Ever since childhood, I have been a big fan of the maze game. Now that I am parent, I know that maze games are puzzles, making them great for spatial awareness, fine motor skills, and expanding the capacity of the mind. This inspired me to try my hand at a DIY maze game that my toddler could enjoy and explore.
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For her, a paper maze puzzle would be too difficult and there’s not really any play based learning there for her. While we have the Labyrinth game, it has holes that make the ball drop out and she’s not ready for that. Also, most maze games are enclosed which means there is little ability for tactile learning and manipulation. Therefore, I made my own maze game out of cardboard tubes and a regular piece of corrugated cardboard.
While we have the Labyrinth game, it has holes that make the ball drop out and she’s not ready for that. Also, most maze games are enclosed which means there is little ability for tactile learning and manipulation. Therefore, I made my own maze game out of cardboard tubes and a regular piece of corrugated cardboard.
Also, most maze games are enclosed which means there is little ability for tactile learning and manipulation. Therefore, I made my own maze game out of cardboard tubes and a regular piece of corrugated cardboard.
How to Make Your Own Maze Game from Cardboard Tubes
- Old Cardboard
- Cardboard tubes (Toilet Paper Rolls, Paper towel rolls, wrapping paper tubes, etc.)
- Low Temp Hot glue Low Temp Hot glue and glue gun
- A bean, marble, or something small that rolls
The first thing I did since I was using toilet paper rolls was I microwaved them for 1 minute to sterilize them. Then I cut them in half and then into strips. (Make sure you don’t cut them right where the roll wraps together or it might unwind).
These strips are what I used to make the walls of our maze game. I folded them as much as I could, but I also cut some when needed. (Side note, I used Cottonelle Toilet Paper rolls because they are sturdier, easier to cut, and not the same color as regular cardboard.)
Before I actually clued any walls to the board, I made sure to draw out my maze. I wanted to make sure I had at least one clear path from start to end and I didn’t want to mess it up by not planning ahead of time. I actually made two or three correct answers so that I could encourage my daughter to find another path from start to finish.
Drawing it first also made it easier to glue each strip down because I put the glue down and then placed the tube strip on the glue. Also, it’s a lot easier to glue from the center outward so it’s cleaner and easier to assemble with the glue gun.
I think cleaned up the glue pieces, colored a white bean red (to match the red beginning and end marks) and then we were ready to play!
At first I thought this may be a tiny bit too advanced for my 16 month old, but it has been a big hit. She loves to move the red bean around the maze with her finger. I also decided that I like that the maze game is not self-contained because she loves when the bead pops out when she finished the maze! It’s like the reward for figuring it out. It’s also great for her to practice fine motor skills as she moves the bean through each twist and turn.
We also played it together and worked on gross motor skills be holding the cardboard base to shake and wiggle the bean from start to finish. With so many ways to play, this has been such a fun game for us. And if you think this is a great idea, find more of my upcycle projects here.
As always, please supervise your children while making and/or playing with projects. Only you know what is age appropriate for your child.
Check out other cardboard and paper upcycle projects!
Kara is an author and advocate for positive, grace-filled parenting. She is homeschooler to her 4 children living in Boston, MA and believes in creative educational approaches to help kids dive deeper into a rich learning experience. She has her degree in Secondary Education & Adolescent Childhood Development and is passionate about connecting with and helping other parents on their journey to raise awesome kids!