Did you know you can recycle cardboard boxes into cool cardboard toys? Our latest creation is a fun DIY Cardboard Marble Run. It turned out really cool and the kids loved creating this marble run project.
Wondering how do you make a cardboard Marble run? It’s actually pretty easy to do. All you need is a large box, toilet and paper towel rolls, glue, and marbles.
Kids can use STEM strategies to figure out how to design the run so the marble ends up in the rolls at the end. That’s the challenging part they’ll really enjoy. Once it’s completed kids can guess where the marble will end up and try different size marbles to see if it makes a difference.
Use our simple marble run instructions to make your own cardboard marble run with your kids. It’s a fun and cheap kids activity to do together with items you would have just throw away.
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Fun DIY Cardboard Marble Run Ideas for Kids
Creating your own DIY cardboard marble runs is a fun way to teach your kids to recycled cardboard and other items at home. In making a cardboard STEM challenge kids will learn to look differently at the items you throw away and think about how to reuse them.
Plus they’ll have a great time playing with this fun recycled cardboard toy.
What You Need
Here is what you need to make your cardboard marble run.
- Large Cardboard Box
- Several Paper Towel Rolls or Wrapping Paper Rolls
- Several Toilet Paper Rolls
- Hot Glue Gun (can use tape or Elmer’s glue too)
How to Make a DIY Cardboard Marble Run
The first step is finding a box that will work for your marble run. We used a box we picked up at Costco with our order but you can use any long cardboard box you have.
If your box doesn’t have sides you will need to add sides to keep the marbles from falling out.
Now layout your paper towel rolls and toilet paper rolls and decide where they should be glued down. This is the STEM part of the challenge deciding how to line up your rolls so that the marble will roll down into your hole at the bottom.
We added toilet paper rolls at the bottom to catch the marbles and used the paper towel rolls to guide the marbles down the run.
The fun part will be playing with this to see which works best for your marble run.
To add more spaces for the marble to land beside the toilet paper rolls we added color tape between the toilet paper rolls. This will help with a game later to give different level of points for landing on different colors or into the toilet paper rolls.
Cut out a hole at the tops where you can drop your marble. You may also want to experiment with larger marbles or bouncy balls later so make the hole large enough for different sizes.
You’ll want the hole to line up with your top paper towel rolls so that when you drop it the marble will hit the marble run.
Now that you have your layout of where you want all your rolls it’s time to glue.
We started at the bottom so that we made sure the rolls all lead to rolling the marble into the toilet paper rolls at the end. You could mark the box with a pencil where you pick up the rolls so you know where you laid it out before gluing.
We used a hot glue gun because the roll seemed to stay better. However, if you don’t have a hot glue gun you could tape the rolls by running a heavy tape through the whole roll.
Or you could try Elmer’s Glue. It won’t last as long but if it falls down you can just retry making your maze with a different pattern. Which might also be fun for the kids.
Once the glue dries you are done and your cardboard marble run is ready to play!
Cardboard Marble Run Challenge
Now create a fun STEM challenge out of your marble run. Kids will observe which roll or color space the marble ends up in the most.
Let the kids guess what they think will happen and record their observations in our free printable STEM Observation Chart.
On the chart, kids can record which size marble they used and where it landed. To do this add numbers on your marble run for each roll on the bottom. Kids can write down it landed on the #1 roll or landed on a color space in between.
At the end have the kids look over their observations and tell you what they discovered. Was one size marble better at landing in the rolls? Which spot did marbles land in the most? Why do you think the marble landed in that spot more often than other spots?
Marble Run Game
Once you’re done with your STEM experiment let the kids play a game. Use the numbers you added to the rolls for the STEM challenge as points. If the marble lands in roll #1 you get 2 points, #2 you get 3 points, #3 you get 4 points and so one. Also, assign each color a certain point.
After your observations you’ll have a better idea of which spots are harder and easier to land to help you assign the points.
Have the kids record their points and after 5 runs see which marble got the most points.
I hope your kids will enjoy these DIY Cardboard Marble run ideas as much as my kids have. It’s a creative way to recycle cardboard and make it into a fun STEM activity.
Want to make more cool cardboard toys? Visit our Kids activity page or check out a few reader favorites below.
10 Cool Things to Make with Cardboard – Turn all your Cardboard boxes into fun crafts, toys, reading nooks & more.
Easy Cardboard Butterfly Craft Ideas – Use cardboard and tissue paper to make cute stained glass butterflies.
DIY Spinning Nerf Targets – Cool cardboard targets for kids who love to play with Nerf Guns.
If you enjoyed this stem activity make sure to try a few more science activities for home or the classroom.
How to Make a Volcano in 3 Easy Steps – Create an erupting volcano with items you have at home.
Rain Cloud in a Jar Science Experiment – Learn how clouds produce rain with shaving cream, water, and food dye.
Frozen Ice Balloon Experiment for Kids – See how ice forms and add color to see all the cracks and crevices.
Dinosaurs Frozen in Ice – Fun experiment for younger kids learning how to melt ice and discovering what is hidden inside.
If you’re looking for more fun STEM experiences at home we love the monthly Tech kits from Creation Crate. Each month you get all the components to create a new electronic project with video & paper instructions.
Our kids look forward to Creation Crate’s arrival every month!
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