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Bring Your Marble Run to Life with Lights & Sounds!

Bring Your Marble Run to Life with Lights & Sounds!

We're thrilled to announce that we're launching one of the most exciting innovations for the marble run: Lights & Sounds! We've spent tons of hours in our toy lab working on these pieces, and the day has finally come to share them with you!

Lights & Sounds Piece

Our Lights & Sounds pieces are activated when the marble rolls over the trigger. We've divided them into four themes: Wacky, Safari, Space, and Jungle. Each theme has its own sounds and color, and yes, there's an On/Off switch if parents need a break from the noise. :)

To see the pieces in action, check out this video:

We have more themes in the works, but we'd love to hear your ideas too. Simply e-mail us at support@marblegenius.com.

All of these Lights & Sounds products will be available on Amazon soon, just in time for the holidays! Click any picture below to go straight to the product:

     

     

If there's one thing we're passionate about, it's elevating the fun in playtime. We can't wait to see how these Lights & Sounds pieces bring your Marble Genius set to life!

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Marble Genius Goes to School

Marble Genius Goes to School

At Marble Genius, we love partnering with teachers to inspire learning in the classroom! Last week we had the chance to watch our marble run toys in action.

As part of a trip to California, we stopped by to visit our first Teacher Ambassador, Francie Kugelman (Mrs. K.) at Dahlia Heights Elementary School. Francie has been invaluable in providing input as we develop new products and has also connected us with hundreds of teachers across the U.S. through Caring Classrooms & Laura Candler’s Teaching Resources.

Francie wrote a great blog post explaining how she leverages STEM toys to teach Next Generation Science Standards. Her article is a must-read for teachers looking to expose their students to innovative ways to learn.

We were excited to visit her classroom in person!

Elementary School

When we arrived at Dahlia Heights, the students had already sorted 10 Marble Genius Extreme Sets in boxes. Francie gave final reminders to her 3rd grade students, including emphasizing the gravity concepts they would learn.

We carried the marble run boxes to the school's auditorium, where the students worked in teams of 3-5. Their objective was to build the biggest marble run they could, while making the marble reach the bottom as slowly as possible.

They had 15-20 minutes to build their structures and were instructed not to look at other teams' marble runs during this time. Each team had a stopwatch to test their runs and make adjustments.

Auditorium

After the initial build, each team gathered around the other teams' marble runs to make observations. One big takeaway was the importance of using certain pieces that slowed down the marbles (like the Round 'n Round piece). The slowest run at this point was about 30 seconds.

After the observations were complete, the students went back and made adjustments to their runs. This took 10 more minutes, and then we went back and tested each run. After the adjustments, the slowest run was 55 seconds long -- almost twice as slow as the slowest run from the first round!

Here's another picture of one of the many creative runs that were built:

At the end of the hour, the room buzzed with excitement and fun. And best of all, the students experienced hands-on learning and put their problem-solving skills to use.

This is just one example of many great uses for our marble run toys in the classroom. We're extremely thankful for all the educators who leverage our toys to inspire learning!

For more classroom ideas, we have sample lesson plans on our website. We'll also be releasing more lesson plans in our brand new Marble Genius App in the coming months.

Special thanks to Francie and all the great teachers, administrators, and students we met at Dahlia Heights!

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Marble Genius Instruction App Released!

Marble Genius Instruction App Released!

We're excited to announce that we have a FREE App to enhance your experience with all of our Marble Genius products!

While we recognize that our toys are "free play" toys like Lego that allow for infinite design possibilities, we've received requests for instructions that are easier to consume. We provide several guides with each of our products and have offered an 80-page manual available on PDF or Kindle, but we've long desired to provide visual instructions that are interactive and three-dimensional.

Enter the Marble Genius app!

Here's what you'll find...

As of the official release date of the app (May 16th, 2018), we have over 100 different projects across all of our toys and games, with four different skill levels (Beginner to Advanced). You'll find an introduction area for our Marble Run toys and Marble Maze games with both visual and video options.

