Cardboard Tube Ball Run

A DIY ball run is an excellent boredom buster that can be easily assembled at home.

Using simple, recyclable materials such as cardboard tubes and tape, you can create a custom, fun-filled ball run that encourages little ones’ imaginative and problem-solving skills.

Creating a DIY ball run is a straightforward process that requires minimal preparation, making it yet another clever example of a rainy-day parents’ play hack or impromptu playtime activity.

Making a ball run at home is a great educational toddler activity, as well as an exciting STEM challenge for older kids.

By cutting and arranging the rolls into different shapes and paths, you have the flexibility to design a unique ball run each time you assemble it.

We hope you have as much fun as we did!

Key Takeaways

  • A cardboard tube ball runs promote creativity and problem-solving in a fun and educational activity.
  • Assembling a DIY ball run is easy and requires minimal materials, making it a great option for impromptu play or a rainy day.
  • A DIY tube ball run encourages recycling and reusing materials, teaching children the importance of eco-friendliness.
Cardboard Ball Run

Summary: How to Make DIY Ball Run


To create your own ball run, you will need some basic materials like cardboard tubes (toilet paper rolls, paper towel tubes, or wrapping paper tubes), wall-safe tape (painters or masking tape work great), and balls (such as marbles, ping pong balls, or even scrunched-up paper).

Consider using optional items like a clean empty container to catch your balls at the end of the run.

Assembling Ball Runs

Start with large cardboard tubes cut in half lengthways to make open channels for the balls to roll through. Then, arrange the tubes on a flat surface or even the wall. Use your creativity to make interesting ramps, curves, and drops for your DIY ball run.

Secure each tube in place with the wall-safe tape. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different setups to see which one works best for your ball’s journey. Observe the ball’s motion and adjust your tube placement accordingly to achieve the desired effect.

Benefits of This Activity

A homemade ball run is a fantastic STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) activity that also incorporates artistic elements as you design and decorate your cardboard rolls.

Your ball run can be as simple or complex as you like, making it an adaptable and scalable activity for different age groups and skill levels.

Required Materials

Essential Items You’ll Need

To create a fun and engaging DIY ball run, you’ll need to gather a few essential materials. These are easily found around the house or can be purchased affordably at a local store.

First, gather various cardboard tubes such as toilet paper rolls, paper towel tubes, or even wrapping paper tubes. You should have at least a few tubes, but don’t hesitate to collect more for a longer and more complex ball run.

Be mindful that tubes with varying diameters may not work together seamlessly.

Next, you’ll need some tape to hold the tubes together and attach them to a wall or other surface. Painters tape works particularly well because it won’t cause any damage when removing it later.

Scissors come in handy for cutting tubes or making modifications to them as needed. With scissors, you can create openings and accommodate different angles in your ball run design.

Cardboard Ball Run

Other Materials You May Need

While not essential, paint, markers, and stickers could be used to personalize and enhance the appearance of your ball run. Make it bright and colorful or give it a unique theme to make it more attractive and engaging.

This step is entirely optional, as the functionality of the ball run will not be affected by these decorative additions.

Finally, in terms of materials, keep in mind that while cardboard rolls such as paper towel tubes are the primary building block for your ball run, you can also experiment with other household items to add more dynamics to your creation. Items like egg cartons or yogurt tubs may prove useful for diverting the ball’s path.

With these materials on hand, you’re all set to start creating your ball run. Enjoy the process and put your creativity to the test as you design a fun and interactive activity for yourself or others to enjoy.

Preparing Your Working Space

Before diving into creating your ball run, it’s essential to set up a proper working space. Here is a friendly guide to help you get started.

Cardboard Ball Run on Wall

Where to Build Your Ball Run

First things first, find an empty section of the wall, preferably near a corner, to build your ball run. Choose a wall with enough space to accommodate your design.

Keep in mind that if the wall is near a door, make sure there’s no obstruction or risk of collisions when the door is opened.

You can also build a smaller ball run using a large piece of cardboard as a backdrop.

How to Set Up the Space

Next, clear the area around the wall, creating a clutter-free and safe space for you to work on the project.

Move furniture and other objects to the sides or edges of the room, ensuring ample room in the center of the space for you to move around as you build.

It’s also a good idea to protect the floor with a drop cloth or newspapers to catch any debris or potential mess during the construction process.

