Parallel – A slow marble run

The Marble Run activities create great opportunities for the children to explore and create experiences with each other. We create a quick and easy framework that makes the children start building a marble run quickly. During the activity, we can adjust with new challenges as the play evolves.
The initial challenge

We build a marble run that runs as slowly as possible.

Parallel – Build a Marble Run We create a framework that quickly makes the children start building the marble run and exploring and trying out the materials.




We create a framework that quickly makes the children start building the marble run and exploring and trying out the materials.

For example, we can say: “Today, we try to build a marble run where the marble rolls down the track as slow as possible. How slow do you think you can make the marble run?”


The activity can be adapted to the framework of one lesson and varied according to the time available and the children’s prerequisites.


We can use all materials we make available for building the marble run, for example wooden rails, polystyrene, cardboard, straws, toilet rolls, rubber pipes, tape, teddies, etc.

During the activity

During the play session, the children encounter challenges and successes, where we can stop and help spot what is difficult or what is going well. We can do this in several ways:

Reflection routines 

When we get the opportunity to reflect together with the children on what challenges or discoveries arise along the way, we can use one or more reflection routines. It could be, for example, a learning metaphor with a social strategy that we practice, an emoji that describes the feeling we have right now, or a rating of how well we think the building is going. In this way, a reflection routine can help to show and put into words the experiences that the children have during the play session.

Facilitating questions

We can ask facilitating questions to the children along the way, as they naturally arise in the building process. In this way, we facilitate the play session so that we continue the play and at the same time learn something from it. For example: 

  • I see that you have stopped building. I wonder how we can continue building the marble run from here? 
  • I see that you have encountered a challenge. Should we try to solve it together? 
  • Try to notice what you are doing right now. Do you think this is a collaborative strategy? 

A new challenge

We assess whether the children find it motivating and meaningful with a new challenge during the activity. Maybe the activity starts to get boring, and then it makes sense to present a new challenge.

In the list below, inspiration for other challenges can be found. The list contains challenges that are good to introduce during the activity or others that are good to start with in a new activity.

Tell and Show

Finally, in the play session, we give a Tell and Show of our marble run, so that we have the opportunity to share our experiences, reflections, and feelings about the construction process.

1. The invisible marble

We first tell about our marble run and the process of building it. We show with our finger as the “invisible marble” how the track runs.

2. Reflection on the process

During the Tell and Show, we can use reflection routines and reflective questions to support the discoveries that have been made. For example:

  • What went well? 
  • What was difficult?
  • Is there anything that you want to do differently the next time we build a marble run?

3. We try out the marble run

Finally, we have three tries to get the marble through the marble run. Maybe it doesn’t work out every time, but we can also learn something from that. A marble run is not always completely stable.

Demonstration of marble runs with rails and pegboards
Inspiration for materials
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