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Your Living Room: A Learning Ground for All Ages

Your Living Room: A Learning Ground for All Ages

Education expands our knowledge of the world and empowers us to make it better. It develops perspective and broadens our view. And it all starts with early childhood development.

The emotional, social, and physical development of young children greatly impacts their overall growth, ultimately leading to the adults they'll become. That's why investing in your young child is so important. It not only enriches his or her life now; it sets the stage for future well-being.

The fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) are more vital than ever before. STEM education combines the fields into a unified model that has real-world applications. The education is hands-on, problem-solving based, and designed to teach students new skills that can help them in the future. But the best part? It's fun!

Here at Marble Genius, we've heard from teachers across the country on how they've utilized our marble runs in the classroom. But learning doesn't have to be limited to a school building. Homeschooling parents or those looking to inspire learning through impromptu play can reap the educational rewards. 

Building a marble run is a lesson in creativity and patience. Your child will learn how to focus and improve his or her memory and recall. The Marble Genius marble run toys are designed to enhance cognitive abilities and enable kids to learn while having fun. We're not the only ones who believe that, though.

HowToHomeschool.net recently evaluated hundreds of resources and products for their Best Homeschooling Resources & Curriculum list. Their desire was to not only encourage well-rounded learning, but to also equip parents with new ideas to make the education process fun and exciting. We're humbled and grateful to be included in the list.

Whether you send your kids off to school or you educate them at home, don't miss out on the fun ways you can inspire them to learn and grow. Your living room may just be the most effective learning ground.

For ideas to incorporate our marble runs into your kids' education or in a school classroom, be sure to check out our lesson plans HERE.

How to Fight Kids' Boredom in Winter

How to Fight Kids' Boredom in Winter

For most of us, the dog days of winter are making their presence felt through cooped up kids who love to say the three dreaded words…I AM BORED!!! Being a mom to three kids, I have heard my share of “I am bored.” But how do we stop this and create engaging and active ways for them to play inside?

As parents, it’s our responsibility to come up with creative ways to fight the boredom and not just put a screen in front of them for the winter. According to the market research firm Childwise, “Children aged five to 16 spend an average of six and a half hours a day in front of a screen compared with around three hours in 1995" (http://www.bbc.com/news/technology-32067158). This is unacceptable, but is definitely easy to do and I have been guilty of it as well.

There are lots of different types of toys you can buy for your kids, and there’s nothing worse than a closed-ended toy that they are done with after 10 minutes. Finding toys that are truly open-ended, giving them numerous ways to play and actually holding their attention for extended periods of time is extremely challenging. Here are some ideas we have...

    Company Description: Kids define how they want to play. Whether you’re into hosting make-believe tea parties, having jousts at magical kingdoms, or adventuring with friends, Dash & Dot will be there every step of the way. Children ages 6 to 12 learn the foundations of problem solving and computer programming as they have fun with Dash & Dot. In addition to the robots and apps, their website offers a variety of fun activity ideas and challenges for you to take on with your new robot friends. Start with these and then invent your own uses for Dash & Dot.

    Company Description: You create. You animate. You SHARE! Stikbot is the social-sharing, easy to pose figurine Standing 3-inches tall, Stikbot's suction cup-tipped limbs will adhere to almost any flat surface allowing for easy posing for photographs and stop-animation filming. Stikbot Studio Pro comes with 2 figures and a green screen. Also includes a free app for iPhone and Android. Stikbot.
    At Marble Genius, we obviously have a little bias here, but we continually get positive feedback regarding the fact that not only is it fun to build our toys, but you actually get to play with them when you are done! Most building toys like Lego have a construction element, but once the toy is built there's not much else to do other than go build another one.
    We like to dump the box of marble run pieces out and let the creative thinking begin. My kids are still amazed at what they are creating and love to have races with the marbles, all without knowing they are developing hand-eye coordination, logical thinking, and problem-solving skills. This year, I’ve also enjoyed allowing my inner child to come out to help my children build forts, obstacle courses, and my personal favorite, Hot Lava. As an extra bonus, we enjoy using the marble runs within our obstacle course.

