A picture of the GraviTrax  starter set.

As a mother of 5 living in a small home, I’m picky about the toys we give to our children for birthdays and Christmas. We simply don’t have room for junk. At the same time, I also encourage as much screen free play as possible. Here are my honest thoughts on the GraviTrax starter set after a year of use in our home.

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What are Gravitrax Sets?

GraviTrax is marble run based construction toy system developed by Ravensburger (a puzzle and game company). It combines physics, engineering, and imagination to create unique tracks.

What Makes GraviTrax Sets Different From Standard Marble Runs?

GraviTrax sets itself apart from standard marble runs through its modular, educational, and STEM-focused approach, as well as its emphasis on quality and expandability.

Why Is GraviTrax Considered A True STEM Toy?

GraviTrax is not a pretender when it comes to its STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) cred. Here’s why:

Physics Concepts

GraviTrax functionality revolves around basic physics principles such as gravity, kinetic energy, momentum, and potential energy. You’ve basically got science lesson plans for weeks based off of one toy. Kids can observe these principles in action as marbles move through the tracks, teaching them about the laws of physics in an engaging and hands-on manner.

Engineering and Design

Building a GraviTrax marble run involves engineering and design skills. Children must plan and construct their tracks, considering factors like slope, height, and the placement of other elements. This encourages critical thinking and problem-solving.

Mathematical Concepts

GraviTrax allows users to experiment with mathematical concepts, such as angles, trajectories, and rough estimations related to the speed and timing of marbles.

Hands-On Learning

If it’s not hands on, it’s not a toy! GraviTrax allows kids to actively experiment and discover what designs are successful and which ones simply don’t work.

What’s In The GraviTrax Starter Kit?

  • Instructions, construction plan & task booklet
  • 4 base plates
  • 2 transparent levels
  • 6 balls
  • 40 large height tiles & 12 small height tiles
  • 21 curves
  • 3 junctions
  • 2 switches
  • 1 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
  • inserts for basic tiles
  • 2 catchers
  • 1 freefall
  • 1 splash
  • 1 landing

What My Kids Thought Of The Gravitrax Starter Set

A child plays with GraviTrax.

A Lot of Trial and Error

It took my younger kids a little bit of time to get a hang of the physics of the GraviTrax set. After a few minutes, it was clear that they needed some adult guidance to speed the learning curve up. Once we demonstrated how it worked, they were able to pick up on it. My older kids who have extensive lego experience were able to start building complex structures from the start.

Open Play

My kids liked using the instructions in the beginning, but wanted to dive into their own designs after a while. I appreciate that GraviTrax is an open play toy that lets them use their ingenuity and creativity.

Limited Pieces

With 5 kids, it’s difficult for my kids to use the basic GraviTrax together because of the lack of pieces. (For most most family sizes, this shouldn’t be a problem!) My kids end up arguing over what they want to build, but lack the pieces to do their own separate creations.

Space Constraints

Okay, this isn’t my kids issue, but is a concern for me, and might be for you as well! When in use, GraviTrax constructions can take up a lot of space. On a bright note, when in storage, the box is not too large and takes up about the same amount of space as a board game.

Potential Drawbacks Of The GraviTrax Set

While the GraviTrax Starter Set is a great construction toy, it also has some potential drawbacks to consider, you’ll want to consider if these are deal breakers for you:

Price

GraviTrax sets and expansion packs can be relatively expensive compared to other marble runs or construction toys on the market. The cost of building a comprehensive GraviTrax collection with multiple expansion packs can add up.

Learning Curve

While GraviTrax is designed to be educational, some younger children may initially find it challenging to understand and assemble certain track designs without adult assistance. It may require some trial and error before they fully grasp the concepts.

Pieces and Marbles

GraviTrax components are relatively small, and the marbles are metal, which can pose a choking hazard for very young children. It’s important to ensure that the set is used by children who are old enough to handle the small pieces safely.

Age Considerations

The GraviTrax Starter Set is recommended for children aged 8 and up. Even at age 8 this set can be challenging for some children.

Safety Concerns

GraviTrax contains small parts, including metal marbles, which could be a choking hazard for young children. This means its important to follow the manufacturer’s age recommendations and supervise younger children closely if they are using GraviTrax components.

Playing with GraviTrax.

Why GraviTrax Could Quickly Become a Money Pit

While the Starter Set provides a good introduction, many kids (especially older ones) may find that they want to purchase expansion packs to unlock additional features and challenges.

The good, (or the bad news) is that there are tons of expansion sets for GraviTrax. This can increase the use your child gets out of the toy by adding to what they can design and experiment with. I would recommend waiting for the expansion sets to go on sale as they can add up quickly.

Why You Should Consider Purchasing Your Kids Quality STEM Toys

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) toys are beneficial for children’s intellectual development for several reasons:

Building Curiosity and Interest

STEM toys spark curiosity and stimulate interest in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics from an early age. They make learning about these subjects fun and engaging, encouraging children to explore and ask questions about the world around them.

Hands-On Learning

STEM toys offer hands-on learning experiences that allow children to interact with concepts and principles directly. This hands-on approach helps them grasp abstract concepts more effectively and remember what they’ve learned.

Problem-Solving Skills

STEM toys often involve solving problems and overcoming challenges. They encourage critical thinking, logical reasoning, and creativity, skills that are valuable not only in STEM fields but in many aspects of life.

Encouraging Persistence and Resilience

Many STEM activities and experiments may not work perfectly the first time. STEM toys teach children to persevere, experiment, and iterate until they achieve the desired results. This resilience is an important life skill.

Real-World Application

Many STEM toys simulate real-world scenarios and problems. This helps children understand how STEM concepts are applied in practical, everyday situations, making learning more relevant and relatable.

Final Thoughts

The GraviTrax starter set checks all the boxes when in comes to a quality STEM toy. It’s an expertly designed set with fantastic re-playability. My own caveat would be if you’ve got younger kids, you may want to hold off for a bit due to the steep learning curve and smaller pieces. Also, make sure you have the adequate space to set it up. If you are looking for a fun building toy for the younger set, check out my honest Tegu block review.

What are your favorite STEM Toys For Kids? Add a comment!

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