I’ve always liked making toys multifunctional. In fact my kids often seem to have more fun making up their own uses for them than they do playing with them in the “official” manner. Take the Skylanders figures for example: they had soon made up all sorts of imaginary games involving the Legendary Skylanders and a range of different scenarios.
Last weekend, after spending the morning working on a rather complex puzzle, we kicked back and spent the afternoon setting up a marble run. While we have had our fair share of purpose-built marble run (from $30 on Amazon) fun they always seemed pretty tame compared to the sorts of inventions you see online.
Taking a leaf out of my kid’s book I set up a marble run using their Hot Wheels track (from $15 on Amazon). We have a pretty good collection of track that has accumulated over the years and after a few experiments I realized it would be perfect for sending marbles down.
As you can see in the video we managed to get a pretty sweet run going that started in the hall and ended up in the living room table. At first it can seem a little tricky to get the marbles to cope with each corner and loop but a little perseverance and patience soon paid off.
After a day spent tweaking our setup we decided to invest in a few key pieces.
- Hot Wheels Big Air Jump: This is great for getting enough momentum into your marble system to keep the marbles going for longer. It also means you can include climbs back up over furniture.
- Hot Wheels Starter Set: This is good to extend the distance of your Hot Wheels marble run. The corners in this set are particularly good as their banked sides keeps the marbles on the track even at high speeds.
- Hot Wheels Flip Drop Set: This adds some novelty to the marble run with its bridge and sloped sections. It also includes a jump that if set up right can work for marbles too.
By the end of the weekend the kids were coming up with all sorts of ideas for their car track marble run, from the ingenious to the insane. They’ve still not convinced me to do their “flaming jump of death” that involves a circle of fire, but in the summer I’ve promised we can try it outside.
The final novelty of setting up these marble runs is to see which of their Hot Wheels cars will cope with the circuits they’ve created. This doesn’t last for long though and they are soon back adding more jumps and curves in their marble master plan.