If you have children, and/or are crafty, perhaps you, too, are in the habit of collecting odd objects with no use. Toilet paper tubes, rubber bands, cereal boxes, business envelopes with those pretty security patterns on the inside--all have ample crafty uses, and yet, WOW is it easy to get quite a collection going, with no end in sight.
With plenty of modifications (of course), this week the girls and I used up my pointless collection of empty toilet paper tubes by completing this refrigerator marble run project from Family Fun. I have been doing, if I do say so myself, a GREAT job with science enrichment this summer. My failures in Spanish and geography enrichment seem lighter when I think about the tons of fun, experiential, open-ended science exploration that the girls have done in the past few weeks, not to mention all the science books, computer games, and videos that go without saying. The marble run project is a fun, experiential, open-ended exploration in physics.
And of course, it's crafty:
This includes what may be the younger child's first successful experience using the hot glue gun independently:
Success, of COURSE, is not counted as not burning oneself, because that would be nigh on impossible, but as not freaking out like a big baby and letting getting burned spoil all your fun. The child is going to be a hard-core crafter like her momma one of these days.
The Family Fun tute calls for adhesive magnet strips. I first tried to cheat by recycling refrigerator magnets--well, not *recycling* them, per se, but we can get by without them--but they weren't strong enough, so we had to take a trip to Michael's with a 50%-off coupon in hand to buy some stronger button magnets.
Happily, this project was an excuse to clean off and then wipe down the front of the refrigerator, making it look nice and clean (except for some pen scribbles and glued-on beer caps, whatever). But then we crapped it right back up with a plethora of scribbled-on toilet paper tubes, so there you go:
But does the marble run work, you ask?
Yeah, it works. But we definitely need a bigger catcher at the end of the run, because you can put a catching container at the end of the marble run all you want, but the marble is only going to land nicely inside it IF you've put the run together absolutely perfectly.
Otherwise, we're starting a brand-new marble collection somewhere under the refrigerator, apparently.