Sometimes, we avoid buying open-ended toys because we see our children stop playing with them after the novelty has worn off. The most frequent question about a toy: “Will my child continue to play with it or will it just collect dust?”

Let’s change our thinking here. If children stop playing with an item, parents may think that the failure lies with the toy. Really, no one is at fault. Perhaps the child is just not feeling inspired. They are human, and we can’t expect them to be creative all the time. When childrenand even adultsfeel this uninspired, they want to just buy more to fill the void again and again.

When I see that my children are becoming bored or ignoring their open-ended toys, I just start playing with the toys by myself. I do not invite them to join me, but they always end up joining. They’ll sit beside me and say, “Hey Mom, look what I made!” The inspiration returns, without any nudging or direction. All I had to do was sit down and play first. It works every time.

Winter might challenge families to stay active, but with the right toys and a little creativity, you can turn boredom into a fun family experience.

Introducing 9 New Marble Genius Accessory Sets

Introducing 9 New Marble Genius Accessory Sets

We're excited today to let you know about 9 new Marble Run Accessory Sets that we recently released on Amazon that range in price from $6.99 - $12.99!  These Marble Run Accessory Sets are compatible with any of our Marble Genius Marble Run Toys and any marble run toy that uses Marbulous pieces.  We developed these 9 products based on many requests we have received over the last year.  The intent of this blog post is to let you know about each one.

Automatic Chain Lift:

Enhance the excitement of your existing marble run with this automatic chain lift. Explore the fun that comes with combining more than 1 chain lift together to create a fully automated infinite loop.

Automatic Chain Lift

Jumps & Swings:

Challenge your building abilities and enhance the playability of your marble run with jumps & swings that move marbles through the air to other locations on the marble run toy. 2 Jumps, 2 Swings, & 4 Catches are provided in this set. The additional pieces/marbles shown in the picture above are for illustration only and are available in other sets but not included with this set.

Jumps & Swings

Stable Bases:

4 of our largest bases are included in this Accessory Set to enhance the stability & playability of your existing marble run.

Waterslides & Rollercoasters:

The 5 pieces that come with this set produce exciting action with marbles including a full 360 degree circle. Expand the fun of your existing marble run toy by adding these pieces!

Waterslides & Rollercoasters

Marbles:

These glass marbles are compatible with any of our Marble Genius marble run toys and are the standard size for toy marbles (5/8 inch each).

Physics Fun:

The 5 pieces that come with this set produce exciting action with marbles including a full 360 degree circle and 2 Y splitters that alternate the direction of marbles. Expand the fun of your existing marble run toy by adding these pieces!

 

Sky High Circles:

Increase the fun as well as the strength and stability of your marble run by leveraging our Round 'n Round topper pieces.

Sky High Circles

Tubes! Tubes! Tubes!

Quickly increase the size and playability of your existing marble run by adding the 30 translucent tubes that are included with this set.

Tubes! Tubes! Tubes!

We have even more exciting products and innovative technologies for your existing marble run toys that are scheduled to be released in 2018 so stay tuned. Also, we would love to hear your feedback on additional products that you are interested in!  Please send an e-mail to jeff@marblegenius.com with your input. 

Best Marble Run Toys 2017 - Social Proof

Best Marble Run Toys 2017 - Social Proof

In today's digital world, we are always making buying decisions either consciously or sub-consciously based on Social Proof.  This simply means that we rely on the input of others to help us make a decision.  For instance, we like to look at reviews on Amazon to learn how other people like a product before we buy or maybe we look at a popular website or blog to see what they recommend.

At Marble Genius, we strive to make the best Marble Run Toys that you will find anywhere and we believe there is significant external validation that backs this statement up.  Using Google or going straight to Amazon is a great way to to get this information, but we thought it might be helpful to share with you some of this Social Proof.

