Howdy all! This DIY cardboard maze I am going to show you below is going to be a Christmas present for my brother. So I am doing a double duty and combining it into a tutorial as well. I think he will enjoy this. Since my brother has autism I need to look in a different direction to find creative ideas for things that involve sensory play. I have done a little research on STEM games and I think this is a good choice. I think you will, too!
I have already come up with the seek and find bottle game with all the trinkets and I think this will be a big hit! And better yet all of the stuff I had to make it was things I already had in my collection. Want to follow along?
Pin Me, Crafter!
I used a piece of cardboard, a handful of drinking straws, some paint, washi tape, craft glue, and a sharp cutter, scissors, and a ruler. Only thing I was lacking was the marbles to go into the maze. Naturally I had to look for a substitute – so I went through my bead collection and got two of the larger round ones which worked perfectly.
Find everything above I mentioned…If you can locate the lid off a shoe box (preferably a larger one) that will work great. Unfortunately I didn’t have one that was big enough, or wide enough, for this, so I went through my cardboard collection and found a piece that was large enough to be shaped .
To create the maze lengths, you can use colorful drinking straws, or strips of cardboard that are left over from cutting if you want to be extra resourceful, balsa wood (which has a nice softness to it making it easy to cut) or popsicle sticks.
Getting to Work…
OK, here goes….I measured the piece of cardboard at about a foot in length, and 8.5 in width. Something like that is good, because it will be big enough to make the marble in the maze game more fun. Once I determined the measurements I wanted, in addition, I marked off around the perimeter about 0.75 -1″ around, this would mark the sides.
I also painted the inside a nice color. You can do that too, or leave it alone if you prefer, but I just like to give it a good color.
After the paint dried, the next day, I then went back to the measurements and using an x-acto knife cut around the sides perimeter, made creases, and folded the sides up. I also cut out a notch at the corners, as they add too much bulk. I then used a long length of patterned washi tape to go around, it sealed the sides, as well as looks nice too.
You can also use some nicely designed duct tape to do this part.
Constructing the Maze
Now it is time to think about designing the maze. I did a drawing to go by which I used as a reference. The straws I had were those “flex neck” type- I cut that part off and the straws into varying lengths. This part took a little strategizing -Which is where my drawing came in….I cut some of the straws longer than others. The trick is to form the maze with varying angles so it looks interesting, and challenging too.
I used a handful of straw lengths about 4-5″ in length and I ended up with little straw pieces, which I used for corners and sides of maze lengths. Not too hard as it’s all linear looking. Use a hot glue gun or strong craft glue (I used Aleene’s Clear Tacky) to attach the straw pieces and joints.
Here are the first straw pieces in place. The question was did I have “enough” shapes or enough space filled in, for the marbles to go around? I ended up pieceing in a few more little straw ends at various places.
Here is my finished maze…notice how I’ve got “L” and “U” shapes to add interest as well as “tunnels”? After it dried, I got the beads and did a trial run to see if they would all go around the maze parts easily. They did.
Well, I’m pleased! I think my brother will like this, too. Now I am in a bit of a quandary -as you know, we are living in this unprecedented pandemic time and since he lives in a group home, I have to be mindful of restrictions on visitation and all that, yes even during holidays.
I’m sure I will be allowed to visit, but with the quarantine and the kibosh it has put on our usual coming-and-going, he and his housemates, I’m sure, would enjoy having some activities to keep them busy and preoccupied, yes? (I’m sure you can probably relate…everyone’s being affected by this one way or another.)
Wherever you are, stay safe, take good care of yourself, and Happy Holidays from all of us at Create With Jennifer!!