Marvelous Magnetic Marble Run

How to make a magnetic marble run

Ingredients: a bagful of toilet roll tubes, paint, a sheet of magnetic circles, a group of enthusiastic children (aged 4, 7 and 9)…oh and a marble!

Step one: leave children to paint designs on the tubes. Allow time to dry. (Tubes, hopefully not children.)

Step 2: Watch children add magnetic circles to the dry tubes.

(These circles easily peel off the sheet and they are sticky on one side. No need to wait for glue to dry – remember that enthusiastic children are being used in the manufacturing of the marble run.)

Step 3: Discover that one magnet does not give enough balance when marble is sliding through tube, so subsequent tubes have two magnets. Return to step 2 and retrofit other tubes with another magnet.

Step 4: Shove all pre-existing magnetic attachments, on fridge door, out of the way. Do not clean fridge door (no one will notice the smudgy finger marks).

Step 5: With the use of the magnetic circles, start arranging painted tubes on fridge door. Careful attention to how the tubes line up with each other.

Step 6: Test the marble run. If marble run does not equal perfect and it is not bedtime, then go back to stage 5.

Step 7: ….it is unknown if we will ever reach step 7.

Absolutely loved this activity. So did the children. I let them design and build this totally by themselves. The only limit, apart from be nice to each other, that I gave them was that glue and sticky tape were not to be used.Ā  The run had to be a temporary structure that could be moved to another surface. So no permanent joins.

The children have learnt lots already. In the short time between supper and bed, they got a working run. This morning BL added the tubes under the catching station (which had three magnets) to stop it tilting and the marble escaping. No need for a brother to hold it in place anymore. They have played with the gradients, to alter the acceleration. They’ve talked about adding alternative routes for the marble. We discussed the weight of the marble and strength of the magnets. We talked about the restraints of the materials available. They will continue to add and learn.

Another successful crafting (and learning) activity!

Other magnetic projects:

Special thanks to Jonathan at First4Magnets who sent us the sheet of magnets. He noticed that we like to craft with magnets. Looking at their website, I had no idea how many different forms and shapes magnets were manufactured. Seriously, I have been living in the dark ages in terms of magnets. I can think of so many crafting and scientific activities that could be enhanced by using the right kind of magnet….

……I foresee more magnet projects!

(Disclaimer: we received a sheet of magnets free of charge, but were not paid in any way or provided with any words for this post.)

Linking up to NutureStore’s Paper free art

25 thoughts on “Marvelous Magnetic Marble Run

  • Thursday 3 May, 2012 at 2:12 pm

    Fantastic Cheryl, what a wonderful learning and crafting activity, and a great team building excercise…………..working together to come up with new routes, it sounds like they had lots of fun.xx šŸ˜€

    • Friday 4 May, 2012 at 9:07 am

      They have come up with more ingenious solutions. It’s interesting to see how the each tackle it slightly differently. I’m not sure how long it will stay up there, but they do seem to be having fun at the moment.

  • Friday 4 May, 2012 at 2:17 am

    oh i love this!!
    we’re going to have to give this one a try at our house as well!! thank you for the inspiration!!

    • Friday 4 May, 2012 at 9:09 am

      It is a fun activity. Hands on activities always seem to be a hit and a great way to learn. Hope you enjoy making yours.

      • Friday 4 May, 2012 at 2:40 pm

        i just sent a link to your post to my friend who runs a preschool in her home! i think they’d really enjoy this project too!

  • Friday 4 May, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant.
    My kids have wanted a marble run for ages, so I think I will give them the chance to make one like this.

  • Saturday 5 May, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    What a brilliant idea… I can see my twin nephews having a great time with this, I’ll have to email my sis so she can do it with them

  • Monday 7 May, 2012 at 8:56 pm

    This is just brilliant! Thanks so much for sharing on craft schooling Sunday!

  • Friday 11 May, 2012 at 3:38 pm

    What a fantastic idea and great results. It’s such a shame that children aren’t allowed to take toilet rolls or egg boxes into school any more because of health and safety regulations…think of all the crocodiles they could make!

    • Monday 14 May, 2012 at 9:20 pm

      I’ve heard that some schools don’t allow toilet rolls and egg boxes. Our school doesn’t seem to have a ban on them…yet!

  • Monday 30 July, 2012 at 6:39 pm

    So cute!

    Iā€™d love it if you shared this with the Fun Family Crafts audience.
    FFC is similar to Craftgawker but it only features kid friendly tutorials.

    Looking forward to seeing what fun crafts you submit!

  • Tuesday 5 November, 2013 at 11:58 am

    that is a FABULOUS idea, looks like the kids had lots of fun!

    • Saturday 9 November, 2013 at 2:16 am

      They still love setting up routes and experimenting every now and again.

  • Tuesday 5 November, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    That it such a great idea, I love it!
    My only disappointment is that we won’t be able to have a go as we don’t have a fridge like that, ours is built in šŸ™
    Thanks for linking #LetKidsBeKids

    • Saturday 9 November, 2013 at 2:17 am

      Try blu tack on windows. It works just as well.

  • Tuesday 5 November, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    Such a brilliant idea, and the making it looks just as much fun as the playing with it šŸ™‚

    • Saturday 9 November, 2013 at 2:18 am

      Totally! I love it when they make their own toys. They always treasure them that bit more.

  • Tuesday 5 November, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Oh my, what an amazing game. I can well believe the kids loved it! #letkidsbekids

    • Saturday 9 November, 2013 at 2:18 am

      It is good fun. They make some ingenious set ups!

    • Saturday 9 November, 2013 at 2:19 am

      šŸ˜€ Why, thank you!! šŸ˜€

    • Saturday 9 November, 2013 at 2:19 am

      It is a good one to have in reserve for a rainy day.

  • Wednesday 6 November, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    What a great idea and looks fab fun #letkidsbekids

    • Saturday 9 November, 2013 at 2:20 am

      It is worth a go.

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