Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Techno Gears Marble Mania Raceway {review}

Disclosure: I got this product as part of an advertorial.

When given the opportunity to review Techno Gears Marble Mania Raceway 2.0, I immediately thought of my 7 year old.  He especially enjoys any 'toy' that allows him to build, create and manipulate.  He is very STEM oriented, and does well following directions, but also improvising.

When I showed him the Raceway (which retails for $39.99) he was excited and immediately got to work.  He is systematic, so he had to examine the box thoroughly.  He pointed out to me that the set is for ages 6+ (because you know, his brother is only 4 years old) and that there are 230 pieces.  He looked through the instruction booklet, then dumped all the pieces out.

Techno Gears Marble Mania Raceway Review

He spent about an hour working, before he stopped for a dinner break, then resumed work on and off for another couple of hours, with me helping occasionally.  By the end he needed a little more help with the tracks, as he was getting tired and frustrated.  We found the support brackets for the tracks to be difficult to lock into place, but flimsy.  I bent two or three just trying to assemble it per the instructions.  Now this kid is really good at following directions, but all those little black squares can connect to one gray piece in several different ways, and there were times we'd have to backtrack and turn them around so future pieces would fit correctly.  At the very end, he was just placing the decorative gears anywhere they'd fit, because he was tired of turning the black pieces around and didn't care since they weren't functional.

Techno Gears Marble Mania Raceway Review

Techno Gears Marble Mania Raceway Review

Once the track is complete, there is a two-step process to propel the marbles (10 come with the set) to the top of the track.  The marbles spin and roll through gears and tracks and end up back down at the bottom ready to launch again.  There is little variation in the course the marble follows--at the top of the track, they go through a divider that will send them one way or the other, but it alternates regularly, so there's no surprise at the route.

I will point out that it is fairly fragile.  The tracks come off easily if accidentally bumped, and you certainly can't leave this in a room with a toddler.  Ask me how I know!

The instructions were colorful and thorough, with close-ups of many steps.  However, I think the boys would have enjoyed something with more freedom to create different tracks or paths.  I'm also not sure why it is called a raceway.  It's set up so that one marble is launched at a time.  My 4 year old liked dropping several marbles on each side where the track splits and seeing which marble would "win" the race.  The 7 year old decided it was more fun to time the marbles and see how long it took to get to the bottom.  We found the average time was approximately 11 seconds.  I liked the concept of the toy, but overall the boys would love more flexibility with it.  That being said, I think it's a great opportunity for experimental kids to really put trial and error to work and see if they can come up with their own working marble tracks!

Techno Gears Marble Mania Raceway Review

To learn more about the company The Learning Journey International, be sure to check out their website, because they have some interesting puzzles, games and toys on there!  You can also read their blog or find them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, or Pinterest.

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

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