Cereal Box Marble Run

This idea popped into my head the other day when trying to think of something fun to do with cereal boxes.  I always loved marble runs when I was a kid, and this one was very easy to make.  Jack and Tess really loved it too.  We had to go finish off some more cereal so I could make one for each of them.

To make one, first tape the lid of the box shut, and then using a knife, cut off the front panel.  Leave a little ledge on the bottom to keep the marbles from rolling out everywhere.  Then take the detached front panel and cut it into three strips.  Bend them at the ends and cut a notch on one side for the marble to run through.  Next I took a little extra cardboard from another cereal box and folded the end of it and taped it onto the bottom (see photos).  The folded end makes the marble run tilt back a little bit so the marble goes down the holes and doesn’t fall out of the box.  Finally, tape the strips into the box and cut a little hole at the top to drop the marble through.  Then go find some marbles!

110 Comments

  1. Meg O
    June 29, 2010 at 5:17 am

    So simple yet so cool. What kid - or adult! - doesn't love marbles! Going to give that a roll today :)
    Thank you!

  2. Lori Henriques
    June 29, 2010 at 5:31 am

    super great project! it actually made me laugh out loud. :) so simple, so perfect. just checked - we're such cereal eaters, we've got four collapsed boxes in the recycling! now if i could just remember where we packed the marbles...

  3. tublogaporter
    June 29, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Love it! Made already a couple of posts of your projects, for kids and grown up Kids!!! jaja, thanks for sharing them!

  4. Bettina
    June 29, 2010 at 11:16 am

    Great!!!

  5. Caros Taschen
    June 29, 2010 at 11:21 am

    Just COOL!

  6. CHILDHOOD MAGIC
    June 29, 2010 at 11:53 am

    So awesome. I love it!

  7. Phyllis
    June 29, 2010 at 12:16 pm

    You are a genius.

  8. Pollon72
    June 29, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    What a nice cereal box marble-run! Bravissimo! I also made one:
    http://pollon72.blogspot.com/2010/05/fagioli-e-pista-per-palline.html
    Claudia (from Italy)

  9. Kickcan and Conkers
    June 29, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    simple and smart - love it!

  10. Mary Beth
    June 29, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    This is wonderful! We will hopefully be making this very soon. My boys will love it! Just for fun, here's a link to the cardboard marble run I made for my boys and posted a couple weeks ago. It is also fun and getting a lot of play.
    http://saltandchocolate.blogspot.com/2010/06/cardboard-marble-runs.html

  11. Three Owls
    June 29, 2010 at 1:33 pm

    I need to look in the thesaurus... brilliant and clever are so overdone in my comments... also glad to see you are eating organic ;)

  12. Tiphaine
    June 29, 2010 at 1:45 pm

    2 boys + about a 100 marbles = THANK YOU for this idea !!!!!

  13. Cheryl Arkison
    June 29, 2010 at 3:09 pm

    Another must do craft! I have the box, but now I need to find some marbles. Can you believe there are none in this house?

  14. Joel Henriques
    June 29, 2010 at 3:27 pm

    Thanks so much! Yeah, marble runs are a lot of fun to make! There's something very intriguing about marbles, especially for kids.

  15. Jerilyn
    June 29, 2010 at 5:10 pm

    Awesome! Three of my boys are playing with ours now! Thanks for the idea.

  16. Maiz
    June 29, 2010 at 5:34 pm
  17. Golubka
    June 29, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    So cool!

  18. Sven
    June 29, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    Cool, simple but great!!

  19. Erick & Molly
    June 29, 2010 at 6:45 pm

    I can't wait to try these for my kids!! Thanks for the idea!! Keep them coming...Please! :)

  20. heleen
    June 29, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    simply genius!

  21. Alexandra Durão
    June 29, 2010 at 11:04 pm

    Simple and good idea, as usual :- )

  22. Tiffany
    June 30, 2010 at 3:57 am

    seriously. you are brilliant.

  23. Mutsuko
    June 30, 2010 at 6:02 am

    Extra et bien joué !

  24. Scott
    June 30, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    Simple and so fun. Thanks for the idea.

  25. (V.Kerr) School Time Adventures
    June 30, 2010 at 2:54 pm

    I just stumbled onto your site...wow these pics are amazing! I love the idea!

