Building a marble run is not only lots of fun, it is a great way for kids to show their creativity and practice their problem-solving skills, while learning about gravity and momentum!

Gather your materials:

  • Empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape or painter’s tape
  • Something small and lightweight that can roll. Rolling up a quarter sheet of paper into a ball and putting tape around it to make it smoother works well. A small pom pom or ping pong ball works well too.

Optional materials:

  • A bowl or cup to catch the rolling object
  • A large piece of cardboard
  • Decorations


  1. Cut some toilet paper or paper towel rolls into half, lengthwise, to form chutes. Leave a few whole for tunnels.
  2. Tape the chutes, connecting one to another, onto a wall, a door, or a large piece of cardboard propped up against a wall.
  3. You can use a combination of chutes and tunnels, just make sure they point downwards at an angle.
  4. Try making a zig zag from top to bottom. Steep angles will make the ball roll faster, so watch out!
  5. Experiment with other ways to make the rolling object roll all the way from the top to the bottom. You may need to adjust angles, distances between chutes, or add cardboard stoppers to the ends of some of them. You can also experiment with different rolling objects to see how fast or how slow they make it through the course.
  6. Use a bowl or cup to catch the rolling object.
  7. Decorate your course if you want to.
  8. Have fun!

Here are some marble run examples from Peik-Kuan at the Corvallis Public Library, and from Mari Beth and Ann at the Philomath Community Library.
We hope these inspire you to try one of your own!

example cardboard marble run
Example of decorated cardboard marble run
3rd Example of cardboard marble run