Amazon - Best Selling Marble Run

According to Forbes, Amazon's market power "now rivals or exceeds Walmart" and almost 50% of US households are Amazon Prime Members.  Given this market power, looking at reviews of a product on Amazon is a great place to start to get a sense of whether this product might be something to buy or not.  Products with a significant number of Verified Reviews as well as products that have at least 4 stars are a good starting point for Social Proof.  At Marble Genius, each of our products have a healthy number of Verified Reviews and we encourage you to take a look at those before making a buying decision.

Best Selling Marble Run

Another great thing to consider on Amazon before making a buying decision is how a particular item ranks in a given category.  One thing to watch out for is a particular product might be a Best Seller for the day due to a large number of giveaways or because they deeply discounted their price for a day to get a better ranking, but if you consistently see a product at the top of it's category it's safe to say that most people are buying that product in that particular category.  In the Marble Run Category, our Super Set has consistently been the Best Selling Marble Run Toy on Amazon.  This can obviously always change, which is why we included the link so that you can see what the Best Selling Marble Run products are when you are reading this.  When you want to identify what the Best Selling item in a category is, the quickest way I have found to do this is to actually Google "Amazon Best Selling _________" and that typically gets you there fastest.

External Websites & Blogs:

As of this writing, there are over 1 Billion websites on the internet, which is a staggering figure and another reason why you definitely have to consider the source or look to multiple data points before relying on what it is saying.  You can also use Alexa to see how popular a particular website is.

According to Wiki.ezvid.com, which is the world's first video wiki that gets millions of visitors every month and is a top 3000 website on the internet, our Marble Genius Super Set is the # 2 Best Marble Run Toy on the market and the best plastic Marble Run Toy in their rankings.  They spent over 29 hours compiling this and if you click the link you can see the video of the top 10 Marble Runs and additional explanation.  Note: they did not accept any money or input from the companies whose products they reviewed.

Another significant website, MyKidsNeedThat.com has ranked our Marble Genius Super Set as the #1 overall Marble Run for 2017 and our Marble Genius Starter Set as the #3 Marble Run on the market.  This website goes into great detail as far as their methodology is concerned and they did not accept any money or input from the companies whose products they reviewed as well.  One other interesting observation that the # 1 ranked Marble Run on Wiki.ezvid.com was ranked #10 on this website.  This is another reason to look at multiple sources before making buying decisions because there can be significant variability with product rankings.

We are extremely thankful to each of the sites above for the platform they have provided to help us grow our product.  It's worth noting that we have no affiliation with either of the 2 websites mentioned above and our only affiliation with Amazon is that we sell on their platform.  

2-Story Marble Genius Marble Run

2-Story Marble Genius Marble Run

We have had a goal for a while to build a tall Marble Run with our Marble Genius Marble Run Toys and we decided to do just that a couple weeks ago.  After establishing a solid base with 10 bases, we started inter-locking the Marble Run pieces.  Building the first 6 feet of the Marble Run went relatively quickly  because a ladder wasn't necessary.  The base and the first several feet of the Marble Run were the most important because the strong foundation we established allowed the Marble Run to climb over 2 stories.  In addition to the large number of bases at the bottom, 4 "poles" were established that would extend from the bases to the very top of the Marble Run.  You can see these 4 "poles" that are a combination of Marble Run Tubes and Marble Run Action Pieces in the main picture.  

Once we got above 6 feet, a ladder was necessary to complete the build.  This is the part of the Marble Run that took the most time (over 3.5 hours).  All told, it took over 5 hours to build this 2-Story marble Run and took over 20 Marble Genius Marble Run Toys (Starter Set, Super Set, & Extreme Set).  As we were finishing, the wind started to pick-up so it became necessary to secure the Marble Run to the ladder with a couple of bungee cords and we secured the ladder to the roof with a bungee cord as well.  This allowed us to keep the Marble Run up for about a week so that we could produce the video below.

