Marble runs make great engineering challenges for kids! If you have followed us for very long, you know that marble runs of all types are some of our favorite things to build. Here is a collection of the BEST marble runs for kids. I’ve included our own projects in this post as well as the best ideas from around the web and even a few recommendations for toy marble runs to purchase.
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THE BEST MARBLE RUNS FOR YOUNG CHILDREN: (If they are no longer putting things in their mouths, of course). These marble runs are sturdy enough for little ones to operate.
Pegboard Marble Run – Set up a sturdy marble run a pegboard, foam pipe insulation, and zip ties. See more details here: Pegboard Marble Run
Pipe Insulation Marble Run – I love this pipe insulation marble run from Buggy and Buddy.
Train Track Marble Run – If you have a wooden train set (Thomas or similar), this wooden train marble run from This Pilgrim Life is a brilliant idea!
Pool Noodle Marble Run – Use pool noodles to make a simple marble race. From BuzzFeed.
Paper Towel Roll Marble Run – This is a great paper towel/toilet paper roll marble run from Powerful Mothering.
THE BEST KID-DESIGNED MARBLE RUNS:
Craft Stick Marble Runs – By far, craft sticks and cardboard boxes are my favorite materials for kids to create their own marble runs! This post provides some ideas for marble mazes and marble tracks built with craft sticks and cardboard: Craft Sticks and Marbles
KEVA Planks also work really well for engineering marble runs.
Changeable Magnetic Marble Run – Use PVC pipe, clear tubing, craft sticks, and magnets to create components for a changeable magnetic marble run! Make sure that your magnets are strong enough to handle the weight of the components.
LEGO Marble Run – Use LEGO bricks to create a marble run! This is an awesome engineering challenge and would be perfect for a LEGO club.
Pool Noodle Marble Run – Use either Duplo or regular LEGO to build supports for a pool noodle marble run. So many building possibilities here! See it here: LEGO Duplo and Pool Noodle Marble Run
THE BEST TOY MARBLE RUNS:
Q-Ba Maze 2.0
This unique marble maze toy features stackable cubes that can be built in different configurations. There are three different types of cubes – bottom exit cubes, single exit cubes, and double exit cubes. Build a sculpture with the cubes, and the marbles will have many possible paths to travel down! It’s fun to drop in a whole handful of marbles and watch where they all end up.
The box says ages 5+. Five year olds will love this (and so will four year olds!), but you’ll probably need to build it for them or at least with them. It might be age 6 or 7 before they can really build this on their own. It’s a great toy with lots of possibilities for kids who like to tinker! A good option is to go with the Cool Colors or Warm Colors set to start with (they have the same types of cubes, just in different colors).
The set pictured below is the Q-Ba 2.0 Mega Stunt Set. I bought this for all of the kids for Christmas. I wanted to get a lot of cubes and some cool stunts to add to our Warm Colors set. The blue coaster tubes and the green marble vortex (at the bottom) have been a big hit! You can also buy the tubes and the vortex separately in the Zoom Stunt Set.
Note: The Q-Ba Maze 2.0 does not work with regular marbles. It comes with its own steel marbles. This hasn’t been a problem for us since the sets come with plenty of marbles!
This Marble Run is the #1 Bestseller on Amazon! We don’t own this one, but it’s looks like a great price for a classic plastic marble run.
I am really tempted to try this Hubelino marble run because it looks really fun and sturdy, and it’s compatible with LEGO Duplo. If I order it, I’ll update this to let you know what I think. And if you have this set, please leave a comment!
Have fun engineering a marble run!