This will help keep your work area clean and make the cleanup process after the project is completed much easier.

Gathering Your Materials

Once you’ve cleared and protected the workspace, gather all the necessary materials you’ll need for the project. Some items you may need include:

Cardboard Ball Run Materials
  • Cardboard tubes (toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, circular pieces of packaging etc.)
  • Painters tape or duct tape
  • Scissors
  • Marbles or other different size balls (to experiment and find out which work best)
  • Additional items for decorative purposes (colored paper, stickers, etc.)
  • One large flat box (optional: for collecting all the balls at the finish line)

Now that your working space is prepared and organized, you’re ready to start creating your own ball run! Enjoy the process and have fun making something unique and exciting.

Creating Your Ball Run Pieces

Creating a DIY roll ball run can be a fun, engaging, and educational activity. Follow these simple steps to get started on your ball run masterpiece.

Preparing the Tubes

Start by gathering cardboard tubes. You can repurpose various types of tubes like toilet paper rolls, paper towel rolls, and wrapping paper tubes for this project. Having a few large cardboard tubes in different lengths and diameters can add variety to your ball run.

Once you have your tubes, cut them in half lengthways. This will create the channels your ball will travel through during its journey down the run. Be careful while cutting the tubes, and try to maintain a straight edge as this will make it easier to connect your tubes later on.

Now that your tubes are cut, let your creativity shine and design your ball run. Think about how you want the tubes to connect and create twists, turns, and drops for the ball to follow.

Consider grabbing a piece of paper to draw a layout of your design before starting the assembly process.

Assemble the tubes

Decorating and Assembling the Pieces

With your vision in place, it’s time to decorate your tubes. Make your ball run visually appealing by painting or drawing on the tubes, or simply using colored tape to attach them to your surface.

This way, you can create patterns or themes in your ball run, making it even more captivating for participants.

As you assemble your DIY ball run, use wall-safe tape such as painter’s tape or masking tape to connect your rolls on a surface. Make sure that the connections between rolls are secure and have a smooth transition, so your ball can travel seamlessly from one roll to the other.

And there you have it! With a little creativity and some repurposed materials, you’ve successfully created a fun DIY ball run. Enjoy the hours of entertainment and learning opportunities this project provides.

Cardboard Ball Run Track

Assembling a DIY Cardboard Tube Ball Run

First, gather your materials. You will need several cardboard rolls, such as empty paper towel rolls or toilet paper rolls.

Also, grab some masking tape or painter’s tape to secure the rolls to a stable surface, like doors or walls. The more rolls you have, the longer and more intricate your ball run can be!

Next, cut your tubes in half lengthways. This will create open chutes for the balls to travel through. Feel free to experiment with different lengths and angles to make your ball run more interesting and challenging.

Now, it’s time to start assembling! Use the tape to attach the cardboard roll chutes to your chosen surface, making sure they are securely in place.

Arrange the tubes in a way that they create a continuous track for the balls to travel along. Don’t be afraid to get creative – try incorporating bridges, pendants, or even loops in your design.

Testing Your Unique Ball Run

Once all of your chutes are in place, it’s time to test out your DIY cardboard ball run. Drop a marble or small ball into the first chute and watch as it travels through the track you’ve built.

Test Ball Run

Make any adjustments necessary to ensure a smooth run, and don’t be afraid to switch up the design occasionally to keep things fresh and fun.

For added excitement, create two or more different runs to race your marbles and see which one wins! This can be an enjoyable competition for friends or family members to take part in together.

With a little creativity and effort, you can craft a DIY cardboard roll ball run that provides hours of enjoyment. Remember that the main goal is to have fun, so don’t worry about making the perfect track or the most intricate design. Just get started and let your imagination guide you!

Incorporating Learning In Play

A DIY ball run can be a fun and engaging way to introduce STEM activities and learning concepts to your child.

By incorporating elements of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, you can create a play-based learning experience that is both entertaining and educational.

One way to incorporate math into your ball run is by using different lengths and sizes of cardboard rolls. Encourage your child to measure the tubes and calculate the difference in lengths. This can introduce basic concepts of measurement and arithmetic.

STEM activities involve problem-solving and critical thinking. While constructing their own ball run, challenge your child to design and test different configurations of the tubes to optimize the ball’s path.

