“ Brand: Cheatwell Games „
This toy keeps my 2 and 4 year old entertained for quite a while and is one of the few games that they will happily play together. The set consists of connectors, tubes, spinning wheels and various slides and shoots so you can build many different configurations of marble run. There are enough pieces in the pack that you do not need to buy any more. There are marbles included in the set but not really enough. Be warned that if you add more marbles, they need to be the correct size otherwise they get stuck going through some of the features. Disadvantage is that the structures are not very stable once built and if they fall over, they tend to break and need to be rebuilt. Having said that, the children love both building the runs and then sending the marbles down. It would be useful if they had included some example structures in a booklet so that they could copy them. Other point to mention is that this is a very noisy toy, especially if you have a number of marbles going through at the same time.
Before Christmas my Grandmas contacted me asking what herself and my Uncle could purchase for my son for Christmas. Having had a look on amazon I sent her a few ideas and my Grandma being my Grandma didn't choose between the three I had given her but instead with my Uncle purchased all three things between them! One of the items which they bought for my son was the marbutopia marble run set.
==What is it?==
The marbutopia marble run set is a 52 piece build and learn play set in which you can create various structures and see what happens with the marbles when they are placed on there. The product is suitable for children aged three years and older.
The product comes packed in quite a large cardboard box which features a plastic carry handle on the top for ease of transportation. This isn't the kind of thing that I would allow my son to take to his Grandma's or something despite the carry handle as I do think the box is a bit big to be carrying around. On the front of the box there is a large picture of a constructed marble run and you can see that the colours of the kit are bright and look to be of a high quality. Inside the box you have all of the pieces, some marbles, an instruction sheet and a small activity book as well.
It took my son a few days to get round to actually opening up this set as he had so many toys for Christmas. Once he opened the set he poured all of pieces on to the floor and I have to say I was quite impressed with the variety of the set. There are all different kinds of shaped pieces and they are various colours too so we have red, blue, green and yellow which I think make for an interesting construction piece. The pieces are made from a good quality tough plastic as well and so they feel really sturdy to the touch.
Initially my son and I had a look at the instruction sheet but it was really difficult to see how they had made their structures as it wasn't done in a step by step way so my son was happy just to get on with making his own structures to test out. To be honest I prefer this as he is solving problems as he goes along as well as making decisions about where a certain piece would be best placed and whilst a lot of it is trial and error I do believe he is working on some valuable skills as he goes along. I have watched my son make lots of structures using this kit and he will really take his time and then add a marble and if it goes as he wants he will attempt to make it even bigger but he is always testing it as he goes along to make sure it works as he wants.
The only real issue I have seen my son have with this set is that sometimes he wants to build his structures quite high and there just isn't enough of a balance at the bottom or somewhere for it to rest. He worked his own solution out for this by balancing the top on his little table but I do think it would be nice if the kit had more pieces. I do know that you can buy starter sets which come with around 14 pieces each but these cost around £7-8 each and so it starts to become quite expensive I feel.
What I think is a nice touch in this set is the inclusion of a little activity book which although may be considered slightly young is something my son has enjoyed looking at and completing. In the book you are asked to say how many pieces there are, how many are red or yellow for example as well as being given a few activities to try out such as making a structure using all or half of the pieces in the set.
I really do think that this is a great set which is not only fun for my son to do but which offers real educational benefits and skills in terms of problems solving and hand eye coordination as well. What is nice is that a child can take the set at their own pace so a younger child could just make a small structure and test it out and build it bigger as they gain more confidence. I also think it is a great way to interact with your child as you work on something together and ask each other questions such as "I wonder what would happen if we put this one here?" and such like.
My grandma actually purchased this kit for about £13.00 from amazon before Christmas which I think was a great price to pay. The price has actually jumped to just short of £20.00 on amazon at the moment but I would say it is still a good set to look out for and a great fun thing to do with real educational benefits.
Thank you for reading my review!