Test your skill with 3D Maze Balls

Toyland Tuesday

Test your skill with 3D Maze Balls

Way back in the dusty, distant past, I had a little cube maze that my parents had in the coffee table drawer. The cube was about the size of a Rubik’s Cube. It was transparent. It had 7 or 8 layers and a tiny metal ball to traverse the maze. It was quite challenging, but the tunnels were entirely enclosed. As such, the worst that could happen was that boredom or frustration might end the maze run prematurely.

Jump forward to today and the challenge is now considerably more daunting. Today’s mazes are free-standing structures within a plastic ball. The maze runner is a small silver sphere that has an unfortunate tendency to go kerplunk on the bottom of the ball. The maze is truly 3D. You will need to negotiate stairs, spirals, ramps with no side-rails and even drop through a hole that requires 90° or even 180° turns of the sphere.

Creator of the Perplexus, Michael McGinnis, has a lifelong passion for mazes. He figured a way to use every surface of the maze elements as a pathway for the runner. His work has been widely imitated and a variety of 3D Maze Balls are currently available. The main advantage of any of these educational toys is that it requires no batteries. The maze is powered by your own determination to master the challenges presented.

The various 3D Maze Balls are listed as being appropriate for ages 7-15, but they are devilishly addictive at any age. Younger children will be proud to have gotten even halfway through the maze. It is also a great toy for teaching perseverance. I cannot help but sing the praises of a toy that challenges mind and body, dexterity and willpower.

My own son has two of these mind-bending mazes. They’ve provided hours of amusement for him and the rest of us. Moving that shiny little ball every which way can hook you in for hours. Getting it all the way through the obstacles is a great rush of triumph.

This is a wonderful toy that can provide hours of mental stimulation for children of any age.

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