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The Galt Mega Marble Run

Galt Mega Marble Run
As a parent, I find myself repulsed by the poor entertainment available to our children today. So many young ones find themselves plonked in front of the TV or a games console way before they should be, in my opinion. As for the programmes they watch, so many of them are just silly little characters babbling about nothing in words that are questionably part of the English language. I am a firm believer in traditional toys, and learning through play, not through the mouths of a pig with both eyes in one side of its head (which is just creepy at best). I had a games console aged 8, but I was limited as to when I was allowed to play with it. Now, it just seems children do not have the limits we had.

When I went Christmas shopping for my son, I made it my mission to buy him toys that would support his development for the next year, to avoid me spending a fortune on new things every couple of months. It was during my last shopping trip that I found a new toy that took me back to my own youth: the Galt Mega Marble Run.

Galt Toys are the brains behind a variety of wonderful toys. I previously bought the Galt Playnest and Gym for my little one, and it really was as good as the reviews I read promised it would be. So naturally, seeing the Galt brand immediately raised my expectations.

At a rather affordable £29.99, I figured the Mega Marble Run deserved my attention. The set boasts an enormous 100 pieces, including paddle wheels, a staircase, two-way chutes, a ‘wiggly bell’ chute and even vortexes down which your little marbles will find their way.

One of my personal policies is to test every toy my son will come into contact with – a combination of the ‘safety first’ approach and me being in denial that I am aging by the day. So when I put him down for his afternoon nap, I began to explore the possibilities the pretty-coloured plastic pieces had to offer.

Inside the Marble RunBecause the pieces slot together so easily, you can quickly build a very complex marble run with little effort – as an adult anyway. For children, because of the so many different combinations, they can start out building a little, cute and easy marble run, eventually building up to something bigger. If they don’t like it, it is so easy to dismantle the work so far and start again.

When he eventually woke, I was still in the middle of playing, so I decided to get him involved, even though he is a lot younger than the product’s suggested age of four plus. He is quite a disciplined child, and so I trusted him not to devour the marbles and other pieces. Nevertheless, I supervised him and showed him how to build a marble run.

He picked up on the way they fitted together slowly at first, but got the hang of it within minutes and before we knew it, we had lost an hour testing various wacky ideas. The bright primary colours caught his eye and he was just completely in awe of what he was making. I don’t think he could believe that he created something for a marble to ‘play’ in and he was having a fabulous time!

Although he is still too young to play with it unsupervised, I agreed it could be his ‘early Christmas present’ that Santa left him to make sure he continued to behave until the fat man really does arrive. This new ‘mega’ set with squillions of pieces does have predecessors: a 60 piece set for £19.99 RRP and a 30 piece set for £10.99 RRP. Each has many possibilities but nowhere near as many as the 100 piece Mega Marble Run.

Developmentally, building the marble run does a lot for your child. It encourages their co-ordination and fine motor skills when they build with the small but robust pieces, while also helping them to think, improvise, and create using their imagination (we call this cognitive learning). The only issue I have with this set is how addictive it is, and for Galt, that certainly isn’t a bad thing! It just means that every once in a while, the housework will just have to wait.

In all, this has to be one of my favourite products I have obtained for my son to date. It is colourful, robust, and easy for him to play with, but my favourite aspect of all is: it is not electronic. No watching mind-numbing images on a screen, no shoot-‘em-up violence, no batteries or plugs. It is just pure, traditional fun. In a world where we are surrounded by negativity and technology, this toy reminds us of everything that is, and was, good about being a child. I would definitely recommend it to my mummy friends for their tiny people.

As if this wasn’t exciting enough, I stumbled across their ‘marble pinball’ play set… Perhaps for his next birthday?

About Stephanie Ward