Ball Run Basics

Ball runs have become a favorite activity in our house. There is something to satisfying about the sound of the wooden marble rolling down the run. I remember when I first came across Emily, know as @buildingwithrainbows on instagram and I couldn’t believe how beautiful her ball runs were. I set out on a personal mission to figure how to make them, it was the perfect escape from Covid chaos that was occurring. Below are some things I have learned along the way, including basic tips and favorite ball run sets.

Bull runs can be extreme and complex but you can also keep them simple and they are still tons of fun. The positioning of your pieces is very important because it guides the ball. For instance an arch used for a turn guides your ball in the direction it will continue to move.

Basic Tips:

  1. Patience- Move slowly and precisely. Ball runs are temperamental and everything must line up.
  2. Control- Have an idea of how you want your run to go. I like to work from my highest point down allowing slow transition.
  3. Persistence- Ball runs don’t always work out on their first go, there is often fine tuning that needs to happen. With that said when you had an idea, don’t give up too quickly!
  4. Focus- Focus on the materials you have available for your run and space them out on your run wisely.

Favorite Ball Run Sets:

  1. Grimms Large Stepped Pyramid– This set is great for so many activities but the biggest benefit for ball runs in my opinion is the large quantity of blocks and the variety in sizes. The gradual difference in height helps for the ball to run smoothly.
  2. Grimms Stepped Roofs– The sound of the ball rolling down the stepped roofs is mesmerizing and one of my favorites.
  3. Grimms Building Boards– Building boards are great for straight aways and gradual drops.
  4. Grimms Semi Circles– When paired with rainbow arches, theres are great for transitions and turns.
  5. Wooden Marbles– I have the Grapat marbles but Grimms also offers them. I find I often use the small marbles but large are fun to experiment with also.

The main takeaway on how to make a ball run is to have patience and persistence. Over time you will improve and it is so satisfying when you complete one! Happy playing!

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