For my next few posts, I thought I’d choose one common item that most people have lying around their homes, and then show two different ways to use it for a kids’ craft or activity.
The first item I’ve chosen is the humble marble.
When I was a kid, I was completely obsessed with marble runs. There’s something magical about dropping a marble and watching it roll down a complicated series of tubes and tunnels. Inventing these elaborate structures took hours. We didn’t watch much TV and didn’t own loads of expensive toys – for which I’m so grateful to my parents. Instead we used our problem-solving skills and creativity to invent our own fun.
My kids are a few years off being able to create a marble run of their own. But that doesn’t mean they have to miss out on this fantasmically fun activity. Oh, no!
Having children of my own is a wonderful excuse to revert to childhood. I therefore decided it would be fun to create a simple marble run to entertain my two little hooligans. And me, of course. 🙂
Cardboard tubes, assorted sizes, cut in half (I collected these for a few weeks.)
Painters tape (so you don’t mark your paintwork.)
The next step is to tape the tubes to the wall. I chose a spot behind a door so we could hide our zany creation away if needed. That way we can keep the marble run set up for a while without it being too much of an eyesore.
I found the placement of the tubes took a bit of fiddling with. Angles too steep? The marble gathers too much speed and flies off into outer space. Directional changes too sudden? The marble keeps rolling uphill and will tumble off the wrong end of the open tube.
Here’s what I came up with in the end:
I then placed a container at the bottom to catch the marbles, and let the kids play.
They LOVED it!!
Whoah – look at it go!!!
… and it was always cause for great excitement and celebration when the marble actually landed in the container!
Plus: Easy to set up and mess-free. Would make a great rainy-day indoors activity. Older kids would enjoy setting up their own configuration, which is a great exercise in problem-solving.
Minus: It takes a few weeks to collect enough toilet rolls and cardboard tubes to begin. But if you’re thinking with a craft-focussed mindset, you probably collect these sort of items already. You can also ask your friends or family to hold onto their cardboard tubes for you instead of throwing them away, which will speed up the process.
Your turn. Did you play with marble runs as a child? Is this something you can see yourself trying with your kids?