For generations children have been creating elaborate marble runs, racing those marbles without even realizing that, as they play, they are gaining skills that will help them for their entire lives. At Bella Luna Toys, we’ve long been fans of the amazingly versatile and open-ended play opportunities that marble runs provide. Not only do they allow children to construct, manipulate, engineer, explore, and experiment, they also provide an introduction to STEM skills and early engineering principles.
As kids build, tinker, race, and roll, the benefits of playing with marble runs truly stack up. Here are some of the ways that our wooden marble runs benefit children’s learning and development while they play.
Marble Runs Boost Creativity
Because of their open-ended nature and the limitless possibilities that these toys provide, they are great creativity enhancers. As kids try new approaches and make different types of tracks, they are using their creative thinking. There is no one right way to create and the ability to make changes and imagine different outcomes, makes marble run play even more fun and is the key skill that expands creativity.
Marble Runs Help Develop Problem-Solving Skills
An offshoot of creativity is the ability to solve problems using resilience and grit. And marble runs develop this in spades. Each time a marble bounces off the track, your child will need to determine why and solve that problem. When the marble gets stuck or when it moves too fast or too slow…each scenario will make your child wonder and think about why it is happening and how they can make it better. The more situations and problems they encounter as they develop their tracks and runs, the more opportunities they’ll have to develop creative solutions. And every time they figure it out, they will experience the pride of seeing challenges to the end.
Marble Runs Enhance Motor Skills
Taking a small marble and placing it on just the right spot and piecing various track parts together offers big opportunities to enhance and improve motor skills and hand-eye coordination. As children focus on reaching, assembling, and grasping skills, the repeated motions of dropping the marble and assembling the track stimulate muscle memory and repetitive coordination. Plus, cleaning up and putting things away is a great way to move their bodies while learning to take care of their toys.
Marble Runs Develop Spatial Awareness and Engineering Skills
That tiny marble has to fit into all kinds of small spaces, tubes, and blocks. Not to mention making sure the track is set at the correct angle to keep the marble rolling. These actions encourage kids to look at space and dimensions so that they can begin to get an intuitive sense for how the marble moves through space, developing spatial placement and awareness, cornerstones for engineering. All of the different ways that a marble run’s pieces fit together, encourages experimentation with cause and effect. These trials and errors will demonstrate key engineering concepts like inertia and gravity that will either keep the marble rolling along or stop it on its track.
There is a lot to love about these toys from how they not only inspire lots of new skills and benefits but grow with your children, changing and adapting as they do. Our collection of Marble Runs from HABA and Grimm’s Spiel & Holz are also made from sustainably sourced wood, meaning not only are they thoughtfully crafted but will withstand years of rough and tumble play!