Hands down, this is my favorite educational toy. I have years of fond memories spending hours playing with my son building with this marble maze toy. The first maze we built was small and based on one of the picture examples that came with the set. After that, we were off! Maze after maze, we came up with a new design each time.
We built in increments; testing along the way. My son's face would light up with each successful run. He would suggest an improvement and then was determined to make his vision into a reality. It was a never ending puzzle that we were always excited to solve.
As I reflect on those days, I realize our time together laid the foundation for his love for problem solving. Through the hours of playing, he learned basic engineering principles and developed logical reasoning and spatial thinking skills.
Logical Reasoning Skills
There are seven different wooden blocks - each with a different function. You learn how to use each piece as you go. For example, if the marble is running down a piece of track and you want it to roll through a piece, you may choose a green block. Children will learn through trial and error which blocks to choose in each situation. Want to speed up the marble? Add in a ramp!
Spatial Thinking Skills
My son and I would plan our structure together while we built. How can we add a straight rail here? What block should we use so the marble will drop all the way through to the bottom? Can we add the twirl in if we move the supports over? We would challenge ourselves each time to build it taller or more complex.
I remember our mantra was, "we must have determination." We had some epic failures but they always resulted in a new and better design. These distinct let downs were important lessons and helped begin to teach him the determination necessary to overcome obstacles.
Develop a Musical Ear
Over the years, we added extension sets to our collection. My favorite is the Music Motion Blocks set which includes 5 xylophone keys - G, A, B, C, D. This set added the new challenge of incorporating melodies into our design.