This can stimulate their engineering and technology skills by encouraging them to create a stable structure and innovative designs.

Play and Learn

Introduce science concepts, such as gravity, by discussing how the ball moves through the rolls. Explain that gravity is the force that pulls the ball downwards, and encourage your child to consider how the steepness of the rolls affects the speed and motion of the ball.

You can also explore additional scientific concepts, such as friction and inertia, for a more comprehensive understanding of the physical forces at play.

Cardboard roll ball runs are perfect for hands-on learning through playing experiences that combine multiple aspects of STEM education.

By engaging your child’s curiosity and creativity, you can inspire a love of the world of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics that will last a lifetime.


Now that you’ve created your very own DIY ball run, you can enjoy hours of entertainment and learning.

This budget activity is not only friendly and enjoyable but also promotes creativity, turn-taking and problem-solving skills in a hands-on way.

Feel free to snap a picture or take a video of your masterpiece, and share it with friends and family.

Seeing your creation in action brings a true sense of accomplishment, and you never know, you might inspire others to try it out themselves!

Don’t be afraid to get creative with the materials you have at hand.

Cardboard Ball Run

For example, consider incorporating everyday items you find around your home, like a bowl as a funnel or attaching the ball run to blocks for added stability and height.

The possibilities are endless, and you can continually improve and build upon your design, making it even more interesting and dynamic over time.

Remember, there’s no right or wrong approach to constructing your cardboard tube ball run – it’s all about experimenting, learning, and having fun.

So gather your supplies and let your imagination lead the way – you might be surprised by the fantastic designs you can come up with!

Frequently Asked Questions

What materials are needed for a DIY cardboard tube ball run?

To create a DIY ball run, you’ll need the following materials:

  • Cardboard tubes (from paper towels, toilet paper rolls, or similar items)
  • Masking tape or duct tape
  • Scissors or a craft knife
  • A wall or large cardboard base to attach the tubes to

You may also need additional materials like sturdy paper or plastic cups, depending on the complexity of your design.

How can I create a stable structure for the ball run?

To create a stable structure for your DIY ball run, you should:

  1. Plan your design before cutting or attaching any tubes.
  2. Use short pieces of tape to secure the tubes together temporarily, so you can easily adjust their position as needed.
  3. Make small cuts or notches in the tubes for more stable connections with other tubes or props in your structure.
  4. Once you’re satisfied with your layout, use longer pieces of tape to firmly secure everything in place.

Remember that larger and more complex ball runs may require additional support, such as attaching some tubes to a wall or cardboard base.

What type of balls work best with a cardboard tube ball run?

Small and lightweight balls work best for a cardboard tube ball run. Examples include marbles, bouncy balls, and even small, rolled-up balls of paper or tin foil. Be sure to choose a ball that fits comfortably within the tubes without getting stuck.

How can I make the ball run toy more challenging or complex?

To make your DIY ball run toy more challenging or complex, you can:

  • Add more levels or layers to the design.
  • Introduce elements like loops, ramps, jumps, or curves.
  • Create branches in the path, forcing the ball to follow different routes.
  • Incorporate simple machines, such as levers or pulleys, to control the ball’s movement.

Feel free to get creative and experiment with different elements until you find a design that challenges and excites you.

What can I use to secure the tubes in place?

Masking tape or duct tape is a great choice for securing the tubes in place when creating your DIY ball run toy. These tapes are strong enough to hold the tubes in position but can be easily removed or adjusted if needed. Make sure to use enough tape to support your structure, especially if it’s large or complex.

How can I incorporate ramps, curves, and turns into the design?

Incorporating ramps, curves, and turns is a fun way to make your cardboard tube ball run more engaging and challenging. Here are some ideas to get started:

  • For ramps, simply angle the tubes upward or downward.
  • To create curves, cut small notches on the inside edge of the tube, bending it gently until you achieve the desired curve. Secure the bend with tape.
  • For turns, you can either connect two tubes at an angle or cut one tube into two pieces and reattach them at the desired angle.

Don’t be afraid to mix and match these elements to create unique and dynamic paths for your DIY ball run toy.

If you enjoyed making your own ball run toy out of cardboard rolls, you’ll definitely want to try making your own toothpick bridge or building a catapult out of popsicle sticks.