The nice people from Ravensburger have been nice enough to provide me with a GraviTrax Starter Set for review.
GraviTrax is an intereactive track system that lets you build your own marble runs. Using gravity, magnetism and kinetics to propel your marble, you can have fun building various tracks to get your marble from the launch pad to the finish line. You can consult the instruction book and build one of the tracks listed there, or you can experiment on your own and build a track that is uniquely yours. With the many different pieces you get, you can build an endless variety of tracks...a different track every time you play. Trial and error is a big part of making your own design. Your track might look awesome and functional, but when you launch your marble, it can get stuck along the way, or jump off of the track. If this happens, you will need to adjust your track to compensate for the problem. You have to make sure that your track design provides your marble with enough speed and momentum to reach the end, without giving it curves and hills that it is unable to navigate without jumping off of the track.
My entire family has fun constructing tracks together and then trying them out. My husband and I enjoy watching our children's creativity as they come up with designs and then problem solve to correct problem areas on their track. My children are age 5, 9 and 11. After we had spent a few hours building tracks together, we put the game away and went off to do other things. I suddenly realized that I had not seen my husband in a while and went to see what he was doing. I found him in the kitchen with the GraviTrax set, busily building away on his own unique design track. So I can confidently say that this game is not just for children.
The track in the photo above is just a simple track design that I built in order to take the photo (we were too busy having fun to think about taking a photo when we were playing with it earlier). As you can see, there are track pieces, ramps and gates that you can connect together to make your own track. We have had this game for a few days now and I often find the kids getting out and playing with it. In fact, I can hear my 5 year old playing with it in the next room right now, and my 9 year old was playing with it earlier this morning. It is such an awesome toy! It holds my children's interest and encourages them to use their imagination. And it also forces them to use logical thinking and problem solving when the track doesn't function as well as it should.
This photo shows a few of the pieces that you get with your GraviTrax Starter Set. With this set you get over 100 different construction elements. Inside the box you will find instructions in English and 4 other languages (D, F, NL, E), construction plan booklet, task booklet, 4 base plates, 2 transparent levels, 6 marbles, 40 large height tiles, 12 small height tiles, 21 curves, 3 junctions, 2 switches, one 3-in-1 tile, 1 vortex, 1 launch pad, 1 magnetic cannon, 3 long tracks, 6 medium tracks, 9 short tracks, 1 finish line, 4 basic tiles and the following inserts for the basic tiles: 2 catchers, 1 freefall, 1 splash and 1 landing for a total of 122 pieces. It is not recommended for children under 3 because of the small pieces posing choking hazards. You can purchase one for your family for $59.99 HERE.