or blocked off the toxic-cleaning-supplies cabinet, what was I worrying about marbles for?) and get him the marble run.

If your kid is at all into blocks or trains, this will be a winner in your house too. We got the small building set (which has plenty, really) and the impulse track (for added flavor). The boys can literally spend hours building and rebuilding marble runs (with Zuzu intently watching, as you can see above), and it is riduculously satisfying to set the marbles going from the top and have them roll and knock and drop to exactly where you want them to go. I also like that there are a ton of add-ons we can buy for this, which make for good presents later (as we’ve seen with all the train track parts we’ve added on over the years). I’d rather get a small add-on part than some whole new toy thing, usually (less clutter). I will also say that the marble runs don’t always work, but then it’s also ridiculously satisfying to redo little parts of them until they do work (which I’m sure is teaching some principle of physics or geometry or something).

Comments (6)

  1. LoriO January 9, 2009 at 11:27 pm

    I love low tech toys. If I had kids, that’s the kind of toy I’d be getting them.

    You need to photograph Zuzu in that chair, wearing that coat, against the far wall. It will look like baby head and feet sticking out of the wall!

  2. Elizabeth January 9, 2009 at 11:57 pm

    Yes, I have to say that she looks adorable in that chair, watching her brothers like that. We have the Quadrilla – have you seen that? – but this looks better. We’ll have to check it out.

  3. Julie January 10, 2009 at 11:41 am

    Yeah, can you tell my favorite color is green?

    I have seen the Quadrilla, and I went back and forth trying to decide. Finally a guy at a toy store told me that, after setting both up pretty much every day, he likes the Haba one better. And I read some reviews online that said the Quadrilla one has a tendency to fall apart after you’ve set it all up. This one does too, since it’s just blocks, but I guess I’d be annoyed if I snapped together some elaborate marble run and it came crashing down.

  4. Annette January 11, 2009 at 9:36 am

    My son begged us for a “marble maze” and finally received one for his birthday. It’s the plastic kind with pieces that snap together. I’m amazed at his perception when he imagines how he wants the marble to roll, and then he builds the maze with the right pieces (he’s six). I know he’s learning and I’ll take that over a video game anyday.

  5. Kate January 13, 2009 at 12:37 pm

    What a great idea! Now I’m just trying to work out when I could wrangle this as a gift. With birthdays in November and December I have to come up with an alternative. Maybe a really great Easter treat!

  6. Julie January 13, 2009 at 2:38 pm

    Kate, your kids would love this at the end of this year, too, if you want to wait and make it a Christmas or birthday present. Frankly, Dave and I like playing with it. I think the ages listed on the box are 3-10 (!) so you might as well wait and save it until the end of the year. (I have to say I’m glad that fate intervened to make the kids’ birthdays nicely spread out: February, June, August. Paticus has the worst birthday cluster ever — I think it’s three on one day and one a few days later).

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