  26. arrête de rêver
    June 30, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    fabulous !!

  27. Heather T
    June 30, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    Love it! We'll definitely have a marble run in our home very soon. Thanks so much for sharing another amazing idea!

  28. Notonlyformoms
    July 1, 2010 at 7:28 am

    so simple and it is genious! we have a lot of marble runs, but we will start making this immediately! thank you.
    greetings from austria.
    sabine

  29. mollymum
    July 1, 2010 at 6:34 pm

    great idea!

  30. liza
    July 2, 2010 at 4:32 am

    We'll be making this tomorrow! I just found you (sometimes I astound myself at how slow I am) and have gone through pages of your blog and you're brilliant! Thank you for being here.

  31. las sandalias de ana
    July 2, 2010 at 11:11 am

    ohhh, good idea!!

    ;)

  32. gatobus
    July 2, 2010 at 12:50 pm

    Wow!! when i was child I used to play with boxes, but i never did anything so cool!

  33. sherri
    July 3, 2010 at 1:12 pm

    this is awesome! i found your blog via uauage, and i'm adding you to my blogroll right now. love your blog!

  34. mermaid
    July 5, 2010 at 8:12 am

    Wow! So simple and so cool!
    * went to the shops to buy some marbles :)

  35. Esther
    July 10, 2010 at 12:35 pm

    Beautiful!! My kid said I want it!! Now I must do it!! lol Thank you!!

  36. nesto
    July 14, 2010 at 8:59 am

    what an amazing blog!!! everything is beautiful! I'll try to build this marble run for my girls: great idea! I'll come again! (sorry for my bad english, I'm french!!!!!)

  37. nesto
    July 16, 2010 at 6:12 am

    et hop:
    http://teatextandfun.canalblog.com/archives/2010/07/16/18584000.html#comments

    thanks for this good idea!!! ;)

  38. Joel Henriques
    July 16, 2010 at 6:18 am

    Thanks everybody!

    nesto - Awesome marble run! Two stories tall! I have to try that! Thanks for posting the photos.

  39. nesto
    July 16, 2010 at 6:41 am

    a "girls" marble run!!! ;) thanks YOU to share ;) and me it's not so beautiful!!! but it's works and my girls are happy to play with it ;)

  40. Alexandra and Julia
    July 29, 2010 at 4:14 am

    This project made me your follower - LOVE IT!

  41. Anonymous
    July 30, 2010 at 7:35 am

    im totally stoked about your ideas. cant wait till my son is old enough to play with the "madebyjoel" toys. really love it !!

    + one follower

  42. Ms. Erin's HeartRoom
    July 30, 2010 at 1:00 pm

    Another one I have to do with my class!

  43. Kelly
    August 2, 2010 at 3:04 pm

    Thanks to you and Swiss Miss, one rainy day afternoon saved.

  44. Loïc
    August 5, 2010 at 6:54 pm

    And one more:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/piratemode/4863339273/
    Thanks!

  45. Carissa Byers
    August 7, 2010 at 4:09 am

    Awesome! Totally making this tomorrow.

  46. Amanda
    August 23, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    You are AWESOME for this!

    It's been raining for like a week at least, it's the school hols. I have two young children. Thank you!! :D

  47. BrownBerry
    August 26, 2010 at 10:06 pm

    This is fantastic! Also...we love that cereal :)

  48. Jo
    September 2, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    This is grat! Tahnk you!
    and here is mine:
    http://bawimy-sie.blogspot.com/2010/08/roler-coaster.html

  49. Joel Henriques
    September 2, 2010 at 10:10 pm

    Thanks everybody! I love seeing all of your marble runs!

    Jo - Wow! That looks so fun! I really want to play it!

  50. The Book Chook
    October 1, 2010 at 11:47 pm

    I wrote about marble runs recently on my blog (http://www.thebookchook.com/2010/09/construction-ideas.html ) and will link to your great idea in a new post soon about cardboard boxes. Thanks for sharing!

  51. Eva
    October 13, 2010 at 7:21 am

    Hi Joel,

    I'm happy to tell you my kids had a lot of fun with the marble run. We made a big one, using a toys box, and I can still hear them roaring with laughter.

