The homemade marble course is an excellent addition to your list of engineering activities for kids. First, have students gather some items from the recycling bin, along with a few other odds and ends. Then, let them work together as they build, test, and play with their very own marble maze!
Engineer, Snoopy, and I worked together to make a marble course! We started out with the following items (I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post):
- Paper towel and toilet paper tubes (stockpiled in the craft closet)
- Painter’s tape and packing tape
- A few pieces of cut up pool noodle
- Plastic Easter eggs
- Marbles (of course!)
We decided to use our sliding glass door to make a vertical marble course. Try really hard to ignore the dirty glass in the pictures!! Engineer was very much involved in building the marble run, whereas Snoopy just wanted to help us test it out. This worked out well, since Engineer seemed to have a specific “vision” for his design! 🙂 I had the honor of being Engineer’s assistant during this process. That basically entailed holding tape and cutting tubes when asked.
It was fun to observe and help Engineer as he constructed the marble run. I noticed that he would hold up a tube, changing the angle and direction as needed. He’d then test what he’d built by rolling a few marbles down his partial construction. After testing it, Engineer would make adjustments as necessary. During construction, Engineer mentioned that some of the marbles bounced oddly at the joints. He decided to use plastic egg halves as “shields” and pool noodle pieces as “bumpers”.
Snoopy and Engineer had sooooo much fun playing with the marble course once it was completed. They experimented with sending one marble and many marbles; regular marbles and large marbles; with plastic containers at the end and glass containers at the end. In doing so, Engineer noted that the marbles bounced off of each other when sent down the course together. Snoopy laughed at the sound the marbles made in the glass container, commenting, “They make so much noise!”
When Little Hurricane woke up from his nap, he wanted in on the action. The older boys weren’t sure they wanted to share, but Little Hurricane would not be denied! He ended up trying out the marble course at whatever height he could reach. Then Engineer made a small section of the marble course just for Little Hurricane. All three boys were giggling at this point!
As I write this, the marble course has provided more than 3 hours of entertainment. There have been some breaks — for snack, for the bathroom, and to play with trains. Most of those 3 hours, though, have been somehow focused on the marble run. Something tells me I won’t be able to take it down for some time!
Have you ever made a marble course with your kiddos? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments!
Done-for-You Preschool Resources
Planning meaningful lessons for students week after week while balancing other teaching responsibilities and your personal life can be a daunting task. That’s where Preschool Teacher 101 comes in to save you time!
Preschool Teacher 101 has created some amazing preschool lesson and activity plans that will be perfect for your classroom. We have resources for a wide variety of themes and topics that will last all year long.
If you enjoyed this marble course activity with your students, be sure to check out some of the STEM resources below. Click on the images to learn more.
Make sure you stop by and join The Pack from Preschool Teacher 101 for exclusive access to our content. We have three options for membership to meet your needs.