Making DIY pool noodle ramps could not be easier and playing with them offers kids many learning opportunities. Ramp play is full of opportunities to hone small muscle skills and visual tracking skills as well as problem solving skills and other STEM-a-riffic playful learning. In addition to being simple to make and educational, they are also inexpensive and easy to store. So, there’s really no good reason not to give this project a try.
*Make sure you select a pool noodle with a hollow core. Most have them, but some do not.
Making The Ramps
It couldn’t be simpler. Just use the serrated knife to carefully slice the pool noodle lengthwise.
You’ll end up with ramps that look like these:
As you can see in the above photo, there may be some loose noodle flakes to clean up, but the mess is generally not too bad.
You can create corners by making angled cuts and taping the pieces together. Avoid making your corners too sharp–balls have a hard time taking sharp corners.
Standard sized marbles will roll down the channel in the center of the noodle ramps. We’ve also had good experience with slightly larger bouncy balls that roll on the upper edges of the channel.
You can setup a pool noodle marble run ahead of time for kids to play with, but I recommend letting the kids be the boss of that process since it creates more opportunities for all the learning mentioned above.
Sections of ramp can be attached with duct tape and tape can also be used to hold ramps in place while building a marble run.
These ramps can also be used with water, so that expands the play possibilities they offer.
Marbles and bouncy balls are potential choking hazards. Supervise their use accordingly.
As with all our DIY projects, we’d love to hear about your experiences and see pictures in the comments below if you give this one a try.