By Smart Lab

Reviewed for Third Grade, 2012

Weird and Wacky Contraption Lab

Playing with marbles on the floor is a thing of the past. This construction lab takes marble play to a whole new level of fun! Your little engineer will start with a Velcro wall, and then add all kinds of ramps and contraptions that will create the path of your marble. The goal of this Rube-Goldberg throwback is to make a marble track that successfully drops a marble onto a target that launches a plastic pig. Kid-approved and good for hours of play without getting boring, this is the kind of activity that kids can work together building, or have fun doing it alone. Kids will get experience using trial and error to learn from their mistakes and improve their designs a little bit at a time. They’ll also be seeing a lot of important physics concepts in action, including simple machines and Newton’s Laws of motion and gravity. (Smart Lab, $37)