For the second toy concept, a binary marble track.
The principle that this toy is based on is just a two-state ticker. The two states represent a binary bit. One action, a marble rolling into the intake, will toggle the ticker between its two states. If there’s a marble in the ticker, that’s an active bit. When a new marble rolls in, the ticker drops the marble it’s holding, and the new marble moves out to the next bit.
The toy will be a big column. Kids will put marbles into any place in the top, press the release button, and then the tickers will go through their process to calculate a number. At first, the kids will just play around and look at the rolling marbles. As they work more, they’ll hopefully see a pattern to the process and learn about base 2 counting.
For manufacturing, most of it should be made out of die-cast plastic. Aluminum axles for the tickers will make it a bit more resilient to wear, but most of the parts will be out of the reach of children. The biggest worry is the throw-ability of a large column. The construction will have to be pretty sturdy to withstand the abuse of a young child.