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Toilet Paper Run...or is it a Drop?

You may be looking at this picture thinking, "What is that? And why do those kids look so happy about it?"  I have seen this invention at many places like a children's science museum or at a family member's house. Usually the others are made out of piping  and plastic, but my friend created one of these on her fridge out of toilet paper rolls a couple of weeks ago and my son thought it was so cool that we had to do it, too. It's simple, affordable, fun and gets their puzzle brains going!

 Just some of the basic supplies that almost every mother has lying around.

 What You Need

  • Toilet paper/paper towel tubes
  • Crayons (optional)
  • Magnets
  • An object to slide down the tubes
  • Paper (optional)
  • Glue (optional)
  • Scissors
  • A light box or cup for object to land in (optional) 
*See the additional fun section below


The best part of this is that you get to make it your own. Sit your children down and decorate the paper tubes. You can have them color on a sheet of paper and then glue that on the tubes for added color.

Use the scissors to cut one or two tubes open lengthwise. It's even better if you cut about half inch of the cardboard out. The idea is to have an open tube for the rolling device to drop in.

Next, glue or tape tubes to magnets. I only had alphabet magnets, so I taped the tubes on. I will be buying the magnet strips and replacing the current magnets. The tape on the magnets made it a bit to fragile for the kids to move it around on their own.

Arrange on fridge so that one tube leads to another. Get creative with the arrangement.

We also added a empty box with an open top to the bottom of the arrangement to catch what we dropped through the tubes.

Find a round object and start testing out what you have created.

We tried a bouncy ball at first.

It was a bit too heavy and way to bouncy. I racked my brain for something else that we had that was round and light and discovered these in the pantry...

It worked perfectly and it was a nice little snack!

My friend used mini jaw breakers and my son loved that, too, of course. What kid does not like sugar? Let me know how this works for you...

Additional Fun
  • Try different shaped items like M&M's or beans, etc. to see what happens
  • Try different weights
  • Try rearranging and exploring how far apart you can get the tubes without dropping the item


  1. Not that I've tried it, but ping pong balls might work. I don't think they are hugely expensive either.

  2. That is a good idea. I don't have any of those around. They would be the right weight, but I'm not sure if they fit in the TP rolls. I'll have to call my nieces. =)

  3. Stopping by from SITS. Thanks so MUCH. I love this idea and I think my kids will too. Book marking this!!

  4. I've had this idea book-marked, rolls saved for ages but hadn't found magnets yet...we moved to a place with a chain link fence and ended up using that and my boys loved their "dirt run". Thanks so much for the great idea! I mentioned you in my post and am so glad we finally got around to doing this :).



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