Reviewed by Melody Floyde
With Easter fast approaching I was very happy to be asked to review the Gravitrax Pro Starter-Set from Ravensburger as a potential Easter gift. Over the past couple of years, I’ve started to move away from giving my sons too much chocolate for Easter. Instead I have preferred to give them good quality gifts that they will appreciate more and which will last longer than a few hours, so this sounded like it could fit the bill perfectly.
Gravitrax Pro is an “interactive track system” or, in other words, an innovative marble run and construction toy for children aged 8 years and over. We were sent the Starter Set to try out which contains 153 elements that can be built into a huge number of different configurations and impressive tracks for the marbles.
As soon as the courier delivered the very sizeable box my sons (and me) couldn’t wait to open it. The Gravitrax Pro Starter Set comes in a large, sturdy cardboard box (measuring 34cm x 34cm x 18cm) with lots of impressive graphics and images of the contents. I really liked the strapline “experience the power of gravity” as it makes the product sound like it will be really exciting and also educational at the same time. Upon opening the box we weren’t disappointed, there was a vast array of different plastic pieces of all shapes and sizes, along with six metal balls (gravity spheres) waiting to be built into some impressive marble runs. Fortunately, there were also two sets of instructions included. One to show us how to build some of the components that are used in the various different constructions and the other which had instructions for building a range of tracks ranging from basic to advanced. I have to admit to feeling slightly daunted when I realised that there were no words in the instructions, only images, as I usually like to read full details of anything new before even attempting to use it.
However, undeterred, my nine-year-old son and myself got stuck in and found that it was actually very simple to follow the instructions. The tracks are all built on a cardboard base board, which has hexagons cut out of it for the pieces to slot into, and as long as the pieces were in the correct places, then the tracks went together fairly easily, we found that the pieces are well designed and fit together well. We started off with the basic track (green) and worked our way up through the amber and red constructions over the course of a week, luckily this was half-term and we had plenty of time to fill. We both really enjoyed constructing the marble runs and testing them out to see what happened. My six-year-old son also loved pushing the starter “button” and releasing the balls to see them go around the tracks, although he wasn’t so keen on building them himself yet. We’re all really looking forward to designing and building more tracks over the coming weeks to see what the most impressive one we can come up with is.
I was really impressed with the Gravitrax Pro system, it is really good fun and you get a real sense of achievement from building a track that works. It is educational and is a STEM system (science, technology, engineering and maths) that shows children how gravity, magnetism and kinetic energy work. I also really liked the problem-solving element, of trying out the track and, when the ball doesn’t travel down it quite as expected, we worked together to solve the problem to make it work properly.
The only minor negative point that we found was that, once built, the tracks are not all that sturdy and are very easy to knock out of place (as we found to our disappointment a few times when somebody accidentally knocked the track we had spent so long building), but actually that did just give an opportunity for more problem solving and working out where the bits needed to be put back to so it was win-win really!
Another great point about the Gravitrax Pro set is that it can be expanded indefinitely using extra track packs and expansions that can be brought separately. It can also be used in conjunction with the original Gravitrax sets as well. We are definitely keen to increase our set and add in some more elements.
I would highly recommend the Gravitrax Pro Starter Set as an ideal Easter Gift for anyone trying to avoid giving too much chocolate, and particularly for children who are interested in science and construction. It is pretty awesome!
Editor’s note – British Science week runs from 5 March 2021 until 14th March 2021. For more information please visit the British Science Week website here.
This product can be purchased from John Lewis here.