71 of 72 people found the following review helpful
on November 2, 2010
I am a psychologist who has used this toy for decades. I was thrilled to find this version, which is of excellent quality. The toy is adored by children, including special needs children. It is great fun, and stimulates creativity and problem-solving of the highest order. There are infinite possibilities, ranging from fairly simple to complex and fascinating. Kids never stop surprising me with new creative takes on it. When used with more than one child, it can facilitate social skills and cooperation, especially with adult guidance. One of the best toys I have come across in 30 years as a counselor and as a parent. It is a guaranteed winner, and adults will love it too. Buy this toy. If possible, two sets allow for many more possibilities and for exciting giant structures, especially for use with small groups of children.
43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
on August 20, 2009
We looked at Amaze-n-Marbles, which seems similar, and these are a much higher quality -- clean cuts, smooth holes, close-grained woods. The shapes are similar and if you have both they could be used together. Like the other reviewers, get the largest set you can afford. A lot of blocks go into the support of the marble track since the long tracks aren't deeply grooved enough to run a marble through once it passes the hole (if you put a long track on a flat surface, the marble goes down the slope, into the hole, then can't flow out unless the track is elevated, so if you just stagger several tracks and think you'll have an easy "waterfall" effect, it won't work, you will need spacer blocks). Regardless, it's a quality product with a satisfying feel and sound, whether the marbles or the crashing of the blocks.
29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on September 23, 2011
I first bought this toy (Master Set size) three years ago when our oldest grandchild was five. Right out of the box it seemed too difficult for me to figure out. I was very disappointed that there were no diagrams to get me started, the box simply saying that there were "thousands of combinations". I presented it to my son-in-law to try with his five-year old son, but he didn't get around to trying it during that visit.
No one was ready for it.
I just took it out again for visiting grandchildren who are 7, 7, and 4 years. They were quite excited to see how easy it was to set up and try different patterns. I could tell right away that we didn't have enough, and I bought two more Super Sets, so that everyone would have their own opportunity to reflect and discover how to get the marble to flow. It is all about the flow, isn't it?
Then I watched the youtube video on "Blocks and Marbles". Wow! I would encourage anyone interested to tune this in to be inspired. As other reviewers have said---with some toys you need to have enough to get the maximum fun. I am also thinking here about Magna-Tiles, another great toy. Today I bought two more Super Sets which I think is finally going to be "enough".
Now about the toy itself. The blocks are beautifully made and colored, amazingly smooth, nice weight in your hand, with several different shapes that can be combined to make other turns and tunnels. The Master Set comes with a cutting board of sorts with grooves cut to collect marbles at the end of the run. You could also use a plastic food storage lid. Building works best on a coffee table or the bare floor, but we've had good luck with a piece of plywood on carpet.
How does Blocks and Marbles compare to Quadrilla, which makes its own lovely collection? Well, "Blocks" doesn't have any curves and there are no "musical features" to purchase. I haven't played with it, but Quadrilla looks like you buy the components and simply configure them together.
Blocks and Marbles, on the other hand, have to be built up, like traditional block-building, and then ramps and drops are fit in for the marble flow (see youtube). The actual building seems more thoughtful, and requires more skill, since fine-motor coordination and balance are needed.
Another observation: marble runs generally promote building up, rather than knocking down, so (with 7 year olds, anyway) there is no temptation to build up in order to crash it down as is sometimes the case with typical block-building.
All in all, I could not be more enthusiatic about this toy. We are taking it out for a an upcoming adult weekend guest, and can't wait to watch the children on their next visit. If you have children over 3 (or are good at monitoring), consider this a family investment: I see teenagers building on youtube.
21 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on January 3, 2008
My whole family gets down on the floor to build with the set. I only wish we had two sets, because we set up competitive layouts. It comes with a handy bag to store the blocks and marbles and several marbles. The blocks are carved to provide slope.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2010
We ordered this as a birthday gift for our 4 year old. He loves trying to figure it out, and can make small configurations on his own. .. he loves to build, so he is very satisfied.
