Make a fun ski ball game using a pool noodle, marbles, and a few small bowls!
I love finding simple games and projects that we can do with whatever materials we have around the house. It only takes a few minutes to grab a few supplies and turn a boring afternoon into a fun way to spend an hour.
Marbles have always been a big hit with my kids. They are a “special occasion toy”, which means that I usually keep them put away out of reach and then only take them out when the kids have been cooped up for a while or when I just need something to keep their attention for a longer stretch of time.
They often use the marbles with their play pots and pans, sometimes I help them set up a marble run, and then other times they surprise me with what fun game they’ve come up with on their own.
When combined with a few common toys and household items, marbles can also be used to make an easy ski ball game.
We first came up with this a couple of years ago when my eldest son was 3 and my younger son was newly two. They both had a great time putting the marble down the shoot and trying to aim the pool noodle so the marble would land in a bowl. Even my husband decided to join in because it looked like we were having so much fun.
(two years ago)
This weekend, as we have been snowed in, we are spending more time taking it easy indoors and trying to find more ways to creatively occupy our time. We have baked cookies and pop-tarts. We’ve watched movies and listening to audiobooks. And this morning we set up this ski ball game again.
It’s an incredibly easy game to set up. Simply find something (we use a chair) to hold the pool noodle, place a few bowls out to catch the marbles, and (if you’re playing on a hard surface) roll up a few towels around the perimeter to stop the marbles.
Now that my boys are a little older, it’s also a great occasion to use the activity to talk about a few science terms. Kids are little sponges and when you combine a fun activity that keeps them busy with a good discussion and some vocabulary, you’ll be surprised what they remember!
Talk about how the path of the marble changes when the pool noodle is shifted. Notice how the acceleration increases or decreases as the slope of the noodle goes up or down. Explain how the marbles go down because of the pull of gravity. Point out how a rolled up towel stops the momentum of the marble as they roll. Observe the difference of how easily the marbles roll on a hard surface versus a rough surface like carpet because of the additional friction.
What do your kids like to do when cooped up inside during the winter?
Do you have special occasion toys at your house?
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