Product Type: ELC Construction Toy
Newest Review: ... a great one although not particularly the brand. This toy is available at both ELC and Mother Care for £22. They do also sell an extensi... more
Lovely marble run.
ELC Extreme Marble Madness
Member Name: broxi3781
ELC Extreme Marble Madness
Date: 11/08/10, updated on 12/08/10 (242 review reads)
Advantages: see review
Disadvantages: see review
Age level - Wonderful from any age you are certain your child will not put marbles in their mouth. Mine have used this from ages 2 and 1 1/2, but only with constant supervision when very young. ELC's suggested age range is 3+, but of course you will have to adjust this for your own child. If the child still puts small objects in their mouth, they can not use this alone.
We have the electronic version of this, which is exactly the same except it has a yellow plastic base which would light up and make noises as marbles passed through. Unfortunately, the electronic bit was faulty, and I imagine that is why they no longer include them. It does still add stability to the unit.
I am not certain the exact number of pieces, and no longer have the box, but it does include enough to make a decent set up, as shown. The large green tower shaped part has a handle you wind up that will lift marbles to the top. There is also a loop the loop piece, two see through parts with spinners, one slide that alternates which way the marble falls, and various tower pieces and slides. Most of the parts are lovely see through coloured plastic which catch the light nicely and allow the children to see the marbles racing through.
Advantages : The marble run helps develop problem solving skills as well as using the same part of the brain that will later work on puzzles and maths. It also develops fine motor skills. I would also say it encourages creativity as there are so many different ways to build it. More importantly though, this toy is really fun. My oldest (5) has absolutely loved this toy from the time we bough it, and still does. he has literally spent hours building, rebuilding and dropping balls down the chutes. My youngest (2) also loves it, and I expect it will be a family favourite for years to come. Thankfully, other than the electronic part, it is well made and will not break easily.
Disadvantages: Marbles pose a very serious choking risk, you must constantly supervise or be certain the child will not put marbles in the mouth. It falls apart easily and usually needs some adult help to rebuild, my son is not the only one who has spent many hours rebuilding this! It is also made to work with ELC brand marbles only, which are smaller than most. Ordinary marbles will often get stuck in the lift part, or one of the slides with small spinning bits. This means instead of picking up a bag of replacement marbles from a pound shop, you have to go to ELC to buy them. I do need some more so was looking online, but they are not offered. I believe last time I checked in store though they were £6 a bag, which I will have to fork over as I have so much invested in these sets. Besides this one, I have the basic set and the extension pack as well. The only other flaw is the top of the loop the loop is always coming off and getting lost. I do find it again, but only after much searching as it is too small. This part is also small enough to swallow, so even if you keep the marbles put away, you must also take this bit off if you leave the run set up.
I am still giving this 5 stars in spite of it's flaws just because my sons love it so much. It has brought hours and hours of joy, and as such is worth the problems to me.
Summary: Overall, a very nice toy.
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