Toys are meant to be touched and played with, but there's one toy that kids (and grownups) are happy to just stare at for hours on end: marble mazes. But Marbleocity's laser-cut wooden marble runs aren't completely hands-off; they arrive 'all assembly required', making them even more fun.
The Marbleocity marble machines are laser cut from Baltic birch plywood and come flat-packed like the IKEA furniture that got you through college. But unlike furniture, these kits are targeted towards children, teaching them STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) lessons about physics and simple machines using a collection of fun characters in the instruction manuals. All you really need to build them is glue, which is the one tool most kids have mastered.
Don't for a second think these kits are only for kids, though. The creators of the Marbleocity marble machines actually have a series of 'mini' kits that are the perfect size to tuck back in the corner of your desk and pull out whenever you lose interest in a conference call.
That is, if you can resist the lure of the larger sets designed after real-life roller coasters and skateboard parks. These sets include more obstacles, more ramps, and more loops for marbles, or metal ball bearings, to race through. They're also each designed to work independently in an endless loop, or connect together to create one massive productivity-destroying marble machine.
Marbleocity's Kickstarter campaign has already managed to raise $US75,000+ to help fund new production and manufacturing equipment, which is well past its original $US14,000 goal. Not surprisingly, there is apparently still a big demand for marble mazes.
If you want to pre-order one for yourself, and contribute to the Marbleocity cause, the cheapest option is the $US30 Mini Coaster Maker Kit, arriving sometime in February of next year. If you want to splurge, the $US60 Deluxe Dragon Coaster Kit is the better way to go, because it includes an electric motor so it runs continuously all by itself, letting you just sit back and stare at the controlled chaos. [Kickstarter - Marbleocity]