If you’ve ever wanted 30 minutes of peace as the parent of a young child I recommend you stop reading this and just go buy a box of Magic Tracks. They’re $20. Do yourself the favor. However, if you want to know why I say this here’s our Magic Tracks review:
You’ve been sitting at home listening to your kids squeal for no reason while a cartoon plays nonsense in the background and toys fly seemingly of their own accord across the living room. You’re wiped out from work and just need a minute without having to corral children and chase them off the couch that they love to jump on. Magic tracks (see: Amazon.com) seem to do the trick quite nicely, and they’re affordable.
The kit comes with 11 feet of track that clips together by simply pressing the pieces together and a small battery powered car. The car runs on 3 AAA batteries that are not included. Also, and be warned, there are stickers in the kit to decorate the car we found these stickers stuck to everything because after he decorated the car we neglected to put the remaining stickers up out of his reach.
The track itself is very flexible. 11 feet doesn’t seem like a lot, but for a small child it’s plenty and can be manipulated into several complex courses. They can also place objects under the track to make the car climb up and over the obstacles (up to about an inch, maybe 2). One entertaining tip: the track bends in every direction so you can fold it in on itself to make a loop. You can then put the car inside the loop and give it a never ending track (think hamster wheel).
The car is small and as stated runs on batteries. A decent set of batteries will power the car for several days with a considerable amount of use so you won’t burn through batteries like some toy cars. There is a small power button on the top of the car to switch it on and off and it should be relatively easy for your child to do this.
Let me explain the “glowing tracks”. The tracks themselves are glow-in-the-dark. That being said they do not glow well. I have, in fact, not been able to get the tracks to glow. The company says that you can jump-start the glow by shining a very bright light at the track and then the lights on the car will keep it charged.
For all intents and purposes I will say that the track does not glow, although they probably would look pretty cool under a black light. The car has small LED lights on the back and front that point down toward the track and light up the area its traveling on. The effect is pretty cool against the translucent plastic of the track and honestly the fact that the track doesn’t glow in the dark as advertised doesn’t really take anything away from the toy itself.
Storage is simple and easy and honestly is what makes magic tracks my favorite among my kid’s cars and tracks. You simply pull one section of the track apart and you can roll it up on itself for easy storage. If you leave a small space in the center you can even set the car inside the coiled up track so it doesn’t take up any additional space. This allows you to store the track in the box it came in. We’ve opted to a plastic tote but the box works just fine.
So how does this toy give you any more peace than any other toy you’ve ever bought? While every child is different and some may genuinely not like this toy, the children I’ve watched play with this will sit (mostly quietly) and watch the cars go around to tracks for extended periods of time. They will move the track into new configurations, and if you show them how the car can climb they will have even more things to try as they create new obstacles.
I have seen my child and my nephew play with this toy for up to an hour without getting bored of it. There are flashing lights the, whir of the little motor, endless track combinations and races to keep them entertained. If you need a minute to gather your thoughts this toy will do the trick.
A few words of caution: This toy does have some small parts so keep an eye on your children while they play. This toy does make noise. The little engine itself is not the quietest toy car engine I’ve ever heard and the plastic wheels running on the plastic track do make a clicking sound. Do not think that you will watch the next episode of Vikings while your kids play quietly on the floor. If you’re patient, though, the noise it creates will slowly become white-noise that you can easily ignore.
At the end of the day, my child and I both love this thing. I have been caught more than once in the floor playing with him, laughing as we make ramps and different tracks. We have actually bought a second set to expand the track and give him two cars to play with. For my money this toy is well worth the $20 investment and I’m glad we bought it.
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