Monday, June 30, 2014

{Think Outside the Toy Box} Pool Noodles: Marble Drop/Race

Hello all, it's Monday and that means it is time for the Think Outside the Toy Box Summer Fun Series! I have been single parenting (24/7 mom duty) for the past 10 days and I have 3 more to go. I was good for the first 5 days, but now I'm not sure what day or time it is, what direction is up, or what I ate for breakfast. However we did manage to have fun with this week's project and I am excited to tell you all about it!
If you are here for the first time or want to check out all the details again, take a look at the post introducing the Think Outside the Toy Box summer fun series. Also if you have missed any previous weeks, here are the projects we have done so far:
Glow-in-the-Dark Bowling (and bath)
Plastic Bottle Waterfall
Astronaut/Alien Costume
 Foamy Bathtub Paint
Edible Sensory Bin

Now on to this week's fun with:


I had an idea for pool noodles circling its way around my brain since the beginning of this series. My inspiration came from the second story walk way we have overlooking the entry way and dinning room in our house. I thought how fun would it be to drop marbles down the noodles from the top of the walk way to the floors down below. That was the beginning of my idea and then I saw the pool noodle marble race on Pinterest, so I thought we would try that out after the marble drop. 

  Marble Drop/Race

What You Will Need: 

Pool Noodles (I used four)
Duck tape
Zip-ties (optional for the marble drop)

Green and white paper
Chopsticks or tooth picks


1. Start by taping the pool noodles together with duck tape. I used four noodles, but you may need less based on where you will be setting up the drop/race.

2. Before I got to making the marble race, I made a marble drop for Myles to try out. We have high ceilings, so I was able to hang the noodles from the second story walk way and let them drop to the first. I attached them to the top banisters with zip ties. I dropped the noodles into our unused dining room and secured them to the ground with a piece of duck tape. 
*This can be done down a flight of stairs as well.*

3. Drop the marble down the noodles and watch it come out down below. This is an awesome way to work on fine motor skills with the young ones. I'm pretty sure Myles could do this for hours and I kinda totally had fun too. You can also have a 'competition' with the marble drop; if you have a big, open space at the bottom, see whose marble goes the farthest after coming out of the bottom.  
4. Now to make the marble race 'track': use a knife or sharp scissors to cut the noddle(s) in half. A non-serrated knife would be best because I noticed with mine, the edges were really rough. Also take your time and make sure you are cutting straight down the middle the entire time. I'm sure it is easier with just one or two noodles, but since I had four, I ended up getting a little off track a couple times. It still worked, but at some spots the indentation for the marble to go in got really shallow.  

 5. Optional: Make the start and finish line banners. I just took some scrap paper I had and made two signs: one green for the start and one checked for the end. I attached them to chop sticks with tape. I've seen toothpicks and skewers used as well. 

6. Since my track was really long, I had to find a way to keep them side-by-side. I thought about it for a while and came up with a couple ideas to try. First was a hot glue gun... let's just say, that didn't end well. I was excited because at first it was working great but then as I was holding the sides together while the glue was drying, I noticed parts of the noodle were gone. Weird.. but I just kept going, then it finally dawned on me that the glue was getting so hot that it was melting the plastic noodle! I tend to not think things through... Then I thought I would try rubber bands. That didn't work because the rubber bands weren't high enough to let the marble through. Then I just resorted back to my original, but boring idea to just duck tape the under sides together every couple of feet. I wasn't sure how well this would work, but in the end it was the best option. I also duck taped the top to the banister and the bottom to the carpet. 

7. Putting it over the second story walk way looked cool, but was not practical. It was too steep and the marbles kept falling off before they got to the end. So we decided to move it to the stairs. This way worked perfectly! Seriously hours of racing fun: great for working those fine motor skills for the young ones, and a little friendly competition for the older ones!

  And that was our week six of the Think Outside the Toy Box Summer Fun Series is complete! Also don't forget to check out what all of the other ladies put together for this week's item in the link-up below. 
  And if you have a post (new or old) that you created showcasing pool noodles in a kid's project, craft, game, experiment, etc., submit it below as well. No post this week? No problem; join us next Monday when we will be using Wax Paper! 
 Also just in case you want to get a head start, here is the complete list for the coming weeks:
July 7 - Wax Paper
July 14 - Puzzle Pieces
July 21 - Paper Cups
July 28 - Plastic Milk Jugs


  1. Julia, this looks like a blast! I love the different positions you used!

  2. You're, like, the coolest mom ever! A few years ago my oldest and his friends would send marbles down their pool noodles, but I never thought of using more than one noodle for a race! This looks like a lot of fun for a little guy.

  3. LOOOVE this!! Will be checking back for your weekly posts on thinking outside the toy box! So flippen cool!

  4. Desiree @ Macke MonologuesJuly 1, 2014 at 6:03 PM

    GENIUS!! This is something Marcus would LOVE! Going to have to make this ASAP!

  5. It was fun to have different options, but not all of them worked out very well! I always come up with awesome ideas in my head but they never turn out quiet like vision. Good thing is it is still fun to make everything and enjoy the process of figuring out what works best!

  6. Awe thanks! We get bored a lot so I am always trying to find something that will occupy at least a little of our time. I think it would be cool for older kids to have like a competition, because Myles doesn't really understand the race part of it now, but he loves balls so that was a win for us! I found doing it down the stairs was the easiest way. He liked destroying it too!

  7. Thanks girl! I'm glad you liked it! We've been having a lot of fun with this series. Did you get a chance to see the others we've done so far?

  8. Thanks! It was a little more complicated than I had foreseen, but we eventually figured it out and had tons of fun!

  9. I love trying new ideas with Myles.. sometimes they are a flop, but he is a pretty good sport at least. I think I made it more complicated than it needed to be, but when I finally got it together, Myles had a blast. And I know Marcus would love this too!

  10. April @ 100lbcountdownJuly 9, 2014 at 12:54 AM

    I think this is the first time that I wish I had a two story house! This looks so cool! I'm trying to envision where I would put something like this here, but We don't have any place that the kids could get up high! :( Thanks for sharing with Creative Style!

  11. Thanks! You could try it with just one noodle and put the top on the kitchen counter or table, or even just put the top on a higher box. I think it would be just as fun even if it wasn't as high.

  12. HAHAAH! I was cracking up when I read the glue gun missing pieces...That seriously did it for me lol "weird" haha

  13. I am just an idiot when it comes to those things! One time in high school I tried ironing windbreaker pants... they are plastic Julia!!! For some reason my mind just doesn't register those things... it was pretty funny, but a total duh moment!

  14. HAHAH! That's amazing. My husband likes to tell me that I'm the smartest and yet most mindless person he knows. That iron incident is totally something I would do too lol

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