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 Responses
  1. Meg O

    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

    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

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

  4. Three Owls

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

  5. Cheryl Arkison

    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?

  6. Joel Henriques

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

  7. Erick & Molly

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

  8. (V.Kerr) School Time Adventures

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

  9. Heather T

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

  10. Notonlyformoms

    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.

  11. liza

    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.

  12. sherri

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

  13. nesto

    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!!!!!)

  14. Joel Henriques

    Thanks everybody!

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

  15. nesto

    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 ;)

  16. Anonymous

    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

  17. Amanda

    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

  18. Joel Henriques

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

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

  19. Tara L.

    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!

  20. Audrey

    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!"

  21. Anonymous

    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.

  22. June

    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! :)

  23. Teresa

    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.

  24. […] 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 […]

  25. Christy

    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!

  26. 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. 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!

  27. […] Ensuite, on fixe les languettes avec du scotch sur les côtés intérieurs et, on fixe la boîte sur un bout de carton plus épais et assez large, pour qu’elle puisse tenir debout. Voilà, c’est fini … et ça roule ! (source) […]

  28. 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

  29. […] mau buat media untuk marble run dari kotak bekas cereal atau susu seperti di situs ini, tapi belum kesampaian. Ntar deh, kalau dah jadi diposting […]