I found this project on the Bloesem Kids blog and it’s a wonderful way to recycle old CD jewel cases.
Before class I emptied out some old cases from boxes of CDs I had stored in the attic. I had to reject a few that had parental advisory stickers attached (doesn’t Prince’s Purple Rain seem kind of quaint these days?), as well as a few that were cracked. The Bloesem blog advises using Fimo dough to create small balls to navigate the maze but I used ball bearings instead. Luckily our local hardware store has a drawer with loose steel ball bearings for $.20 each. A diameter of 5/16″ was perfect; bigger than that and the ball would get stuck in the case, smaller and it would jump the sides of the maze.
In class I handed out Wikki Stix, which are short strings coated in a sticky wax. I first had the kids use one string to close off the left side of the case, near the hinge. Without this first string the ball would just fall out of the left edge since the gray CD holder had been removed. The lid of the jewel case has a little ridge on this edge so the Wikki Stick forms a perfect seal. Each child got a set of strings and scissors and proceeded to form their mazes.
They learned how to make wide and narrow channels, loops and dead ends. I cut construction paper the size of the case and used double sided tape to secure it to the outside bottom of the case. Everyone got a ball bearing and we taped the case shut so the ball wouldn’t fall out. The insides were a little sticky and the ball didn’t roll all that smoothly, but it still made a fun little toy and they look great.