You can create Marble runs on any scale with just a few household materials. This is an interesting and smart project for kids as it teaches them how to create and problem-solve as they lay out their marble tracks, test them and make adjustments. We constructed the mini marble runs in shoe boxes, and the mega marble runs on sheets of cardboard, hung from the picture molding. While colored masking is not a must, it can instantly transform this project into a masterpiece!
Cardboard tubes (paper towel, wrapping paper, toilet paper tubes, etc.)
Large cardboard packing box (or large pieces of cardboard)
Scissors and packing tape
Colored masking tapes (from the hardware store)
30 minutes to make each version and countless minutes of fun!
(1) Decorate the cardboard tubes with colored masking tape. It’s easy to tear, adds plenty of bright colors, and strengthens the tube. This is where younger kids can come in.
(2) Cut each tube in half and decorate the inside with tape (think racing stripes). You can tape designs to the shoe box too.
(3) Lay out the “half-pipes” inside the box so that they connect. Trim as needed. Use the sides and the back of the box. Secure with tape.
(4) Cut a hole at the top for the marble or spring ball. Test the marble run, adjust, and repeat
For the mega version, use one or more large pieces of cardboard from packing boxes.
(5) Frame the cardboard sheets in masking tape. Hang them on the wall with twine and a tack, or from the picture molding.
(6) Tape the tubes onto the cardboard, testing the marble run as you go.
(7) You will probably need to add blockers at key points; we used bits of cardboard taped to the ends of tubes.
(8) Try different types of marbles and spring balls; each one behaves differently. Have fun!
Trouble-shooting your marble run means looking for any parts of the project that keeps your marble from reaching the end. As you add tubes, test your marble run and find out what’s working and what’s not. You might adjust the position of the tube, the angle, or the distance from the preceding tube. In some cases, you may need to add a stopper to keep the marble from flying off the end.
Finally, discover more exciting kids’ art and projects on the blog!
Have on hand for next Friday’s project:
Packs of Post-it notes
Sharpie pen or markers
Curious Jane, founded by contributor Samantha Razook Murphy, offers project-based after-school programs and summer camps, revolving around creativity in the arts and sciences.
POSTED IN: KID DIY · TAGGED: ART PROJECT, EASY KID CRAFTS, INDOOR ACTIVITIES, KIDS’ ART, KIDS’ ART PROJECTS