Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Marbleocity Skate Park

Marbleocity Skate Park

Spring 2017 Toys
Ages: 12 & Up
Manufacturer: PlayMonster
Price: $59.99

The Marbleocity Skate Park Maker Kit is a chance for kids to build a hand-crank-operated wooden marble run while learning a little about the physics that make skateboard tricks work. The design of the marble run is reminiscent of a skateboard park; marbles are raised to the top by a series of gears and follow by a switch one of two paths back to the start. The paths include steep drops, as well as rails that require centripetal force to work. The assembly manual includes an eight-page, full-color comic that gives further detail on the physics behind the rolling marbles.

The real fun of the Skate Park is in the build. The 80+ wooden pieces come in laser-cut flat panels that break apart to gradually form a very three-dimensional structure. The assembly instructions split the complex build into five, one-hour sessions, though realistically it can be completed in slightly less time for the truly committed. The build requires careful attention to detail; a square is provided for getting the corners just right, and pieces need to be fitted tightly together (and occasionally aided with a bit of white glue). In our test build, initially one of the paths was impassable, which led to an enlightening and entirely satisfying round of troubleshooting and repair, to which the lightweight but strong wood held up admirably.

Once the Skate Park is complete, kids have an impressive toy to show off to friends or just to pass the time in a moment of reflection. The completed kit can be paired with other Marbleocity kits for even more elaborate marble runs, or the gears in the Skate Park can be connected to a motor to free up a hand for placing and redirecting the marbles as they wind through the paths.

Emily Crawford   ©2017 Parents' Choice
Emily holds a BSE in electrical engineering and computer science from Duke University and a Master's in computer engineering from Georgia Tech. She is a homeschooling parent and lives with her husband, three children, five cats, and thousands of LEGOs in Blacksburg, Virginia.

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