When was the last time you didn’t see one of these tables at the doctor’s office, daycare, library, or your local playspace? Bead and wire roller coasters are one of those classic toys that just about everyone (adults included) have played with at least once in their lifetime. What makes these toys so great? How about the fact that they are completely closed systems, so there are no loose parts for babes to put into their mouths? Or, how they help develop fine motor skills, working on dexterity and small movement manipulation? If nothing else, they’re bright and colorful and encourage kids to explore, which is A-OK in our books. But did you know that these toys aren’t just the simple bended wire contraptions you might have seen–some of them have inventive shapes, awesome colors, and some are absolutely over the top. Just check out some of our favorite picks below and see just how cool these coasters really are.
For the Kid Who Love Trains
Simple in design with only two tracks, this train-shaped bead coaster is just too cute and is sure to be a huge hit with our train-loving little ones. We love the little train pieces alongside the beads, including the tiny caboose and passenger cars. Making your own train sound effects when playing with this coaster are mandatory, so you better start digging through that toy chest to find your wooden train whistle.
The All-in-One Set
Bead and wire roller coasters are all about sensory play, and this cube takes full advantage of all the bells and whistles that a growing kid needs to work on those fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination. Each side features a different toy to play with including: an abacus, a gear set, an alphabet wheel, and a pathfinder. Of course, the top comes with the classic bead roller coaster.
When Tabletop Isn’t Enough
Most bead roller coasters are tabletop sets, but this one actually is a table. The clover shape allows for multiple players to gather around and share in the fun. And the fun doesn’t stop at the top either, each of the four legs have their own set of coaster tracks swirling around them, making almost every square inch of this table completely interactive.
Best for Tots on the Move
If your kids are anything like ours, they want to bring their toys with them everywhere they go, often leaving a trail of playthings in their wake. Now they can have their coaster and play with it too thanks to the handy wheels attached to this train-shaped set. Everything from the wheels to the wire stops on this wooden toy look great, and really make the entire toy look like a moving train. The giraffe wire walker can be moved around the wires into whatever silly shape you want to make him.
Play With a Friend
Ok, so unless you’ve got the makings of a little league basketball team running around your house, this four-seater bead and wire table is probably overkill. Each seat is colorfully painted, with a variety of bead and wire tracks leading from one end of the table to the other. Kids can get lost for hours pushing the little beads along the crazy and colorful loops of wire.
Can’t Get Enough Beads
Beads, beads, beads everywhere! The second play cube on our list, this 5-sided toy is also best enjoyed with a few friends, but can keep one kiddo occupied for quite some time. Each station requires a different type of interactive movement, so your tyke will be working on everything from coordination to muscle control with each and every exercise. All the paint is lead free and the entire system is fully enclosed, so it’s safe for every age.
The Big Kahuna
So you’ve played on the clover-shaped coaster table but that still wasn’t enough action for your little ones. That’s when you need to make the step up to the jungle set roller coaster–the ultimate in kinetic entertainment. Standing over 3 feet tall with over 15 different tracks, few toys are as impressive as this freestanding behemoth. Coming in at a whopping 45 pounds, this table would be the central attraction in the playroom that has it all.
Where was the last place you played with one of these fun bead and wire roller coasters?