We have been saving paper towel rolls and other items for quite a while now so that we could make our own marble run!

My husband constructed a neat little apparatus out of an empty oatmeal container!

When you drop the marble into the paper towel roll at the top, it rolls out the hole at the bottom of the oatmeal container!  He did this by cutting two sections of paper towel roll and attaching them to each other at about a 90 degree angle inside the oatmeal container.

Pretty cool idea, I thought!

I made some support structures to add height by taping two plastic cups together and gluing them to sheets of cardboard.  Aidan put all the parts together and built this marble track coming down off my dresser!  I had sent him into my room to keep the track away from little hands, but the dresser ended up being the perfect spot to build it.

The marble comes down and lands in an empty orange juice bottle which we cut the bottom out of.  Aidan cut a hole in the cardboard sheet under the orange juice bottle so that the marble can roll through and into another paper towel roll.  Most of the time, the marble spins around the orange juice bottle before rolling down, which adds a fun element!

It’s hard to picture how it all works without seeing, so here’s a video of our marble track in action!

This ended up being a fabulous project that kept Aidan busy for an hour at a time three days in a row! One day we may end up buying a wooden marble run, but building his own really made Aidan think about speed and momentum and other principles of engineering.

Has anyone else tried a DIY marble track? What marble run ideas do you have to share?

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  1. The Mommies Made Me Do It Nov 16, 2011

    Aww man, I just did something like this (but not as cool as this) last night for the 30-day Play Challenge. Darn, I wish I'd seen this first! Awesome marble run!!!
    Here's what we made: http://themommiesmademedoit.blogspot.com/2011/11/30-day-play-challenge.html

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    1. Brooke @ let kids create Nov 17, 2011

      Oh man, yours is cool. We tried to make one, it didn't work so well. Check it out if you want http://letkidscreate.blogspot.com/2011/11/paper-tube-marble-run-fail.html.

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      1. Joyce @Dinosaurs And Octopuses Nov 20, 2011

        I bet that was a ton of fun! Great use of recycled materials. Thank you for sharing!

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        1. Allison Oct 24, 2012

          How fun! So many neat activities here!!! Thanks for all of these neat ideas!

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          1. Debs Feb 23, 2013

            Yes, we did one too. Just very basic on the glass door using blutac. This is taking it to the next level! Great engineering going on! :)
            http://www.learnwithplayathome.com/2012/09/cardboard-tube-marble-run.html

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