There are a few things that I find are coming to me with age. One of which is pairing things down — or simplifying, I suppose.
We were at our local Children’s Museum last week and there was the neatest (hugest) marble (well ball) run. It was made on a great big metal wall with PVC piping and magnets.
My initial thought was, “AWESOME. We need to do this at home — maybe outside on the barn?” But my second thought was, “WAIT. Let’s do the same thing but smaller — maybe on the fridge?”
Yes, second thought Sarah seems to be quite rational.
My husband likes second thought Sarah.
So that is just what I did. I took that fabulous idea of a magnetic marble run that children could easily manipulate and paired it down to fit on our fridge.
This magnetic marble run has been a huge hit with my little guys. And since they both have taken to wanting to be with me in the kitchen while I am cooking (which is quite sweet), it gives them a little something to do when they are tired of helping (but Mama still needs to cook – even if she’s tired of it).
We took some cardboard tubes – these ones were from wrapping paper – wrapping paper that was not in fact finished being on the roll (that was initial thought Sarah). Any cardboard tubes would work of course: paper towel or toilet rolls.
I cut the tubes into various lengths and cut a good size strip off the top to make them shaped like a “U”.
Next, I hot glued some magnets I had picked up from the Dollar Store. I added one to each end of the tube so the tubes would be nice and secure on the fridge.
The longer tubes, as it turned out, should have had three magnets to really hold them in place. With two they slip a little, changing the slope when the marble hits them.
I also added a couple of squares of cardbard to act as “blockers”. These were great for places where the tubes were placed to steep and the marble would jump out.
I also added a paper cup that the boys could use at the end of their marble run to catch the marble.
I left this as an “invitation” – meaning I left it open for them to explore and use exactly as they wanted. I didn’t suggest they make the marble land in the cup, for example, I simply added the cup so they could discover that might be a great way to catch the marble.
There is so much learning in this playful invitation. My little guys are learning about slope, speed, and distance — and even learning the foundations for the rise over run concept — though of course they don’t know they are learning any of that. They just know it is awesome.
Not quite as awesome as it would have been on a huge magnetic barn wall with PVC pipes — but awesome all the same.
Well done, second thought Sarah. I can hardly wait to see what third thought Sarah brings.
Goodness, growing older is kind of fabulous.
Thank you for reading friends, I hope you are having a lovely start to your week!