Marbles, Wrapping Paper Tubes, and Duplo Blocks

This week we have been busy wrapping up the Christmas presents. Of course, we’ve gone through a roll or two of wrapping paper!


Remember as a kid using them as swords, and hitting your siblings until one of you started crying, or your mum told you to knock it off? Our kids enjoyed making those memories too before we used them for a different activity.

All you need is some marbles, empty wrapping paper tubes, and some Duplo Blocks (or any other blocks). In the Early Education world, we call these items loose parts, as they can be used in multiple ways, alone or combine, and then used in different combinations to create something entirely different!

As you can see, the activity is pretty simple. Set up the tubes, use Duplo blocks to create a goal, and send the marbles on their way! We used a Creeper at the beginning before discovering that the Duplo worked better, always room for improvement!

But did you know it actually works on a few areas of development at the same time??

  1. Fine motor skills- picking up those marbles to drop into the tube is hard work! Children require perfecting their pincer grip to pick up the marbles and drop them into the tube. Fine motor skills are crucial for every day life activities such as doing up zippers, buttons, and tying shoes. They are also important for academic activities like writing, and scissor work.
  2. Gross motor skills- send the marble down, then go and chase it! Running is a gross motor skills that requires some hand and eye coordination. Since we were playing on the stairs, we furthered the gross motor skill work by climbing up and down the stairs to send our marbles off.
  3. Cognitive skills- our tube kept moving when we put marbles in it. So together we worked on our problem solving skills and created a plan to fix this. We created a little holding gate using Duplo Blocks to hold the tube in place. Later we were tired of chasing marbles all over the floor, so we decided to create a goal space using the Duplo Blocks. This was great, because we worked on our counting skills as we counted the marbles that made it into the goal when we gathered them all up to send down again.
  4. Social-Emotional skills- turn taking is an important part of child development. Although it was just Mr. L and I playing and taking turns, it helped learn how to wait his turn while I put marbles into the tube. If Em had been home, we would have probably also worked on emotional regulation as I’m sure there would have been some frustration between the two of them.

So have some empty tubes, and marbles laying around the house? This activity won’t disappoint!

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