GraviTrax Junior test - how good is the new construction toy for children from 3 to 7 years?

14. October 2023 - Anika Semmer

Gravitrax Junior: Is the Interactive Marble Run for Kids (3-7) A Must Have?


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Lianas, seal, ice crystal, cactus and in between the ball rolls through jungle, desert, ocean and ice world – our planet. With GraviTrax Junior, even the youngest can now build marble tracks. How well has Ravensburger succeeded in the new junior ball track?

Free building promotes spatial thinking and motor skills. With the new Junior marble run, the youngest children are introduced to the principle of cause and effect at an early age when studying the rolling behavior of the marble. Previously, only children aged 8 (or 7 at the earliest) could build GraviTrax marble runs. Younger siblings or the children of GraviTrax-enthusiastic parents could actually only watch. When they wanted to build and play, parts of the marble run often collapsed and building with the delicate components was unsuccessful and often led to frustration. The new GraviTrax Junior product line is designed to put an end to this. The components are designed especially for small children’s hands, are larger and less delicate, and the marble run gets a colorful, playful and cute update.

Because with GraviTrax Junior, the little builders not only build a marble run, they also design their marble run creatively with pretty decorative animals, plants and flowers and even some functional components such as tunnels are playfully designed as igloos or stone arches. With GraviTrax Junior, the ball track winds its way through the themed worlds of jungle, ice world, ocean and desert, and the little ones are supposed to be able to build tracks without any help from their parents. That sounds absolutely super, but is it true?

I let my three-year-old daughter build away together with friends ( 3 years, 4 years and 5 years). As a die-hard GraviTrax fan, my experiences with the previous GraviTrax products also flow into the pros and cons and the results of our play test.

Note: The game manufacturer Ravensburger has sent us the starter set My Planet and the Element Trap as review copies. However, this review is unpaid and reflects our honest opinion.

The Marble Run Gravitrax Junior at a Glance

  • Game type: Construction game, family game
  • Age: 3-7 years
  • Players: from 1 player
  • Duration: any
  • Publisher: Ravensburger
  • Publication year: 2023
  • Game Objective: Construct a marble run from components that one or more balls pass through and decorate this track with decorative elements from the themed worlds of desert, ocean, ice and jungle.

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Gravitrax Junior: What Can I Expect From Gravitrax Junior?

"Gravitrax Junior marble run track with action stones Hammer and Trap"

Marble run track with action stones Hammer and Trap

With the new product line, children should be able to build marble tracks without the help of their parents and also design them with decorative elements. To get started, as usual with GraviTrax, you need a starter set, which contains all the parts that the little ones need to build varied tracks. There are starter sets in different sizes (S, L, XXL) – that means with and without thematic 3D decoration and different in scope. They can be supplemented with extensions, further action bricks and deco sets.

What’s new about this GraviTrax product line is that it’s not just about building tracks, but that you can also decorate them with decorative elements from different theme worlds. So far, there is a Starter Set Jungle (L) and a Starter Set Ice (L), each with 100 components, and also an XXL variant, the Starter Set My Planet with 200 pieces, which includes the themed worlds of Ice World, Ocean, Jungle and Desert. The smallest Starter Set S contains 38 parts purely for building without decorative parts. More information about the different Starter Sets can be found further down in the article.

So far, the GraviTrax Junior components are not compatible with GraviTrax components!

What’s Inside the Starter Sets?

"The contents are nicely arranged in the box of GraviTrax Junior"

All parts can be neatly stored in the linen bags and compartments

The Jungle and Ice World starter sets contain the identical track parts, only the decorative elements are either Tropics or Ice World. The My Planet starter set does not include a seesaw, but it does include parts from all previously available theme worlds, including Desert and Ocean, which are available separately as expansions.

Each starter set comes with assembly instructions with explanations in picture form. The first times you explain it to the child so and helps and after a while my little one was able to take the pictures alone to help. The instructions are folded into a poster with animals that the child can hang up.

The Components and Action Bricks at Gravitrax Junior

"The components of GraviTrax Junior are simpler than those of its big sister GraviTrax."

The components are made of a new material, have rounded corners and a wider track

The hexagonal components are rounded at the corners and there are height blocks only in one size. These can be stacked on top of each other as usual and the track building blocks can be placed on top of them. The track building blocks include straight lines, straight lines with inclines, curves, tighter curves, a seesaw (not included in “Ice”) and an action block is also included in all starter sets: the hammer. It looks different from the hammer that you know from the previous GraviTrax – coarser and also easier to put together, but therefore also works for small children’s hands. The hammer is inserted into two holes in a straight line, which are located in the building block. Excitingly, these holes are also on other components. What are they for? The answer is in the linen bag.

The Decorative Elements

"With the decorative elements children can creatively design their marble run"

Various decorative elements from the GraviTrax Junior Starter Set My Planet

In the canvas bag are 3 different colored balls and decorative elements to make the ball track as a jungle, desert or ocean. 3D animals, 3D plants, 3D flowers, 3D landscape elements, deco plates with animal tracks and cardboard plates with pictures of animals that can be placed on holders next to the track. The deco elements can be placed well freely, either on height bricks, put into the holes on the track parts, or put or placed next to them. The parts fit exactly on each other!

Which Is More Worthwhile? Starter Set Jungle or Ice vs. XXL Starter Set My Planet?

