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 several DIY marble run project ideas, and then at the bottom of the post I’ll share recommendations for our favorite marble run sets to purchase.
This post contains Amazon affiliate links which means that I earn from qualifying purchases at no additional cost to you.
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.
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
If you have access to a really large box, this Giant Cardboard Box Marble Run is one of our favorites! It’s kind of like a huge Plink-O game, and it’s so fun. We used a box from some IKEA furniture.
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.
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
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. The post has a video demonstration.
Play Dough Marble Run – You can make a really cool marble run with play dough! Who knew? Another great activity for a STEM class or club.
Marble Trampolines – Add a fun trampoline element to any marble run! Use a balloon and a plastic cup to make a trampoline that the marble will bounce on.
Card Stock Marble Run – This is a fabulous low-budget option that would work well for a group or class! Build a marble run with card stock, tape, and magnets. See it here: Card Stock Marble Run
Paper Plate Spiral Marble Track – This project is a little different since you can’t change the design, but it’s SO COOL to watch! Paper plates are perfect for making a round-and-round marble spiral.
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!
Lisa @ This Pilgrim Life Jan 26, 2016
Thanks for including my marble run! We have been having a lot of fun with marbles here recently too. We just made a ski ball game with our marbles on Monday.
I love the idea for the marble run with the LEGOs. We have a lot of big boards like that so we will have to give it a try.
Suzanne Renae Jan 29, 2016
I have seen the plastic marble runs, but I had not thought about making our own. Thanks as always for the great ideas.
Jennifer Testa Jan 29, 2016
I got my son the Hubelino (lego compatible) marble run for his 3rd birthday. Thanks for the idea! I hadn't seen that product before. It's a great addition to our duplos (and totally compatible, easy to build, quality pieces). We got the 50 piece set so that there would be enough pieces for everyone to play. Totally recommend it!
Sarah Feb 3, 2016
That's great! Thanks so much for letting me know! I think I need to order it now. :-)
Janelle Jan 31, 2016
Thanks for these recommendations! I've added a link to this post onto my post on how to build marble maze with PVC pipe and magnets: http://gooddayswithkids.com/2015/04/26/diy-ball-wall/
Richa Jul 15, 2016
Sarah!!! You are amazingly creative and i am in love with all your projects. These marble runs are all so much fun.definitely going to try with my munchkin.
Post a Comment