STEAM Saturday – Pool Noodle Marble Run! (7/22/23)

Marble run

Marble runIf you didn’t already love a good trip to the dollar store, today’s STEAM Saturday project will make you a believer! With just a few inexpensive items, you can create a fun, engaging, and educational activity for your child. Today, we are making a Pool Noodle Marble Run! Today’s project is geared toward Pre-K and Kindergarten children, but it can also be made more complex and challenging for an elementary-aged child.

So, what do you need to make your marble run?

  • Pool noodles
  • Marbles
  • A Clear Wall or Fence
  • Duct, Masking, or Painters Tape (Test your surface before setting up your marble run to make sure you are using tape that won’t damage your wall)
  • A Basket, Bucket, or Bowl
  • Scissors or a Box Cutter (Remember, safety first!)

First, cut your pool noodles in half lengthwise. Then cut those halves into sections – they can be the same length or different lengths, depending on how much variety you want to create. You can also use the full-length pool noodle halves if you want to make a really long marble run.

Marble runNext, tape the noodles to the wall (after testing the tape on your wall surface), making sure that the marble can run down each section and be caught by the next section. This may require some testing and adjusting. Once you’re all set, place a basket, bucket, or bowl at the bottom of your marble run to catch the marbles, and your child is ready to let those marbles roll!

This is a wonderful way to teach your curious kiddo about friction, gravity, and kinetic energy! If you have younger children, you will be designing and creating the marble run for them. However, this is a great opportunity for an older child to practice their engineering skills. They can design and set up their own marble run. Challenge them to make it as creative as possible: What is the steepest angle they can use? Will it work if the pool noodles curve, or do they have to be straight? Is it better to make the noodles long, short, or a mixture of both? What other adjustments can they make? Have them create multiple designs and see which one gets the marble to the bottom fastest!

Check out the full activity and the science behind it from Happy Toddler Play Time HERE!

As always, get as creative as you want, and above all, have lots of fun learning together!

We’ll see you right back here next Saturday for another STEAM Saturday activity!  Scroll through the rest of our website to learn how Critchlow Adkins is Building Brighter Futures for the children and families we serve!

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