Kids Craft: Make Your Own Marble Run


I do like to practice as I preach and practice we did when we made our cardboard box marble run this week… Last week we had the Cardboard Box Craft round up and in there I had featured, this very straight forward marble run from Inhabitots V1. They made theirs out of a cereal box. We made ours from a couple of toy boxes that have been knocking around for a while. This makes a great addition to our special Crafts for Boys series too.

We made a simple and super easy and super fast marble run. And then we got carried away and made a second “criss crossing” marble run. Fab.

marble run

First our book:


Meet EinsteinMeet Einstein, by Mariela Kleiner.

What an adorable book about Mr Einstein himself and science in general. Red Ted asks me all sorts of difficult questions and I try and answer them as simply but factually as possible. Today he asked why the marbles keep running down our run. I told him: Gravity. What is gravity? Gravity makes things fall down. Look, if I hold the marble and let go, it falls down. When it is on a slope it goes down the slope. Aha. Out comes Meet Einstein and let’s find out all about Science. Hooray. The books focusses on light and gravity and on how science is all around us. Helping us make connections between things. There is also a section for parents on Einstein, as well as a page of questions for discussion with your kids.

The book also reminds me of Science Sparks. I don’t know if you have come across Science Sparks yet, but it is a activity based resource website run by two fabulously sciency and passionate ladies. What I really love about Science Sparks, is how it brings science into all sorts of day to day situations, getting children to think  about and explore their environment – in a really easy and fun way. Meet Einstein perfectly complement their site and aims to achieve the same thing.

Marble Run from recycled boxes

Right… now to make our marble run. Red Ted has been BEGGING me to make one for weeks and now, finally, with the school holidays and some cardboard boxes we made a super duper one!

Cardboard Box Marble Run – Materials

  • one or two boxes (e.g. an old toy box or a cereal box),
  • sticky tape,
  • scissors and of course
  • marbles

How to Make a Marble Run from recycled boxes

make your own marble run make your own marble run

1) We first made a simple one (left) and then a slight more difficult one that criss crosses (right). For both, we separated one side of the box and layed out any pieces.

how to make a marble run marble run design ideas

2) For the simple one, we cut 4 panels. As you will be placing these at an angle, they do actually fall SLIGHTLY short, but you can manage this by sellotaping it all together a little tighter. This will pull in the sides of the marble run slightly. For the criss crossing one, we were lucky enough that the box had flaps, which meant extra card. Enough to cut 8 panels. They are slightly narrow, but it works. We had our lovely crafty friend visiting and it was very handy to have her help stick.. I could then take photos!

marble run designs how to make a marble run (2)

3) Simple one (left): cut holes ofr your marbles to drop through at either end. Two facing one side and two the other.

For the criss cross one (right): you need  slot the two pieces of card together AND cut additional holes for the marbles to run through. Check out the photos to see the pattern. The key thing is NOT to cut half way through both panels, else the whole thing will fall part when you cut the marble hole. One panel has a slot 2/3s along the way and the second panel has a slot 1/3 along the way. This allows for the placement of the second hole. The photos show a square hole in the panel.. in fact we ended up making the hole a little bigger – more of a rectangle, which later allowed for slanting flatter.

makre your own

4) Simple – tape in place. Make it incline ever so slightly against the back of the box, so that the marbles are not tempted to jump out of the side

Criss Cross – again you will be slightly short of the width of the box, but just draw the sides in a little with tape. Secure with tape all around – including an extra but of tape at the cross section.

5) If desired, decorate your cardboard marble run. Play.

marble run marble run

Then stack your runs

diy marble run diy marble run

diy marble run make a marble run

6) And play and play with your cardboard marble run!

For more Kid’s Craft ideas, click here for a full list.

Would love to see any cardboard box how to’s or makes you have come up with? Or have you maybe made a marble run yourself?