Have you ever gotten stuck for hours in the golf ball maze room of the Phoenix Children’s Museum or watched your kid become mesmerized by the kinetic sculpture in the Chase Field plaza and thought to yourself, “If only I had something like this at home, the kids would never get bored and never fight with each other!” Unfortunately, I can’t give you that kind of peace and quiet. I can, however, show you how to create a marble maze that will bring a little bit of zen to your backyard.
You Will Need:
2-3 boxes of mixed pegboard mounting hardware
Plastic bottles of various sizes or funnels (washed and labels removed)
Dollar Store sound tubes
1 bag of marbles
Drill or Dremel tool
Cut the sound tubes into different lengths. You will want some short, some full length, some in between. If you use recycled bottles, cut these in half. Save the closed ends as “catchers” for the marbles.
You will need to attach a funnel or bottle to the end of each tube so that they can easily receive marbles. I tried two different approaches in creating the opening of the tubes and both have strengths and weaknesses. The strength in the upcycled bottles is that the openings are always wide enough to fit a marble. The weakness is that drilling a hole through the threads isn’t the easiest thing in the world. If you go the funnel route, you end up cutting part of the spout off and even then the marbles don’t always fit without some extra help. That being said, attaching either the bottle or the funnel to the sound tube is the same: A) Use your drill or Dremel tool to put a hole in opposite sides of the spout of the bottle or funnel. Use the hole punch to put holes in opposite sides of one end of the sound tube. B) Thread a zip tie through the hole in one side of the nozzle, then through the hole in one side of the tube, tightening to secure. Repeat with the other two holes.
A) Punch or drill three holes in an inverted triangle near the top of the bottle or funnel. B) Pick out one of the pieces of pegboard mounting hardware and insert the hook end into the tip of the triangle. C) Thread a zip tie through the other two holes and tighten to secure the hook against the plastic.
I also tried using the plier hanger hardware by wrapping it around the sound tube and securing it with a zip tie. While this resulted in a slightly more secure mounting to the pegboard, it was also really hard for my kids to do by themselves.
Stand the pegboard horizontally against a wall. I had to show my kids how the pegboard hangers worked and once I did, they linked all sorts of tubes together. Use the discarded ends of bottles to catch the marbles when they come out of the tubes.