Here's a breakdown of the rest of our products:

  • Starter Set -  4 projects
  • Super Set - 9 projects
  • Extreme Set - 12 projects
  • Pinked Out! Set - 6 projects
  • Marble Jungle Marble Run - 6 projects
  • Marble Maze Challenge Game - 80+ projects

Badges:

Every time a project is completed, you'll earn a badge with the Marble Genius Logo and check mark pictured below.  This will help you keep track of projects you've completed and projects you haven't.

Challenges:

In addition to the 100+ projects in the app, we also have a number of different challenges and we'll continually add more, which will keep our toys and games fresh and exciting. Some of our current challenges include Circular Challenge, Single Color Challenge, Longest Jump Challenge, etc.

Take a Pic & Share:

At the conclusion of every project or challenge, you'll have the option to take a picture of your project and share it with others on our app, through Facebook, or on the social media platform of your choice. Don't forget to tag us at #MarbleGenius so we can see too!

Compatibility:

Our app is compatible with iPhones, iPads, Android Phones, & Android Tablets:

Feedback & Ideas:

It would be a HUGE help if you could leave feedback in the form of an App review on either the App Store or the GooglePlay store! If there's anything that didn't meet your expectation or additional features you'd like to see, please send them to support@marblegenius.com and we'll prioritize them accordingly.

We hope this app takes your Marble Genius fun to the next level!

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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 development of young children greatly impacts their overall growth, ultimately leading to the adults they'll become. That's why investing in your kids is so important. It not only enriches their lives now; it sets the stage for future well-being.

STEM LEARNING AND MARBLE RUNS

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.

LEARNING WITH MARBLE RUNS AT HOME

Building a marble run is a lesson in creativity and patience. Your kids will learn how to focus and improve their 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.

 

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How to Fight Kids' Boredom in the Winter

How to Fight Kids' Boredom in the 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 parents ourselves, we've heard our fair share of “I am bored.” But how do we create engaging and active ways for them to play inside?

We feel strongly that it's important to get creative 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 it's also easy to do. (We've been guilty of it ourselves at times.)

BEST TOYS FOR FIGHTING BOREDOM

There are lots of different types of toys you can buy for your kids, and the last thing you want is a closed-ended toy that they're done with after 10 minutes. Finding toys that are truly open-ended, giving them numerous ways to play and 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're 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. Our kids are still amazed at what they're creating and love to have races with the marbles, all without knowing they're developing hand-eye coordination, logical thinking, and problem-solving skills. This year, we’ve also enjoyed allowing our inner child to come out to help our kids build forts, obstacle courses, and our personal favorite, Hot Lava. As an extra bonus, we enjoy using the marble runs within our obstacle course.

HOW PARENTS CAN HELP BREAK THE BOREDOM CYCLE

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, we may think the failure lies with the toy. Really, no one is at fault. Maybe the child just isn't feeling inspired. They're human, and we can’t expect them to be creative all the time.

When we see that our kids are bored or ignoring their open-ended toys, we've personally found it helpful to start playing with the toys by ourselves. We don't invite them to join us, but they always end up joining. They’ll sit beside us and say, “Hey, Mom and Dad, look what I made!” The inspiration returns, without any nudging or direction. All we 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.

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Introducing 9 New Marble Genius Accessory Sets

Introducing 9 New Marble Genius Accessory Sets

We're excited to let you know about 9 new Marble Run Accessory Sets that we recently released on Amazon, ranging 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've received over the last year. Here's a summary of 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'd love to hear your feedback on additional products that you're interested in! Please send an e-mail to support@marblegenius.com with your input. 

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Best Marble Run Toys 2017 - Social Proof

Best Marble Run Toys 2017 - Social Proof

In today's digital world, we make 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 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.

SOCIAL RECOGNITION FOR MARBLE GENIUS

Here at Marble Genius, we strive to make the best marble run toys that you'll find anywhere, and we believe there's significant validation that backs up this statement. Using Google or going straight to Amazon is a great way to get this information, but we thought it might be helpful to share with you some of the 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. A 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 its 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 change, which is why we included the link so you can see what the best selling marble run products are when you read this. When you want to identify what the best selling item in a category is, the quickest way is to Google "Amazon Best Selling _________."

