Bill - 3 years ago
This is our first hands-on experience with the Gravitrax system. We've seen it before in a local independent toy store and thought it was really cool from the display but actually getting to use it turned out to be such a fun activity. Some background to consider: Little one is 6. This is relevant later. [We are below the suggested age] Overview: Gravitrax is a marble maze X 1000. It has brick building vibes. A great display of physics in action and a wonderful afternoon STEM activity. Packaging: Nice sturdy box. TONS of parts. Good part identification. 1st Time Setup: There is a lot to get up and running. Make sure if you are planning on this as an activity with your child block off a good amount of dedicated time, it is no quick task. You have to assemble support structure pieces to use later, do some minor part sorting. Arrange the foundation board. Make sure you have enough space and a hard surface! I can imagine trying to work with this on a plush carpet could possibly damage the foundation board when applying pressure. If I were to have handed this over to my child without any guidance she would have been overwhelmed to say the least. Again, we are under the target age so this is expected. Just keep in mind if you have a younger child you will need to be involved. Building: Once you are setup with all the pre-requisites you are ready to start your 1st build. The instruction manual provides 3 levels of difficulty starting with easy... which is exactly what it is. This is the best place to start to understand how instructions translate to the positioning of the foundation board. Once we worked out the kinks and understood how placement and height are represented we were on our way. Once finished with our first build, little one wanted to jump to "expert" [we didn't, but I appreciated the ambition] The medium skill level build was in some ways easier a task than the 1st because we were familiar how the instructions were represented and correlated to the actual pieces. At this time we still have not built the expert level. Parent perspective: Gravitrax is awesome but I do think you need to really know who you are getting it for. It requires patience, problem solving, long attention span, general interest in STEM related activities. I don't think this is a gift you just randomly give to any child. As long as you know your audience you'll be sure to have some quality engaging fun :) We continue to tinker with the pieces try custom builds and my wife and I have even independently broke out the set just because we enjoy it as adults. The 8-99 age range is very accurate to the product. If I had to consider anything lacking I would say, I wish that the manual added some applicable simple physics facts to convey to children what components were doing what in a build. I think that would be an excellent educational value add to the product TLDR: Awesome STEM toy, make sure the kid has patience, general interest in STEM toys and a long attention span, lots of fun for kids and even adults. If they are at the bottom of the target age or below you WILL need to be involved. Full disclosure, as an early reviewer, I received this product in exchange for my opinion. I've been lucky enough to participate in this opportunity but I keep my word of accurate and unbiased opinions, I don't think it really benefits anyone to be anything but genuine. I hope I was able to provide some meaningful insight!