Marbles have been around for a long time. Stone marbles dating back 5000 years were uncovered in the ancient tomb of an Egyptian child, while archeological evidence supports the popularity of marbles in both ancient Rome and in Mexico. It’s safe to say that marbles are one of the oldest playthings in the world, and they continue to engage and delight people of all ages, even to this day.
The most popular marble games involve shooting marbles (wow, the rules are complex – check them out, and lots of other interesting marble-related info at www.marblemuseum.org.), but nothing is more fascinating than a marble in motion. Cascading marble runs are fun to build and hypnotic to watch. There are a number of great options out there, but the new Quadrilla line is worth seeing. The beautiful wooden tracks are easy to handle and the unique funnel piece adds spiral action and visual impact. These sets are fairly compact, and easy to assemble, disassemble and store. They are pricey, but they are definitely built to last.
My other personal favorite is the Quercetti Skyrail Suspension sets (get the one with the motorized elevator, ’cause it’s wicked cool). It’s very different from the Quadrilla set; much more plastic, and it will take up more space. It’s a far more involved construction project, but the payoff is in the wow factor.