Marble Run

We occasionally see feedback on Amazon that indicates our Marble Run Toys are not very stable.  We hope this 2-story Marble Run provides encouragement to those that struggle to create a stable structure.  It absolutely can be done if you establish a solid foundation and interlock the structure.  Please enjoy this Marble Run and we would love it if you would send the tallest Marble Run structures that you have created!

Happy Building!

Marble Run Exhibit Coming to a Museum Near You?

Marble Run Exhibit Coming to a Museum Near You?

Marble Genius Marble Run Toys currently hold the top 2 spots in the Marble Run category on Amazon, which is extremely humbling. The positive reviews that we continually receive have challenged us to push the envelope of innovation even more and consider how we can leave an even bigger impact. You will see examples of this with new products we introduce next year; however, we are launching our new Marble Run exhibit that we want to have in as many of the top Children's Museums in the country as possible.

Why?

STEM learning continues to be a very hot topic among parents of school age children as well as education systems.  Marble Run Toys are a proven leader when it comes to toys that not only help maintain kids attention and entertain them, but also help them learn as they have fun.  A recent Wall Street Journal article highlighted some of these benefits including enhanced problem solving for kids that play with Marble Run Toys.

Given these benefits and the fact that screens continue to be one of the first choices when it comes to keeping kids busy, we feel a strong sense of urgency to get the word out that Marble Run Toys are more exciting than ever!  When you combine see-through pieces with numerous different types of action pieces, it is easy to see why kid's of all ages enjoy playing with them.

How it works?

We spent some time this last week creating an example of what a Museum Exhibit could look like.  The picture below is only about 12 sets and stands 6 feet tall by 3 feet deep by 8 feet wide.  This exhibit could be in full light or if there's a dark place, it also could look really neat with Black Lights.  We would pay to enclose it in glass and make sure the marbles are accessible at the bottom of the exhibit so that guests can easily access the entry to interact with the exhibit.

Here is a brief video to give an idea of what it would look as it's being used:

 

How you can Help?

We are looking to donate these exhibits to any Children's Museum that is in the top 30 largest Children's Museum's in the United States.  If you work one of these museums or know of someone that does and is interested in having us setup an exhibit, please reach out to me: jeff@marblegenius.com.

Thanks!

Marble Genius Extreme Set

Marble Genius Extreme Set

We are happy to announce the arrival of our latest product, the Marble Genius Marble Run Extreme Set!  This set has 125 pieces and 20 glass marbles and contains a number of exciting new pieces:

1.) 360 degree loop:

2.) Jump and catch piece:

3.) Y - Splitter Piece:

All pieces in the Extreme Set:

Since we launched our Marble Genius Marble Run Starter Set & Marble Genius Marble Run Super Set, the success of these has been amazing! We have sold thousands of each of these sets since our launch 2 months ago and have consistently been in the top 5 marble run toys on Amazon.  One of the requests we often received was if we had  anything more, which is why we launched the Marble Genius Marble Run Extreme Set just in time for the Christmas Shopping Season. This set is great on it's own or is a fantastic addition if you already have a Starter Set or Super Set.  

 

NEW Marble Run E-Book Instruction Manual

NEW Marble Run E-Book Instruction Manual

We are happy to announce that we have produced a new e-book that has step-by-step pictures for 4 different marble runs.  Even though marble runs are a lot like Legos in that they allow for "flexible play," we occasionally receive requests for step-by-step instructions.  

In an effort to respond to this occasional feedback and maintain a green footprint, we produced a 50 page electronic marble run manual that has 2 beginner marble runs and 2 advanced marble runs.  We have produced a Kindle version and a PDF version.  This e-book has a number of features including a clickable table of contents and the ability to enlarge pictures to see the details.  

