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A-maze-ing marble mazes

Work together to make a maze, then guide a marble through it using the points of the compass to direct each other.
Plan a session with this activity

You will need

  • Paper drinking straws
  • Glue sticks
  • Pens or pencils
  • A4 paper
  • Marbles
  • Newspapers
  • Cardboard boxes

Before you begin

  • You could ask everyone to save cardboard boxes at home, so you can gather enough for this activity.
  • Prepare the boxes by cutting off or tucking in any flaps, and getting rid of any tape.
  • Decide whether you’ll make the mazes and play the game in one session, or whether you want to make the mazes in one session and play at a later date.

Make mazes

  1. Everyone should split into teams.
  2. Each team should get a big piece of cardboard to be the base of their maze.
  3. Each team should cut different lengths of straws (and pieces of cardboard) to make the walls for their maze—think about making short and long channels, and don’t forget the dead ends! Teams should test that the marbles will fit through the space between the walls before they stick anything down.
  1. Once the team’s happy with their design, they should glue all of the straws and pieces of cardboard on to their base.
  1. Teams should use a pen to write ‘N’, ‘E’, ’S’, and ‘W’ on each side of the box, to represent the compass points north, east, south, and west.

Play the game

  1. The person leading the game should check that everyone knows the four points of the compass—people could point to the different points when the person leading the game calls them out.
  2. The person leading the game should remind everyone that the points of the compass are used when navigating and reading maps. They should stick a signs for north, east, south, or west to the sides of the meeting place, to help teams remember.
  3. Teams should stand with their maze the right way around, so the letters they wrote on their maze match the letters in the space around them.
  4. The person leading the game should put the marble at the start of the maze, and the team should work together to gently move their maze and guide the marble to the end.
  1. Players can use their voices and call instructions to help each other, but they can’t use each other’s names, or directions except the compass points. For example, they could call ‘A bit more to the west!’ or ‘South, can you lift your end?’
  2. Each team should have several goes to practise working together. They could swap edges of the maze each time, or teams could even swap mazes for an extra challenge.


This activity needed you to be a team player, both when you were making your maze and when you were guiding the marble through it. What teamwork skills did you need to use to get the marble through the maze? You probably needed to listen to each other and be patient. Talk to your team, and decide on three things you did well together. All of the teams can share what they were good at.

This activity also needed you to problem solve. Did you find the best way to move the marble straight away, or did you try different things to find what worked best? Did you plan ahead when you were moving the marble, to avoid the dead ends? When we solve a problem, it’s often useful to think ahead, so we know if our solution may actually make things trickier again later (just like sending a marble down a dead end). What was the trickiest part of this activity? By working in a team and using your problem solving skills you got the marbles through in the end—well done!


All activities must be safely managed. Use the safety checklist to help you plan and risk assess your activity. Do a risk assessment and take appropriate steps to reduce risk. Always get approval for the activity and have suitable supervision and an InTouch process.

Active games

The game area should be free of hazards. Explain the rules of the game clearly and have a clear way to communicate that the game must stop when needed.


Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using scissors. Store all sharp objects securely, out of the reach of young people.

Glue and solvents

Supervise young people appropriately when they’re using glue and solvent products. Make sure there’s plenty of ventilation. Be aware of any medical conditions which could be affected by glue or solvent use and make adjustments as needed.