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Toy Review: Modular Toys 3D Racetrack

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Construction toys are as old as blocks. As technology improves, so do they. Modern plastic molding can bring us just about anything we want, but it takes a stroke of genius to make a radical leap forward. With its innovative system of connector pieces, the Israeli Modular Toys, imported to the US by Pechter Play, takes building to a whole new creative level.

Modular Toys_SKU 1010_3D Racetrack_piecesThe widest-selling set from Modular Toys is the 3D Racetrack. It comes with plenty of turns, ramps, and intersections, but what makes it unique are the forty connection pieces. Other construction sets have the connectors built in to the pieces, often sacrificing potential new angles for play. In Modular Toys, the track pieces each have a gap on the end that fits to the niche of the double-sided connector. Any piece may be attached to any other piece, even upside-down.

Because of its modularity, the racetrack can fit with any of the other Modular Toy sets, such as train sets and castles. For the first time, kids are able to have their racecar burst onto a train track before swooping through a castle to make a flying leap back onto the racetrack. Imagination knows no bounds, and multifunction toys enable creativity to run wild. The track size is appropriate for most 1:64 scale cars, meaning that play can even interact with other toys already in the toy box.

Everything is modular in the set, including the two cars and toy person included in the pack. Rather than a simple head-torso-legs system, the Modular Toys people may be broken down to their shoes, hats, and sleeves, giving more room for creativity as kids build their own townspeople for their racetrack. Figures can be placed inside a modular car (with its own interchangeable chassis) to increase the weight for speed or just for fun to give a driver to speed around the turns.

For kids who would like a little more permanence, the track and cars also come with stickers. Many of the stickers are intended for particular accent pieces, such as the gas pump or stoplights. Others are strictly for fun like arrows and speed lines. After assembling a track, kids can lay the Start, Finish, and Caution lines. Once the stickers are down, they are tricky to get back up, but they are subtle enough not to interfere with future play outside of aesthetics.

The Modular Toys Racetrack is recommended for kids aged four and up. It does not take much dexterity to assemble the pieces, but they do require some strength to pop them together fully. For stubborn connectors, a special extractor piece makes popping them out easy even for little hands. As kids build, they will interpret the laws of physics to get cars to roll down ramps and go around corners at proper speed, giving the racetrack a great potential for hands-on learning and problem-solving.

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About Jeff Provine

Jeff Provine is a Composition professor, novelist, cartoonist, and traveler of three continents. His latest book is a collection of local ghost legends, Campus Ghosts of Norman, Oklahoma.