When my 10 year-old friend saw the GraviTrax boxes he said, “We have this at school! It’s a really fun game, I’m gonna teach you.” And he did. After telling me how popular it was at school, he got out the design guide and showed me how to “read” the drawings to place some of the 100+ pieces and unique action parts (in the Starter-Set) to build beginner to advanced marble runs. Snapping together the base grid reminds me that this innovative STEM building set is made by Ravensburger, the iconic puzzle maker. Kids tap spacial orientation skills as they match the guide in placing height, directional, launch, land and finish tiles to name a few. Since my instructor was experienced with GraviTrax, we moved from the second beginner build to the hardest challenge which involved adding 2 transparent levels for our build and 3 marbles going down different paths with a switch, free fall, and magnetic cannon to propel the marbles. “When there’s 3 marbles they go at exactly the same time which is really cool!” Even as we used the guide, we had plenty of opportunity for problem solving and working out the solutions together. We talked about how kids can build language skills through creating different track systems dependent on the laws of physics. He told me about playing with GravitTrax in the classroom and he needed “to communicate to explain how you’re building it step by step and why it’s important to do it,” with classmates who were new to the building process. He sure did a good job with me. We had plenty of fun and flexibility to create our own builds with the Starter-Pack but enjoyed adding the “Expansion Trax” Expansion Hammer” and “Expansion Cannon” to embellish the track and whip the marbles through the track, amping up the speed. Kids can extend their play with the GraviTrax free app that lets users design and build marble runs in digital form, trying out new race track systems within the app and watching it on their device.

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