We include a product insert in every package that includes pictures for ideas and we include details for how to access our Tips, Videos, and E-Book.  Since we have received so few requests for this, we have only created an e-book and have not included a hard-copy of the manual with the product.  This allows us to keep the product cost lower and also maintain a green footprint by not unnecessarily including a large manual with every product.  Please e-mail me if you think we should include a manual with every product and raise the overall price of the product. 

Instructions:

Kindle - If using a Tablet or Phone, simply click the link and open in the Kindle App.  This manual will then be stored in your kindle Library.  If you download the file from your computer, follow these instructions for getting it to your library.

PDF - This version is not as interactive as the Kindle version, but it has all the same content.

We hope that this manual gives you some ideas for how to build different types of marble runs.  We plan to add more runs to these manuals over time, but we encourage you to build your own runs and be as creative as possible!

All you Need to Know About Marble Games

All you Need to Know About Marble Games

All you need to know about Marble Games

Games are an important aspect of kids’ lives. This is not only because games are entertaining to kids but also because they are very educational. Some of the crucial benefits that kids benefit from playing games include developing critical thinking skills, sharpening the mind for better understanding and ability to creatively solve problems and challenges. One of the oldest and most popular types of games for kids is the marble game. The history of this game dates back to 4000 BC in Egypt when the first form of this game was developed. Over the years, the game has undergone numerous changes and is now available in different varieties. One of the most unique aspects about this game is that it has never fallen out of fashion and is very entertaining to both children and adults. 

What are marbles? 

Marbles can be described best as small, spherical objects with a diameter of not more than 2.54 cm (about an inch). These objects are made using either glass or stone and are usually brightly colored. They can be also decorated using captivating colors that are very attractive. Primitive marble games have evolved into modern sports such as pinball, billiards, and bowling. 

Examples of Marble Games 

There are several examples and variations of marble games. These games follow different rules and have varying levels of entertainment. They include:

Marble Run Toy 

Marble Run Toy, also known as the rolling ball game, revolves around constructing a Marble Run tower where the marble will run through. This is a favorite marble game among many kids because it is very engaging and captivating. The Marble Run game is comprised of a set of plastic Marble Run tubes that can be put together as parallel Marble Run tracks for a Marble Race. It is very easy to assemble this track as the player can use different types of Marble Run action pieces and Marble Run support pieces to set up the track they want to build. The Marble Run game uses can use marbles that are 5/8 in. or smaller and various weights, colors, and material (either glass or plastic). To make the game more exciting, the player can consider building Marble Run tracks interconnect with one another, but these will usually require the help of a parent. 

Marble Run Roller Coaster 

Many children identify with this game due to their great love for riding real life roller coasters. There is nothing more exciting to kids than running several marbles down the roller coaster that they have built. This game requires serious tinkering as setting up Marble Run Roller Coasters requires superb imagination as well as problem-solving skills. It is worth noting that the Marble Run Roller Coaster game may be quite hard and complex to set up especially for beginners. However, you can help your children to develop and polish their roller coaster building skills before letting them to do it on their own. You can make a Marble Run Roller Coaster that is as long as you would want it to be as long as you have enough building structures. These structures are made of plastic and have interlocking capabilities for easy set up and stability while playing. 

Magnetic Marble Run 

This is yet another incredible example of marble games. This game is quite similar to the ordinary Marble Run only that in this version, the Marble Run track is made using magnetic foam pieces. These pieces can be combined in endless design combinations and set ups to provide multiple fun and learning levels. The most basic version of this Marble Run game features 14 base pieces, 10 activity cards and 4 marbles. Using your imagination and creativity while referring to the Marble Run track suggestions in the activity cards, you can create a sophisticated track and then let the balls run through the track. The best thing about this game is that it helps greatly in developing critical thinking skills. As such, it is very beneficial to kids especially in sharpening their minds.  