RECOGNITION ON EXTERNAL WEBSITES AND BLOGS

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

Wiki.ezvid.com:

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.

MyKidNeedsThat.com:

Another significant website, MyKidNeedsThat.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, and they didn't accept any money or input from the companies whose products they reviewed as well.

One other interesting observation: 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're extremely thankful to each of the sites above for the platform they've provided to help us grow our product. It's worth noting that we have no affiliation with either of the two websites mentioned and our only affiliation with Amazon is that we sell on their platform.

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2-Story Marble Genius Marble Run

2-Story Marble Genius Marble Run

We've had a goal to build a tall marble run with our Marble Genius toys, and we decided to do just that a couple weeks ago!

HOW WAS OUR TWO-STORY MARBLE RUN BUILT?

After establishing a solid foundation 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 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. These poles are a combination of marble run tubes and marble run action pieces, as seen in the picture above.

Once we got above 6 feet, a ladder was needed to complete the build. This is the part of the marble run that took the most time (over 3.5 hours).

Marble Run

HOW MUCH TIME AND HOW MANY PIECES DID THE MARBLE RUN TAKE?

All told, it took over 5 hours to build this 2-story marble run and used over 20 Marble Genius marble run toys (Starter Set, Super Set, & Extreme Set).

As we finished, the wind started to pick up, so we secured the marble run to the ladder with a couple of bungee cords. Then we secured the ladder to the roof with another bungee cord. This allowed us to keep the marble run up for a week so we could produce the video at the end of this post.

WHY DID WE BUILD A TWO-STORY MARBLE RUN?

We sometimes see feedback on Amazon that indicates our marble run toys aren't very stable. We hope this 2-story marble run encourages those who struggle to create a stable structure. It absolutely can be done if you establish a solid foundation and interlock the structure.

Check out the video below for the full build, and be sure to send us your tallest marble run structures, or tag us on social media @marblegenius.

Happy building!

 

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Marble Run Exhibit Coming to a Museum Near You?

Marble Run Exhibit Coming to a Museum Near You?

Here at Marble Genius, our goal is to inspire learning through play. We're pretty excited to see that our marble run toys currently hold the top two spots in the Marble Run category on Amazon.

But we're not content to leave it at that. We love pushing the envelope of innovation in hopes of leaving an even bigger impact. You'll see examples of this with new products we introduce next year, but in the near term, we're launching our new marble run exhibit that would be a perfect fit for Children's Museums.

Why?

STEM learning continues to be a 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 hold 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 who 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 types of action pieces, it's easy to see why kids of all ages enjoy playing with them.

How it works

We worked hard creating an example of what a museum exhibit could look like. The picture below uses about 12 sets and stands 6 feet tall by 3 feet deep by 8 feet wide.

This exhibit could be in full light or highlighted with black lights in a dark space. We would pay to enclose it in glass and make sure the marbles are accessible at the bottom of the exhibit so guests can easily access the entry to interact with the exhibit.

Here's a brief video of what it would look as it's being used:

How you can help

We're looking to donate these exhibits to any Children's Museum that's in the top 30 largest Children's Museums in the United States. If you work with one of these museums or know of someone who does, please reach out to us at support@marblegenius.com. We'd love to partner with you and inspire more young learners!

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Marble Genius Extreme Set

Marble Genius Extreme Set

We're thrilled to announce the arrival of our latest product, the Marble Genius Marble Run Extreme Set!

This set has 125 pieces in total and 20 glass marbles. Exciting new pieces include the following...

1.) 360 degree loop:

2.) Jump and catch piece:

3.) Y - Splitter Piece:

Here are all the pieces in the Extreme Set:

Since we launched our Starter Set and Super Set, the response has been amazing! One of the requests we've often received is if we have anything more. We're excited to answer those requests by launching the Marble Genius Extreme Set just in time for the Christmas shopping season. This set works great on its own, or it's a perfect addition if you already have a Starter Set or Super Set.

Let the building begin! 

 

 

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