    You can have a look here: http://diariodelosgranjeros.blogspot.com/2010/10/un-juguete-efimero.html

    Thanks!

  52. Marble Clean
    November 5, 2010 at 5:10 am

    Loved visiting the site! Thanks for sharing the post!

  53. Tara L.
    November 19, 2010 at 3:03 am

    My 7 year old reminded me tonight that he needed to make a project for school tomorrow using recycled materials to make something new. Thank goodness I stumbled across your site a month ago! I immediately remembered your recycled cereal box marble run. It turned out awesome and my son has had a blast playing with his "project". Thanks so much for saving us from a long night! LOL Love your ideas!

  54. Audrey
    November 29, 2010 at 6:52 pm

    I was so delighted to discover your site via my sister who sent me the fabric nesting dolls from etsy. I stayed up last night reading every project from 2010! This morning, my 4-year-old and I constructed the marble run -- he's playing with it now, experimenting with tilting the box against the wall slightly and lining up the marbles against his finger "brake" before pulling his finger away so they all flow in at once while shouting "yeah, baby!"

  55. Anonymous
    January 3, 2011 at 4:55 pm

    I try to make thant with my godson, he´s a marble fan, and i think will be a great game for him. thanks for the game and congratulations for your blog and your work.

  56. June
    February 1, 2011 at 5:25 pm

    Hello Joel, I'm a fan from Singapore. Just wanted to say THANK YOU! for sharing this ingenious toy. I made it for my boys and they love it! :)

  57. Teresa
    April 5, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    What a great, easy project! My son said he wanted to make it, I read your tutorial and 10 min later he had his new favorite toy! I found your blog through Kids Create.

  58. Alexandra
    April 15, 2011 at 3:34 pm

    This is great. Officially a fan of this blog. LOVE.

  59. May 17, 2011 at 6:13 am

    [...] a lot of recycled and printable toys. The first one that I just KNEW I had to make for Jude was the Cereal Box Marble Run. Simple concept that entertained for a good amount of time. I swapped the marble out for a bouncy [...]

  60. June 2, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Hi all. Joel and family thanks a lot for this awesome blog. I love it! With your idea we did this doble cereal marble box. Thanks again! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ffaw7HR5ijk

    1. June 5, 2011 at 8:07 am

      Such a cute video! And an awesome marble run. Feel free to post it on the Facebook Page if you'd like!

  61. Suzanne
    June 14, 2011 at 5:09 am

    Ingenious!

  62. June 20, 2011 at 6:07 pm

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  63. June 27, 2011 at 11:40 am

    I love this i want more on this subject any references please?

  64. June 27, 2011 at 6:53 pm

    hello, Joel. I've made this, but using a bigger box. thank you for your great idea.:) http://10luckyrock.blogspot.com/2011/06/joc-cu-bile.html I have a label for you, about food. enjoy!:D http://10luckyrock.blogspot.com/search/label/mese%20vesele

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    Creative.

  73. Christy
    October 3, 2011 at 6:56 pm

    We just finished making these with 60 third graders as an introduction to the engineering design process. What a brilliant idea! The kids had criteria and constraints to work within; the end results were wildly entertaining, creative, and functional marble runs. Thanks ever so much for the idea!

    1. October 8, 2011 at 11:50 am

      Thanks everybody! Christy - What a great note! I wish I could have seen that. Thanks for sharing!

  74. October 4, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    This was so cute! We did this on a rainy day with my son. He loved it!

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    Brilliant! I love marble runs!

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  92. October 25, 2012 at 9:31 am

    Ok I made this for my son and he at the table having so much fun with this, I did have to create ledges for all the ramps as the marbles kept falling off track once that was done it was PERFECT. Thanks so much for this wonderful idea, its a snowy day here and now he has something to hold his interest

    1. October 25, 2012 at 10:17 am

      Awesome! Glad your son is liking it! As for the rails. I just folded the edge over on the base piece before mounting the box in it. (See last photo.) This way it tilts the whole box back so the marbles don't fall off the edge. Rails are a great idea too though. Nice!

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  94. March 19, 2013 at 3:10 pm

    That's so cool! My brother had one of those big marble runs when we were kids and we used to pretend that the marbles were highly trained hamsters :P

    1. March 21, 2013 at 11:07 am

      Ha, awesome!

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