Marble Run Track 

Ideally, the fun and excitement of playing marble games are dependent on the type and nature of track you set up. If you are able to design and build an outstanding Marble Run track, then you will find playing marble games very fulfilling. There are lots of commercial marble track set ups that you can purchase to use in playing your favorite marble game. Marble Run tracks differ in aspects such as maximum length and height attainable, quality of the tracks, and overall appearance including their décor aspects. Therefore, it is important to conduct an extensive search on the best Marble Run track to purchase depending on your preferences. It is advisable that you purchase multi-game tracks as you can use such tracks in playing different variations and versions of marble games. 

Where to buy the best quality Marble Run Toys

There are lots of places where you can purchase quality marble toys but we believe that you don’t need to look any further than www.marblegenius.com. Being a leading seller of Marble Run Toys, www.marblegenius.com prioritizes on sourcing and selling top quality Marble Run Toys. These are toys that come with a guarantee for excellent performance, great durability, and unrivaled uniqueness. What is more amazing when buying Marble Run Toys from this site is that we also offer some of the most unique and exciting pieces on the market. As such, if you want to gift your child a something that he/she will live to remember, you should start and end your search at www.marblegenius.com! These toys are made using the latest technology and thereby boast not only great quality but are safe for kids older than 3 years old to enjoy. 

Marble Run

Tips to remember 

It is best to set up the Marble Run Toys playing tracks on a smooth surface preferably in an open space for free movement. If you are setting up the Marble Run track indoors, you can build the tracks on a reasonably high table or on the carpet. In addition to this, you should consider using marbles that are the same color as opposed to differently colored marbles. The uniformity in the color of the marbles makes the game more enticing to play. Try learning a new Marble Run playing technique and concept everyday in order to find marble games thrilling and exciting. Playing the same game version everyday can be quite boring. Check out our Marble Run videos for even more ideas!

Combining Multiple Marble Run Sets Together

Combining Multiple Marble Run Sets Together
There are so many different types of toys on the market that it's often overwhelming to know what type of toy your child will like and what kind they won't.  One aspect of a toy to consider when making a purchase is expandability.  In other words, are there additional components/features that you can buy as an add-on to enhance it.  Some toys start gathering dust as soon as it is out of the wrapper, but the best toys to consider are expandable and keep toys fresh and exciting over time.
Marble Run Toys fit into the expandable toy category because there are many different expansion options.  At Marble Genius, we offer Marble Run Toys that can be combined together to allow you to make bigger and more complex Marble Run setups.  We often see people that bought the Marble Run Starter Set or the Marble Run Super Set,  but buy another set or two because they want to make bigger and better Marble Run designs.
Before purchasing an additional set, it's important to understand what Marble Run pieces are compatible with your current set.  Marble Genius Marble Run sets are compatible with all Marbulous Marble Run pieces.  So if you have an existing Marbulous Marble Run you will be able to buy a Marble Genius Marble Run set and add to your fun!
Once you have determined compatibility, it is then important to understand what you are looking for when adding on to your existing Marble Run set.  Chance are if you are looking to add-on, you will want to buy nothing less than our Marble Run Super Set.  Based on the feedback we have gotten about those that love our sets, this is the most popular choice for an add-on. Based on this fact alone, Marble Genius will be rolling out a Marble Run Extreme Set later this year that will have twice as many action pieces as our Super Set and will offer jumps, loops, etc.  Also, we will be adding additional features over time based on customer demand that include automated features to bring marbles from bottom to top. 
Having a Marble Run Toy is the pinnacle of fun and adding on to it makes it even better.  When you add 2 Marble Genius Marble Run Super Sets together, it's hard to believe all the marble action that would come from this.  Here are a few pictures that try to capture the excitement that will come from doing this:
Marble Run Super Set X 2Marble Run Super Set X 2
In conclusion, when looking for a toy, always keep in mind the expandability aspects of that toy because chances are that if there are not things to add to it over time to keep it engaging for them as they get older it will just collect dust  Marble Run Toys are a great example of an expandable toy that can stay fresh for years by adding components to it over time to keep it fresh and exciting for your kids.
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