Do you save cardboard tubes from paper towels, toilet paper, and whatever else comes on a roll? I do! I have quite a collection saved just for the purpose of making a cool cardboard tube marble run on our wall. What a great rainy day or anytime kind of activity!

Simple to set up, easy to do, and full of learning possibilities! Next time you find yourself holding an empty cardboard tube roll heading to the trash, save it instead! Our cardboard tube marble run is a great recycling STEM project!

Make A Marble For Easy STEM

We have been on a roll lately with wall activities! We recently did a pool noodle marble run and a super fun homemade water wall. I love finding creative and inexpensive ways to make fun activities that encourage playful learning!

To set up for our cardboard tube marble run, I chose a blank wall. You can also use the refrigerator or door!

I set out a box of tubes and painters tape. I love using painters tape for activities since it doesn’t stick to the wall. The tissue boxes were used to collect the marbles at the end of the cardboard marble run.

Cardboard Tube Marble Run materials

This may look like a simple play activity that even the youngest child can help with and enjoy, but it’s so much more. My son is learning about angles, gravity, slopes, engineering and problem solving. He is creating, testing, problem solving, creating and testing again.

A young child may enjoy dropping pom poms down a single tube. You might think they are just playing, but even the youngest child is learning about how the world works!

Our cardboard tube marble run is the perfect reusable STEM project made new each time it’s put together. Keep adding tube to your supply and you could make a floor to ceiling marble run! That would be pretty cool. This keeps everyone occupied even the adults on an indoor day

Of course, you can also add this pool noodle marble run to your summer camp activities too!

What Is STEM For Kids?

So you might ask, what does STEM actually stand for? STEM stands for science, technology, engineering, and math. The most important thing you can take away from this, is that STEM is for everyone!

Yes, kids of all ages can work on STEM projects and enjoy STEM lessons.  STEM activities are great for group work, too!

STEM is everywhere! Just look around.  The simple fact that STEM surrounds us is why it’s so important for kids to be a part of, to use and to understand STEM.

From the buildings you see in town, the bridges that connect places, the computers we use, the software programs that go with them, and to the air we breathe, STEM is what makes it all possible.

Interested in STEM plus ART? Check out all our STEAM Activities!

Engineering is an important part of STEM. What is engineering in kindergarten and elementary?  Well, it’s putting together simple structures and other items, and in the process, learning about the science behind them. Essentially, it’s a whole lot of doing! 

Free printable engineering challenges!

Helpful STEM Resources To Get You Started

Here are a few resources that will help you introduce STEM more effectively to your kiddos or students and feel confident yourself when presenting materials. You’ll find helpful free printables throughout.

How To Make A Cardboard Marble Run

This cardboard marble run is easy to make and use! Attach your cardboard tubes to a wall to create your very own marble run wall. You could also make a marble run with a paper plate or even LEGO bricks!


  • Painter’s tape
  • Cardboard tubes of various sizes
  • Scissors


STEP 1. Design your marble run.

How will you start your cardboard tube marble run?  You have to think about the angles and plan ahead!  Where do you want the marble run to finish?

Building Marble Run with cardboard tubes

STEP 2. Now it’s time to make your cardboard tube marble run!  We cut pieces of tape so that we had plenty waiting once we got going.

The cardboard tubes were easy to stick to the wall, and we had fun designing our cardboard tube marble run.

My son also decided to make a second DIY marble that dropped into the first one.

Cardboard Tube Marble Run

STEP 3. This leads us to my favorite point in this STEM project! Testing out the cardboard tube marble run!

Cardboard Tube Marble Run STEM activity

More Fun Engineering Projects

When you finish with your cardboard marble run, why not explore more engineering with one of these ideas below. You can find all our engineering activities for kids here!

Build a DIY solar oven.

Construct a marble run wall from pool noodles.

Make this erupting bottle rocket.

Make a sundial to tell the time by.

Make a homemade magnifying glass.

Build a compass and work out which way is true north.

Construct a working Archimedes screw simple machine.

Make a paper helicopter and explore motion in action.

Printable Engineering Projects Pack

Get started with STEM and engineering projects today with this fantastic resource that includes all the information you need to complete more than 50 activities that encourage STEM skills!


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