Children of all ages (as well as a few adults!) love ball runs, depending on how they are designed. The basic concept is relatively simple, using materials that can guide an appropriate sized ball or marble, put these together to create a course or run that allows the ball to run
This is great activity for making use of scrap and rubbish or being custom built. They seem to take quite a few forms fitting what is desired be it indoor, outdoor, quiet or active, treasure hunt or puzzle. Smaller ball runs include things like marble runs, such as the pre-built wooden or plastic sets that you construct as desired. But you don’t really need these sets, just a little bit of imagination. Paper, toilet roll tubes, bits of plastic piping, carboard, etc. They can all be used to create a ‘run’. Sellotape helps with keeping things together, but it can be part of the design challenge to create a ball run that doesn’t rely on tape, just well positioned materials for temporary or semi-permanent runs.
Outdoors you have greater potential for larger runs. And larger runs also usually mean having to move more and be more active. You can have huge amounts of fun just with tennis balls and lengths of guttering and at least one National Trust property, Basildon House in Berkshire, has ‘The Great Ball Run’ as a summer feature to keep children amused and attract visitors. However, you don’t need the large open spaces of a country house. You can just as easily adapt this to work around a small garden. Look at using convenient walls and trees (or shrubs) to attach your run to.