I am always looking for something different for Christmas, especially for my husband. I like to buy him something that can be opened as a surprise or with an element of fun to go with the things he has asked for, the DIY stuff or the obligatory underwear.
I first saw GraviTrax at Blog On last year and knew immediately that I was going to get some for him for Christmas that year, I knew he would like it and the Little Ones would too.
GraviTrax from Ravensburger is an innovative track system combining gravity, magnetism and kinetics with rails and tiles. With endless possibilities you can design a different track every time you play and limitless expansion possibilities mean you can build just about whatever you want.
I bought the GraviTrax starter pack (around £38) last Christmas for my husband which contains instructions, card bases, transparent levels, gravity spheres, various base pieces, vertical tiles, rails and a magnetic cannon. With over 100 pieces to create your first tracks, to say it was well received is an understatement. The hubby and the Little Ones loved it and set to work almost straight away building tracks and having fun.
GraviTrax gets played with quite a lot in our house, sometimes it is out all weekend and other times my husband sets it up in the evening tinkering and getting his track just so then leaving it for the Little Ones to play with the following day.
It was clear quite quickly that one pack wasn't enough for us and that we seemed to need more of some parts than others. GraviTrax can be extended indefinitely with various add on packs or extension kits and so for the husbands birthday I bought a trax pack extension (around £20) which contained more tiles, bases, rails and spheres meaning he could build higher and have more drops and height in his track.
Then there are single add ons that add more fun and enhance the playability plus they can also make setting up the track more fun and a little challenging with my husband loves. I bought him a loop the loop which does what it says, it needs a bit of power behind the sphere to work so we find adding a bit of height in the track before it or having the cannon before it on the track does the trick.
I saw GraviTrax again at Blog On this year and we were kindly gifted by Ravensburger the latest add ons to try out with our existing track kits.
The volcano, the flip and the trampoline- first up is the volcano, just like the real thing this is an explosion, though of fun, thank goodness. You place three spheres in the gaps in the volcano and set up three runs of track from each of them (or you could use less if you had less track). Simply set another ball rolling towards the volcano and when it hits the side pressure button it sends all three spheres shooting off (you can see it in action in my video below.)
Next up is the flip, seriously cool if you ask me, you set it by twisting it and latching it into place then when the sphere gets to it it grabs it and flings it onto the track a few inches head. Once you have worked out where the sphere will land and set up your track it works almost everytime. My husband loved the challenge of getting this right, what pieces of track to use, working out where it would land and how to keep the momentum moving, just remember to reset it each time you set the track going.
Each add on is priced between £8-£13 depending what is included in the pack and as well as the add on piece itself all the ones we have received have included some track too though this does vary depending on which one you get.
This add on does take a little working out, the sphere needs to fall at the right angle so that it bounces across rather than off to the side or up and took the husband an hour to get right but once he did it worked well. This add on can be a little less reliable than the others as sometimes the ball doesn't bounce back onto the track in the right place or stops on the second trampoline but we found it works more often than not and does depend on the speed and drop of the track before it. This actually adds to the fun of the track, it would be a bit boring of everything worked all the time, bigger kids and grown ups will love the challenge.
We seem to be getting quite a bit of GraviTrax now and, shh I have bought another add on for the husband for Christmas too. It would be a fab gift for anyone, young or old, (suitable for ages 8+) and perfect for that fun gift or 'what on earth can I buy for Uncle Mike' moment.
Check out the video below of or graviTrax in action.....