Recycled Materials Ball Maze


Turn a cardboard box, a rimmed baking sheet, or a box lid into a fun ball maze! This activity helps your child build hand-eye coordination while challenging them to practice strategizing and problem solving. 

What We’re Learning and Skills We’re Building 

  • Hand-eye coordination – holding and moving the box while aiming the ball (or marble) to roll through the tubes 
  • Problem solving – figuring out which balls/marbles will and which won’t fit through the tubes, and trying different ways of rolling them through the maze
  • Strategizing – coming up with a maze map and planning the best way to roll the balls/marbles through the maze
  • Creative reuse – reusing materials to create something new, instead of throwing them away 

(Safety Note: Balls and marbles smaller than 1.5″ in diameter might be a choking risk for children. Please keep close supervision during this activity.)



  • Maze table: cut-up cardboard box, rimmed baking sheet, or box lid (11″ x 16″ or larger) 
  • 3-6 clean toilet paper tubes (or 1-2 paper towel tubes, cut into smaller pieces)
  • Masking tape or duct tape
  • Bouncy balls, large marbles, golf balls, and/or ping pong balls (all 1.5″ in diameter or larger)

Optional Materials 

  • (Adults only) Scissors that can cut through cardboard tubes
  • Markers for decorating
  • Different colors of construction paper


  1. (Optional) Decorate the maze table and the cardboard tubes with markers or construction paper. 
  2. Attach the tubes to the inside bottom of the maze table using loops of tape. (The tubes can either be placed at random, or you and your child can come up with a strategic pathway for them.) 
  3. Place a ball/marble anywhere on the maze table. 
  4. Time to play! Your child can sit with the maze table on their lap or they can pick it up and hold it. Have them hold the sides of the maze table and gently move it around to roll the ball/marble through the tubes.

Challenges and Games

  • Add more balls/marbles to the maze table. If they’re different sizes and materials, ask, “Do some of them move more quickly or smoothly through the tubes and around the table? Why do you think that is?” (Some balls — golf balls, for example — might not fit through the tubes at all. This can be a good problem-solving challenge for young children.) 
  • Move the tubes around to create different maze paths (you might need to apply new tape loops). 
  • Cut out small rectangles from different colors of construction paper and tape one rectangle onto each tube. Come up with an order of colors for your child to roll the balls through — first green, then yellow, then red, for example. Ask, “Which color is the most difficult to roll through? Which is the easiest?” (Tubes near the middle of the box might be more difficult to roll through than tubes near the edges.)
  • Record how long it takes to get a ball/marble through the maze in a certain order. Try each color-order a few times in a row and record the time for each round. Ask, “Are you getting faster or slower at finishing the maze? Why?”

Vertical ball maze alternative: Tape paper towel or toilet paper tubes onto a wall or a large piece of cardboard/wood to create a vertical ball maze. Gravity is on your side with this alternative! Vertical ball mazes are a great way for toddlers and younger children to practice gross motor skills.