For as long as I can remember, there was this couple that my parents had always been friends with. And by my saying “as long as I can remember”, I mean that the wife was the person who drove my mom to the hospital when she was in labor with me. So…a long time.
One of my earliest memories of Bruce (the husband) was of him making these wooden dancing toys. They’re kind of hard to describe – it’s a mannequin on a stick that dances when you tap it against a wooden platform. Anyhow, my brother and I always enjoyed visiting them and pulling out those ‘dolls’. Later he began painting them to match the features of the person that he was going to give them to. Such a great personalized gift.
He also dabbled in making other wooden toys, and one that we have had for a long time was a marble tower that rang a bell at the end. That’s it in the photo above, painted red and full of marbles. It resides at my mother’s house and gets pulled out by the girls every time we visit, usually on the first day. Such a simple toy, but it brings them so much enjoyment. But it has one flaw. Well, not so much a flaw but a limitation – it only has one track. And I have two daughters. I’m sure you can see where this is going.
But what if I told you that I found a product that not only solved this dilemma, it also upgraded the experience and made a fair racing game out of it? That’s where Techno Gears Marble Mania Dual Speedway 2.0 came into play. Just look at all the parts and pieces this thing comes with! This is no simply toy!
Once the pieces were sorted out and the instructions consulted, construction began. Both of our daughters (ages 10 & 11) were able to assemble this on their own (with only a few consultations with dad). By the end of the first evening, we were a little over half done.
Unlike some of the other construction sets we’ve encountered, these pieces snapped together (and more importantly came apart) very easily thanks to their unique design.
And as I mentioned earlier, the instructions are well-drawn and easy to comprehend for anyone over 8 years of age. In fact, there are no written instructions, only photos!
On the second night construction was finally complete. This particular set is quite large once assembled, and in this case bigger really is better! At the base is an electronic ‘announcer’ that counts down to the start of the race, and two spring-loaded canisters launch your marble to the top at the press of a button.
But if a picture is worth 1,000 words, then this quick video of the speedway in action should be priceless.
Techno Gears Marble Mania Dual Speedway 2.0 is a product of The Learning Journey International, maker of a number of great educational toys, all sorted by age range. Pick up a speedway or one of their other marble tracks on Amazon before they sell out for the holidays!
As for the marble track that our friend made? It’ll stay at “Grammy’s” while we play with the speedway here.
Do you use toys and games to make learning fun?