Where we all win, though, is that husband, myself and 8 year old are all hooked on it too, and it has turned into a family game that all of us enjoy together. It has taught us all to be patient and work together to make the next creation. We are definitely getting another set - the possibilities are endless. Of course, there is some bickering over who gets to play with it alone, and it does get knocked over, but I am impressed with the intrinsic rewards of this toy.
One last comment - it is larger than I expected - thought it was going to be smaller. But quality is amazing!
Hope this review encourages you to purchase it today,
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2010
We have had this set now for over a year, and my boys just love it!
They are now 4.5 and 5 (turning 6 in a month) and they just love their marble blocks.
They always find so many ways to put them together, and they mix it with other blocks of theirs to build up different marble runs.
I am amazed with what they come up with, and these really bring out their creativity!
It is also very well made, which is very important to us. This is a toy that will last many many years, and their own children will one day be able to play with it!
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2009
I had a marble set like this when I was growing up. Actually, my brother and I had to share it. We spent hours devising routes and then knocking down the structure. You can do that with blocks, without breaking them. The noise made by the marbles and falling blocks will not have your best friend wishing you dead. In fact they will whisper how they stayed up past the kids' bedtime to play with the marbles themselves. This is one of those games that you can give to a 5-yr-old and they will still be playing (once in a while) when they are 15. Quality: very smooth sanding, different colored woods, no splinters, no splits in the pieces. And 15 marbles in the package, which is useful if they roll under things. This will not be a garage sale item in a year.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2010
Blocks and Marbles is fun for 5 year olds through adults. No matter the age or skill level, you feel successful as you build pathways and send your marbles racing down.
I've used as many as four sets together for group activities, adjusting the level of difficulty by how many blocks can touch the table and/or setting a time limit to use all the blocks. I've used this game as a team building activity. Each player adds 2 or 3 blocks when when it's their turn. Unless there's cooperation, the team won't succeed.
Physics teachers and engineering students can tell you all the scientific principals demonstrated in this game. I can tell you it's just plain fun.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on November 4, 2011
First, I have read many reviews about simple toys such as this. Most state something along the lines of, "Kid hated it," "No fun," "Sitting in the floor in the closet." Well, a toy truly is what you, and/or your child, envision it to be. Also, if the toy is packed away or bunched together with a whole slew of other unused toys, what then is to be expected but that a child doesnt seem to like the toy? As a parent, I have heard many things in regards to the "right way" to parent. i.e. "You don't let a child choose what he/she likes, you tell them," or "a child must try something at least 12 times before they know if they truly like it." But, I never understood that most of what I would heard had truth to it. If this toy isn't introduced properly to a child, in this time where toys now sparkle and wizz and stop abruptly if the batteries wear out, then a child won't give it a chance.
If I had given my son (three years old) this toy and not made it look fun, then I might've been writing a different review. But, I didn't. I talked about it before it came, we youtube'd videos of marble runs, and I told him he was getting one that we could build together. And, once it arrived, we stopped everything and began to explore how to use it. From the time we opened it until the time I walked out of the room (about an hour and an half later), he and I played with it. Once I left, he tried to assemble the run himself (I watched). He soon lost interest because he was unable to "do it" himself. Now, after having it for over a month, he will bring the bag to me and want to set it up but he has yet to play with it himself.
-great quality (made in the USA)
-basic, simple blocks with clear green marbles
-a great toy for young ones AND parents to enjoy together
-comes with a basic bag
-larger than I expected (good for young children and for stability)
Not so good:
_I doubt children younger than four will wish to play with it unless they can stack well and use logic to manipulate the blocks well.
_Umm... could be used as a projectile?
I enjoy this toy, and I know my son enjoys both the time we spend together playing and the toy itself.
Thanks! I would recommend. BUT, if you are thinking to getting the smaller Blocks and Marbles I would not because this is the perfect size. I know because I ordered the small, basic set first thinking it would be enough. And, though it was, it also wasn't all at the same time.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2009
We actually purchased the Blocks & Marbles Super Set for our 5-year-old grandson; however, his 3-year-old brother immediately took to it as well. This is one of their favorite toys.