Marble Pop- A Fine Motor Activity for Toddlers

marble pop

I’m always looking for ideas for toddlers~ especially ones that help toddlers practice fine motor skills. So I created this fine motor activity, Marble Pop, for Theo to play.

It’s a very simple thing to make. All you need is an empty canister (from coffee or oatmeal) and some marbles. You simply cut a hole in the lid for your child to ‘pop’ the marbles through. Super easy!

Here’s how I made it: I took the lid off of the canister and cut an ‘x’ in the top. Then I trimmed off the sharp points formed from the cuts so we wouldn’t get poked fingers while playing.

Cut slits in the lid

Cut slits in the lid

The points to trim off

The points to trim off

The finished hole to 'pop' the marble through

The finished hole to ‘pop’ the marble through

It’s definitely not necessary to decorate the canister, but if you have time, why not make a simple art project out of it?  I found an old paper bag from our recycle bin and cut out a rectangle from it.  Then we stamped some stars with sponges and paint onto our paper. Once it dried, I taped it around the canister and trimmed off any extra paper that was hanging over the edge.


After I had taped on the paper and put the lid on the canister, the game was ready.  I sat down with Theo and placed the canister in front of him with some marbles. (Remember: Marbles are small and can be choking hazards. Never leave your baby or toddler unattended with them! Although Theo is getting older, he still likes to put things in his mouth.)

I showed Theo how to ‘pop’ the marble through the hole by pushing it. After a few practice tries with me, he got the hang of it. He had so much fun doing this over and over and over and over!! We also practiced taking the lid off and dumping the marbles out to do the activity again.

playing marble pop

Eventually, he began to discover other things to do with the canister once it had marbles inside. Shaking it is tons of fun! It’s like your own homemade instrument! We sang songs and did lots of shaking!


Theo also discovered it was fun to roll (and kick) the canister on its side on a hard floor. The weight of the marbles inside caused it to roll very differently than we expected.


Who knew one game of Marble Pop could turn into so much fun? Sometimes if you just sit back and watch your children play and explore, they come up with ideas you didn’t even think of!



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  1. That looks like a fun activity to do!
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  2. I did something similar for my daughter a few months back, but used coloured popsicle sticks from the dollar store instead of marbles that she might swallow or leave on the floor for us to step on ;-)

    • I bet the popsicle sticks were fun! I especially love how they were colored! The marbles are fun too~ make a fun ‘pop’ as they go through the hole. But, you are right, keep an eye on the little ones at ALL times!

      • Ah yes – the “pop” LOL For that wonderfully loud noise, I got a bunch of coloured plastic clothes pins from the dollar store. They’re great for the dual use of colour recognition/matching games and Oh BOY! They are also sooooo much fun to step on :-P LOL

        • Another great idea, Rosa! Love it! Today I just stepped on the infamous lego~ ouch!

          • LOL Yeeeeesssss – Today was “Mine Field” day here, too. I got a lovely combo of clothes pins, Mega Blocks and Muppet Babies which inspired some fancy footwork that would have won me first place in a dance video game :-p

  3. I love the marble pop idea! My almost 2 year old would love that. Thanks so much for sharing. I’ve pinned the idea so I don’t forget. :)
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  4. What a great idea!! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!!
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  5. I’ve already pinned this, and I’m excited to try it out with the little ones I’m watching this summer. :) Thanks for sharing at Stress-Free Sunday — I’m featuring you this weekend!
    Mary Catherine recently posted…35 Fun, Simple Kids’ Activities {Stress-Free Sunday #16}My Profile

  6. aren,t you worried they might put the marbles in their mouths?

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