Wednesday, June 2, 2010

cardboard marble runs

My boys have been really getting into marbles lately and are very interested in getting a marble run set. That will probably not happen until the next birthday or Christmas, a long way off for sure, so they were trying to make little marble ramps with yardsticks--most frustrating because the marbles of course would not stay on the yardsticks. Nonetheless they were being very cute in all their attempts. I decided to help out by making some cardboard sides for their yardsticks. It turned out very successfully and was fun for me too. I like the idea that I am "modeling" being resourceful and making stuff. That's how I want them to grow up--being resourceful and making things themselves.
I just cut cardboard strips from cereal boxes, creased the sides and taped the yardsticks inside. Now when they make their block and yardstick creations the marbles will actually roll down. Success!

As for the actual marble toy, does anyone have a wooden one that they particularly recommend? I want one that is very kid friendly and open ended. I'm not at all interested in something that the adult mostly sets up and and the kids just insert the marble. I like this one, but Dieter likes the looks of this one. Any experience/input would be appreciated.

22 comments:

nicole said...

We have a hand-me-down plastic one that the kids can set up pretty easily but I am partial to the Quadrilla one that Dieter likes.

Sara said...

I love your cardboard set-up. We have a plastic set I found at a thrift store, but I like the idea of one that would pair with a domino race set.

Cadi said...

We used to have one along the lines of the one you like. My children often felt their creativity was limited with them. Just never enough pieces it seems.

I love your cardboard ones.

Creativity is such a good thing.

Kristi said...

I have been looking at the Quadrilla marble run for Christmas this year. i will be back to see what type of input you get.

Karen said...

We have a marble run set from HABA, which is a big success with all our Kids (8,7 and 4). But I do not know if it is available in the USA... We all (kids and parents!!!)like the many possibilities offered by this set, even a domino race set is available.
Please tell your boys I really love their cardbord set-up!!!

Greeting from Germany!

Our Green Nest said...

SO CUTE! My little one is loving her daddy's old marbles these days and I have some vintage yard sticks around somewhere...I'm going to make this today! TU. :)

Simply Playing said...

I bought my son the Haba Basic Marble run set for his 3rd birthday. We could set up more complicated runs together, but he was happy making simple ones himself. Haba has individual pieces you can add to the basic set as they get older or more into it. Plus they make a great addition to the blocks you already have.

Mary Beth said...

Thanks you guys. I love Haba, so will check that out. I think they carry it at Wooden Wagon. We have an old Haba train set at my parents house that was Jacob's and it's amazing how well it has held up!

Sarah and Jack said...

We have the first one you linked to, and honestly? It's pretty hard to use. I could not figure out how to make it work smoothly and neither could Jack. My husband and my father both played around with it, and being mroe mechanical than myself, they had moderate success, but it was still not great.

I would go for the quadrilla set.

Greyhaven Pines said...

Great job on innovating! We've done a lot of that around here and now our 5-year-old will say, "Oh Daddy can just build that!" A double-edged sword at times. :)

We bought "Dieter's choice" for our son when he was four. My husband is an engineer and had to help him set it up initially but we were amazed at how quickly he got the concepts, was able to start building on his own and has become more and more proficient at it. Daddy still helps him on the more complex configurations but, it has been something they have both enjoyed and the learning continues.

The other nice thing about Quadrilla is that it can expand as your child's abilities expand. The variety of pieces and number available make the possibilities endless.

As far as affordability, we shopped around a good bit on the internet and found that there was a significant price range differences for identical Quadrilla sets/accessories.

Elizabeth

Sara said...

This is just fantastic!! I love it.

Andrea said...

I've been saving toilet paper tubes for about two years in anticipation of building a cardboard marble run...I guess we should just do it already. We have a "Block & Roll" marble run, which is plastic (but made in Maine on the Penobscot reservation, so at least local)--it's very hard for the kids to build themselves, though, so not much of a go "go play with that toy while I cook" sort of thing.

Maiz said...

QUADRILLA!!! This is one of the best toys we have. It is brilliantly designed. It is way easier for a child to set up than the Haba set, and also much cheaper. We got the "Twist and Rail" set as a starter, and have added a few bits. It is GREAT for open-ended construction.

It is really good-looking in person, too, and I know we have a similar toy aesthetic, since I've "seen" your house.

This post made me smile, because we had cereal box slides before we decided to get the Quadrilla as a big family Xmas gift 2 years ago!

Redbeet Mama said...

This will be our afternoon project!

Thank you,
Nicole

Jenna said...

You are an inspiration! What a wonderful example of creative problem solving. I also like the idea of modeling delayed gratification. :-)
My boys are older (10 and 8) and for Christmas and the past birthday have received a marble run similar to the first one called Scalino...it has modular pieces you can add to it (and works with others like Haba) like chimes and a xylaphone. I could see how it might be frustrating for the younger set, as my kids love it. The also got Keva blocks which are so open-ended and awesome. Even my 7 year old daughter loves to play with those, building a floor plan for a doll house. That has directions for a ping pong ball run that is loads of fun to engineer...again too old for your boys, but the blocks themselves are not. Though I love the Scalino set if I could only buy one I'd go with Keva, being open ended it gets the most play.

melissa s. said...

We have the quadrilla system and love it. My kids have since added all kinds of homemade structures to our basic set to expand it, so I feel like it lends itself well to creative play (which is nice, because they are spendy and I wasn't excited about buying the add-on sets!)

prairieknitter01 said...

Why buy any of them? You can get vinyl tubing very cheaply at the hardware store, and let the kids design anything they want. When they get bored with it, put it in recycling. They will definitely need your help building it, but if they can draw the design, it is definitely buildable. Can't get more open-ended than that. Save the money for their college fund!

Christie - Childhood 101 said...

I love your marble run, what a fantastic play idea. Would love you to add it to my We Play meme if you like, you can find it here
http://www.childhood101.com/2010/06/we-play.html

taimarie said...

We also have the Haba and love it. There are so many great add ons which we've been asking relatives to get for christmas and birthdays (which helps solve the problem of getting the sort of toys we don't really want...) It seems more open ended than the quadrilla one to me and gets lots of play. That said, I think some homemade cardboard add ons is just what our set needs!

Anonymous said...

We have this one-it looks like it might be the exact one you like: http://www.amazon.com/Tedco-20400-Blocks-Marbles-Super/dp/B000FGKI2O/ref=sr_1_8?ie=UTF8&s=toys-and-games&qid=1257132615&sr=1-8 It has the same # of blocks and marbles and is made in USA by Tedco and comes with a nice sack for storing the marble run. We love it, but I must say that it can be difficult and frustrating for a child that is not VERY patient setting it up. We usually end up helping because you have to have the holes lined up just so in order for the marbles to go, and the gentlest nudge can send the whole thing toppling, but it is fun! Look at the link to amazon-it is a lot less expensive there!

Anonymous said...

P.S. I have to add on that your version looks as much fun! I am serious! The marble run is fun but only comes out occasionally since it it time consuming and takes some space. You might first see how into this on the boys are, but I imagine they could have as much fun with yours on a rainy day!

Anonymous said...

Try this:
http://www.paperrollercoasters.com/products.htm
cheap, recyclable, extendable, and DIY, so more fun for longer to execute.