Its not surprising that something so fun looking could entertain my boys. Especially when we are so into racecars and racing around here. For the holidays, our 4 year old was gifted a racecar starter set while my 2-year-old received a CARS racetrack. Perfect for both. They’re noisy, fun to watch and you can play over and over.
But the 4-year-old’s starter set was just that, a starter set. And while there are 3 different tracks that could be set up, it didn’t do much besides race a car around and around. I’ll give it credit for its loop being exciting. However, the pieces were flimsy and the cars often fell off.
About 2 weeks after the holidays I spotted a more deluxe set at a more deluxe toy store. Darda’s set looked amazing. It was colorful, huge and their were elements to it; elements like interactive cars, several loops and, hold your breath Moms, no batteries or electricity! And so my investigation began.
Turns out, Darda tracks are a lot more sturdy. They’re made from the same plastic as football helmets. And while they may bend upon a lot of pressure or a big “boom” (if you will… keep in mind, a house full of boys) they aren’t flimsy and our set has stayed together since the first time we snapped it. We have the Jay Jay Jet Plane Sky Tag Set, which means that instead of cars racing on ours, we have the beloved Jay Jay and Tracey. With a suggested minimum age of 4, my husband will be the first to tell you its for a preschooler and his parent. The looping pieces were a bit difficult to align (though now that they are aligned, the show no sign of detatching) but the racetrack and curves were simple for our 4-year-old to attach.
The greatest thing about this set is that it calls for no batteries. Which means its not so loud. (SCORE one for Mom!) Where the lesser brand just needs a racecar pushed between the spinning wheels, Darda’s racers have a non-battery-operator motor inside. This means a bit of winding (another area that a preschooler’s parent will help.) The racer needs to be pulled back again and again to give it enough momentum to speed through the loops and curves of the raceway. Where upon, in the case of Jay Jay’s set, it will meet Tracey, who was also wound (she takes practice because she can’t be bumped), bump into her (or in the case of our house of boys, ^^CRASH^^ into her!!) and set her flying through the loops.
In all, its a very fun toy. Its going to last a lot longer than the bigger brand due to the stronger materials and the lack of batteries. I do recommended buying extra motors up front when you purchase your set. Not because you’ll need it right away, but because if the motor dies, its not as simple to replace as running to the workroom for another battery. Use promotion code MWS0208 for a 10% discount off of retail ($44.99).
For the younger ones who look starry-eyed at big brothers’ racetracks, the Pixar Cars Lightning Fast Speedway Track Set has been a hit for our 2-year-old, as well as his 2-year-old buddies. This set is perfect for travel and for clean-up, as its all one piece. Just pull it open, take out the car and turn it on (yes, this one does use batteries). Then watch Lightning McQueen race around and around and around the infinity raceway. The set comes with a Match-box sized Lightning, but I recommend at least one additional car from the movie. Infact, we’ve have more Cars cars than I knew the names of racing around the track.

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