The great way to keep kids busy indoors or out, helping them get creative as well as learn a few simple laws of physics is making a recycled marble run.
You should know that there are no rules at all to make your own marble run. The purpose of the game is to take your marble on an adventure through an imaginative assault course, using just gravity as ‘fuel’.
1. What to build with
The idea of making your own marble is to be as creative as you want, using materials that you may already have in your recycling box. Basically, you want things that will make tunnels, chutes and towers. We recommend:
• Cardboard tubes (eg toilet rolls, or kitchen paper rolls – or even sturdier tubes from the inside of cling film rolls)
• Newspaper (to roll into tubes)
• Pipe lagging (foam insulation tubing)
• Small cardboard boxes from eg cereal, tissues, toothpaste – or milk/juice cartons
• Plastic drinks bottles
• Egg cartons (to catch marbles at the end).
2. You’ll also need
• A big cardboard box to build it all in
• Sellotape or masking tape
• Two-sided tape
• Sticky tray
3. Tips on making your marble run
• The easiest way to build your marble runs in a large cardboard box is with no lid. You can use tape or trays to hold different parts in place
• Cut the tubes of cardboard in half the length and tie them together to finish, forming a long aisle.
• You can use the roll up newspaper to create covered tunnels.
• Cut the top of the plastic drink bottle and turn it up – down to make a great chimney.
• Other types of cardboard or rolls can serve as different height towers for rest. Draw around the end of your trail, see where to cut a semi-circular out of the tower, and gully your entrance. Then secure it with tape
• The top edge of your cardboard box is the right place to attach your first chute, allowing your marble hand to help out of gravity. You can even create a small hole at the side of the box to feed your marbles, like next to a table football game.
• Cut your egg carton into small cups, you can put the end of your chutes for the marbles to drop into. Again, use tape or trays to keep them stable in your box.
• If you are facing a challenge, you can create alternate routes, by sticking on a small cardboard cover that you can move into place to transfer the marbles as needed – some points in a rails are driven by signals.
When you are contented with your run, try it with marble! Check marble without getting stuck anywhere, and smooth out any problem areas with additional ice if needed.
• If you have the time, you can decorate your marble run, or include the Start and End signs.
• You can race your friends by changing it and how long it will take for your marble to pass through the other end.
Let’s try to make your own marble run as creative as you are!