The Starter Set My Planet has a larger package, because it contains twice as many parts as the two Starter Sets L. This is also reflected in the price, the list price of the XXL-Starer Set is twice as high as the other two smaller Starter Sets and is 100€. But the XXL set contains parts from all 4 theme worlds, the other two starter sets only contain parts for the jungle or eternal ice theme. As with the other Starter Sets, the hammer is part of the Ice Starter Set, but the seesaw is not. The target stone is larger than the XXL Starter Set. Super are the tunnel components, which are designed as a tent or igloo and through which the ball rolls.

But what is more worthwhile as a starter set? If you’re unsure whether your child is into construction toys and you’re not a GraviTrax enthusiast yourself, I recommend either the Jungle or Ice Cream Starter Set to get started. They cost half as much and there is enough included for the child to build with variety and for you to find out if it is the new favorite toy. Then you can always add on with expansions and action bricks. From the starter set Start ‘n’ Run I personally advise against, because there are too few components to build varied and lacks any decorative elements. It is more suitable as a supplement as a second starter set with components.

If the parents and big siblings are already fire and flame of GraviTrax (like me), who will be happy with the Starter Set XXL and even more components.

What Action Bricks and Extensions Are Available?

"The GraviTrax Junior Action bricks Hammer and Trap"

The GraviTrax Junior Action bricks Hammer and Trap

The theme worlds Desert and Ocean are available as an expansion. There are also more components in Trax and two action pieces. The hammer gives the ball a push and sends it with more momentum further down the track to overcome longer distances. The Trap sends the ball invisible to the child’s eye one level lower.

What Is Different With Gravitrax Junior Than With the Previous Gravitrax?

While with the previous GraviTrax (and GraviTrax Pro and GraviTrax Power) there are no separating chambers in the box and all the pieces fly wildly around, the box is divided into 2 chambers and there are cloth bags in which you can clean up the stones wonderfully after playing.

The big difference is that the components are larger (on average 6 cm in diameter) with rounded corners. To facilitate gripping, the surfaces are slightly curved. At a glance, the track parts look like they are made of wood and are very high quality workmanship. They are made of bio-based plastic with wood fibers mixed in. This already looks super good and feels very good in the hands. Also, the balls are larger with a diameter of 2 cm and the paths that run through are more ready.

Another difference is that there are no rails and no switches. The track is built only from components (bridges, straights, curves, slopes) and is thus more stable. However, this also means that the ball can only roll in one direction. Presumably, there will also be no rails in the future, because unlike the previous GraviTrax components are missing the recesses in which you hung the rails.

As usual, the Junior Action pieces provide variety and more speed. They are kept simple but work as usual.

Evaluation and Conclusion

[En="All*parts*and*elements*of*the*Gravitrax*Junior*marble*run*are*optimally*crafted*for*small*children's*hands" De="Alle*Teile*und*Elemente*der*Gravitrax*Junior*Kugelbahn*sind*optimal*für*kleine*Kinderhände*gearbeitet"]

High quality, well thought out and optimal for small children's hands is the marble run for the little ones

High-quality material, loving details and children’s hands get along great with the new components and can build and decorate varied, imaginative ball tracks across the world alone. While building and playing freely, the youngest children develop their motor skills and spatial imagination and engage imaginatively with animals, plants and landscapes of our planet. The new GraviTrax Junior product line for the little ones makes a very well thought-out impression and inspires with loving details and high quality.

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Pro and Con

Colorful, creative and still GraviTrax. Ravensburger’s new GraviTrax product line for the little ones was certainly not designed quickly to throw a product for the smallest on the market but is well thought out. The components are made of plastic mixed with wood fibers, are slightly curved and designed to be perfect for children’s hands to grip and feel comfortable. Like all GraviTrax products, there are different starter sets, extensions and action bricks for the Junior variant to combine with each other. This guarantees long-lasting fun – and in the future, new extensions and action bricks will certainly be developed regularly to bring in something new. Building and decorating marble runs will spark enthusiasm for the GraviTrax universe in even the youngest children. Anyone who has already played with their toddler with the previous GraviTrax will be thrilled to know that there are no tracks that kids have their problems with. Instead, there are bricks shaped like bridges or tunnels and lots of decoration for the little ones’ play instincts.

As you read, I and my little one are totally thrilled. But there is one drawback with the new GraviTrax Junior – it is not compatible with the previous GraviTrax. Also, no complex tracks can be built with it – but that’s not the point of it, because when the kids can build more complex, the time has come for GraviTrax. 🙂 If it were up to me, I would also want a turnout. It brings a lot of variety in building and is also easy to build for 3-year-olds.

Is It Worth Buying the Gravitrax Junior?

Overall, GraviTrax Junior is just super great. Both the Jungle and Ice starter sets and the XXL starter set My Planet contain everything the little ones need (for now) for free building, role-playing and decorating. For those who do not yet have a marble run, Junior is highly recommended.

With 3-year-olds, you have to build together a few times until they can manage on their own. Very large tracks are not possible with the starter set alone – but what children from 3-5 years already build large constructs?

Conclusion

The pretty presentation with decorative animals, plants, flowers from the themed worlds of ocean, ice, desert and jungle make the ball track build already for children from 3 years an attractive game. The quality of the components, which fit together super even for small children’s hands, should be emphasized. A highly recommended construction game for the little ones!

Playing is the most beautiful and important thing for children there is. In our Family Games we present and evaluate our game discoveries and interesting game novelties. From the interactive temple building game Menara to games for download. On Friendship Adventure it’s all about filling your time with nice leisure activities with kids, friends and your partner.

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*This article contains affiliate links. This means that if a product (e.g. on amazon) is ordered through it, we receive a small commission without changing anything for the buyer on the price.

 

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