GUEST POST: We’ve just (Toad) tested the new Wonderworld Trix Track
The lovely Niki from The Toadstool has very kindly put the brand new Wonderworld Trix Track to test! She knows a thing or two about track and balls too, here is what she found…
When DKL asked us to be review the new Wonderworld Trix Tracks for their big launch, we were delighted. We love ball tracks so much, so we were thrilled to be the first retailer in the UK to have a play and last week we finally received the Wonderworld Trix Tracks Hammer Slammer and Spin and Swirl sets literally hours after they were unloaded from the container at the docks.
When we first saw the Trix Track at the Toy Fair in January, we were instantly impressed that despite the many ball tracks available on the market, Wonderworld have designed something inherently different and quite unique, in a style which is very much their own. These ball tracks are all about engineering, with a series of cause and effect type features and some really innovative designs
The 70 % recycled cardboard boxes are sturdy with a convenient handle and perfect for neat home storage and stacking. As stockists, we felt that the boxes are a bit bigger than is strictly necessary but we think they’ll make a superb package under the Christmas tree or a really impressive birthday gift.
Spin and Swirl.
Suitable for children ages 3 years +, the Spin and Swirl set comes with 4 innovative Trix (features), 2 straight and 2 curved sections of track, 45 easy to assemble, building brick parts (4 x 4 x 2 cm) and 2 x 3 cm wooden balls. What is a really important feature for us is that the plastic parts are all made from recycled wood and plastic. This is an excellent environmental choice on Wonderworld’s behalf although this type of plastic is not of a top end plastic toy standard.
It took me 15 minutes to set up the first time and the instructions are basic. And while it may present an interesting challenge for primary school children, pre-schoolers will need help setting up the first time. This set also includes a poster with details of other sets and suggestions for alternative set-ups with several combined sets, which was a real added a bonus.
The Spin and Swirl ball track is a track supported by a series of columns and at each Trix (or feature), the track drops to a lower lever level. Start the ball at the top and it whirls through the spinning turbine, swirls around a funnel type feature, tips up the see saw and comes out through the tunnel. These Trix are really what sets this track apart and are a wonderful introduction to science and engineering concepts.
Despite Trix Track being suitable for children aged 36 months +, our 19 month old helped out with putting the building blocks together. However she was a little too eager to get started so parents take note: whilst this is an awesome gift, do set aside time to help set it up, ideally without eager-to-play siblings around. Once it’s ready everyone can join in and our little tester loved putting the ball at the top, experimenting with the turbine wheel Trix feature and seeing how many balls the whirling feature could digest at one time.
With 4 multi level Trix and only 11 building bricks (4 x 4 x 2 cm) and 5 balls, this set is more difficult and took a bit longer to assemble, requiring a fair amount of precision. There’s only one possible set up and although the instructions are clear, there is no indication, apart small hollows on the tracks, as to where the 5 balls need to go. The balls also needed a steady, hand to put them all in place.
Once it’s set up, you trigger the first ball and watch as it sets off a series of hammers which knock all 5 balls up, down and around the track to the sound of clacking wood. The sequence is absolutely ingenious and this would make a fantastic addition to any other set.
Overall quality and value.
Both sets are brightly coloured, wonderfully tactile and undoubtedly, beautiful wooden toys which we’d probably give a 8 out of 10. We do feel that although described as suitable from 3 years, we don’t think a 3 year old could put either set together, especially the Hammer Slammer, so parent input is required.
But hey, we are perfectionists and in terms of educational value, fun factor, sustainability and something that makes a great gift, we have to give them a ground breaking 10 out of 10! The Spin and Swirl is a great ball track on its own or would make a fantastic addition to another set, as would the Hammer Slammer. One of the best things about these sets is that you can combine them with others to come up with so many different challenges, levels and designs, so the learning and fun goes on and on.
Will The Toadstool be stocking these items?
Yes definitely, we’ve got them in stock already. They clearly have great educational value as well as improving fine motor skills. Having been a fan of both Wonderworld and ball tracks for some time, we are impressed by Wonderworld’s sense of social responsibility and we love idea of the “Tree plus +” project. We firmly believe that all kids should have a ball track to enjoy and these Wonderworld sets are surely one of the best on the market and we think a really exciting addition to Wonderworld’s existing range.
In the upcoming week we will be blogging more about the educational value of Ball Tracks over on thetoadstool.wordpress.com, have a look and follow our blog to be kept up to date.
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