Every year, we keep an eye on hot holiday toy trends, and no surprise here, STEM toys are still a big ticket item for the 2019 holiday season. When we look for STEM toys, we particularly appreciate ones that teach kids STEM concepts by encouraging creative, out-of-the-box thinking. And if there’s no screen required, well, you won’t hear us complaining.

That’s why we’re so pleased to introduce you to our newest sponsor Ravensburger. Their fantastic STEM toy GraviTrax checks off all our boxes when it comes to the types of things we love – for our own kids and we hope, for yours too. This interactive marble run and construction set will keep your kids busy for hours, maybe even you too. How do I know this? Well, we gave it a try ourselves, and let’s just say it’s been keeping us entertained for a week now. Yes, even my husband and I got in on the fun.

Here, we’re sharing 5 reasons why this STEM toy should be at the top of your holiday shopping list – whether you’re playing Santa for your own kids, or someone else’s. -Kristen

1. Kids learn STEM concepts, no screen required 

With GraviTrax, kids are experimenting with gravity, magnetism, and simple physics to get their marble to the finish line, all through hands-on building. My 12-year old son loved challenging himself by creating builds provided in the Starter Set (with the assistance of my 11-year old), while my 9-year old wanted to do her own thing. That’s what makes this toy so versatile.

And what’s cool is that there are no screens required to play. Just kids building with their hands (and their minds) to make some pretty awesome tracks.

2. But if you want a screen integration, they’ve got it!

The GraviTrax app adds a tech component to play | sponsor

So here’s the thing: If you like the idea of a digital element, kids can download the free GraviTrax app to create custom builds and watch them come to life in digital form. Or, they can test out track ideas online before they build them in real life, which to me is very similar to what students might be doing in their own classes (think architecture or engineering). And if you’ve got a Virtual Reality headset, you can hook it up to bring the track to life in 3D, which is very 2019.

Keep in mind that this is just a very cool extra feature, and not a requirement for the fun.

3. It’s a fantastic whole family or multi-kid gift idea

Gravitrax is a great multi-kid big family holiday gift | sponsor

With four kids, it never fails that I get calls from the grandparents every holiday season asking me what sort of group gift they could get my kids. And well, with an age range from 9 to 15, that’s a little tricky. However, with GraviTrax, you’ve got a toy that kids of all ages will love, and can play with cooperatively. My 9, 11, and 12 year old have been working together for days now, building tracks together, and on their own. In fact, even my husband was like “wow, I wish we had something like this when I was a kid,” and then realized he could play with it too.

4. Kids can follow directions, or build their own

Build your own marble track with Gravitrax | Sponsor

So the Starter Set comes with 100 pieces and 18 unique action parts. We haven’t seen a marble run set that has so many interesting components. My son started by making a pretty simple track, and then decided to challenge himself with a much harder one – all by following the directions included with the game.

But if you’ve got kids who love to do their own thing, they will love GraviTrax. There are so many unique pieces that are very easily constructed, that they can create their own track quickly, which if you have kids, you know is important.

5. Super cool expansion sets and accessories that extend play time

Along with the Starter Set, GraviTrax offers some cool expansion sets and accessories allowing them to do trick shots with trampolines, scoops, magnetic cannons, flips and more. When I said this was not the marble run toy of your youth, I wasn’t kidding. What this also means for us, the parents buying the toy, is that this has a lot of legs. If your kids are happy with the starter set, the grandparents can chip in with the expansion sets and accessories, for birthdays or down-the-road holidays, all of which work well with the original starter set you bought.

Thanks so much to our sponsor Ravensburger for creating GraviTrax, a toy that has happily taken over my basement floor. It’s a great joy to see all your kids working together to create something awesome. You can purchase the GraviTrax starter set, along with the expansion packs, at Target and Target.com.

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