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Marble track: What is it and what can you learn from it?

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Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?

Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.

Playing with a set of marbles and a track they can build can have many educational benefits for children.

For younger children, this toy can learn colors and shape recognition, while also discovering three-dimensional designs.

The also helps kids improve their hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

What is a marble run

At a very young age, your child can show interest in science toys and technology, as well as in engineering.

Your child can also gain a better understanding of physics, gravity and cause and effect.

When it comes to troubleshooting, your child will be educated early as he needs to line up the pieces correctly for the track to work and the marbles to get all the way to the bottom of the structure.

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How does a marble track work?

Everyone loves them, and we've reviewed a whole bunch of marble tracks for you here. But how does a marble track actually work?

What happens at a marble track?

You explore physics! Gravity pulls the marbles off the first hill.

At the top of the hill, the marble potential energy (energy that is stored and ready to be released).

As the marble rolls down the hills, the potential energy changes into kinetic energy (kinetic energy).

Tips for making a marble track

  • For the marble track to work, the first hill must be the highest hill.
  • This science exploration is fun for different ages. Even my 2 year old was completely in love with the marble track we created. He played with it for days! (Of course, if your child is under 3 years old, remember that marbles have dangers, always be alert and never leave your child unattended.)

We have now bought a nice one, but when we started our marble track was one consisting of a flexible, plastic track made up of two parallel rails, just like a railway.

These can be easily put together and with a wide variety of supports on the ground, structures that resemble roller coasters can be built.

The 'cars' are marbles, made of steel or plastic, which are useful because they have different masses.

How does physics work on a marble track?

Then, for the enthusiasts, some more technical background on what exactly happens to the marbles in a marble track.

Acceleration under gravity

This can be demonstrated using a constant angle slope and the release of marbles from different heights.

It becomes clear that marbles released from a greater height reach a higher speed at the bottom of the slope, but that the speed at the bottom is not linearly related to the height of the release.

Using light ports at the bottom of the run it is possible to measure the speed and relate it to the height of the release.

This also provides an opportunity to examine and test the effects of friction.

Potential and kinetic energy

A marble track (straight line without vertical bends) is a good way to demonstrate the conversion between potential and kinetic energy.

Children will quickly understand that the marbles go faster when they fall from the release point and they lose momentum when they climb back.

This can lead to discussions about the design of the track, so that a marble will always reach the end.

This provides another opportunity to discuss loss mechanisms.

This can also be demonstrated by using a U-shaped trajectory and observing a marble dissipating its energy as it oscillates back and forth.


The marble track can also be used as a launch for projectiles.

By building a ramp with a horizontal section at the bottom and a sandbox to safely catch the marble, the range of the marble can be related to the launch height.

By positioning the track so that the marble is launched at a slight upward angle to the ground, the subsequent increase in range can be demonstrated.

Later mechanics classes for older children can demonstrate the relationship between range and launch angle, but the principles can be explained to younger children.

Movement in a circle

Movement in a horizontal circle can be explored by building a circular section of the track.

This demonstrates Newton's first law, but also introduces the idea of ​​centripetal force, since as the speed of a marble increases, it will leave the orbit at the point where the centripetal force provided by the orbit becomes insufficient for the chosen speed and Ray.

Thus, the effects of speed and bend radius can be explored and the use of a salvaged track to allow higher speeds can also be shown.

The principles of movement in a vertical circle can be demonstrated using a ramp that is entered in a loop.

After discussing kinetic and potential energy and speed, children can infer the variables that determine whether the marble will complete a full circle.

A fun lesson to build and perform with your kids!

Always something to do for the holidays or rainy day?

Play Choice now has the ultimate activity book collection, with over 60 pages of fun coloring pages and educational puzzles.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of is a content marketer, father and loves trying out new toys. As a child he came into contact with everything related to games when his mother started the Tinnen Soldaat in Ede. Now he and his team create helpful blog articles to help loyal readers with fun play ideas.