Spaghetti Box Kids

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How to Play Marbles: Part 5

January 16th, 2010 · 10 Comments

Marble games are an excellent way to strengthen your child’s ability to focus on a single activity. The games are filled with strategy, easy to play and lots of fun. One of the great benefits of marble games—if you play them regularly–is that they encourage your child to practice by herself. This promotes self-motivated learning and builds your child’s confidence in her own abilities. Here are several games your child can play on her own:
Kids Marble Games

Game One – Walk the Dog

To play this game you need three marbles and an open, carpeted area (a 6′ x 9′ rug works perfectly).

1) Sit on one end of the play area.
2) Directly in front of you, make a triangle with three marbles. Space the marbles approximately six inches apart. (Figure 1)
3) Shoot the marble that is closest to you through the other two. (Figure 2)
4) Now you have a new triangle. Again, shoot the marble that is closest to you through the other two. Marbles for Kids
5) Continue with this procedure.
6) If you are unable to shoot the closest marble through the other two, or if you shoot your marble off the side of the play area, you are disqualified. Start over.
7) The objective is to make it to the opposite end of the play area in as many turns as possible. (The more turns it takes you, the more control you demonstrate.)

(Strategy: Try to keep the triangle small. The bigger it gets, the more difficult it is to complete the next turn.)

Game Two – Count the Clicks

To play this game you need five marbles.

1) Shoot one marble a foot or so away from yourself.
2) Shoot a second marble and try to hit the first marble. If you do, count that as one click.
3) Shoot your third marble. Try to hit or cause the target marbles to collide. Count the clicks and add it to your total.
4) Shoot your fourth marble. Count the clicks and add it to your total.
5) Shoot your fifth marble. Count the clicks and add it to your total.
6) Remember your score. See if you can beat the score in your next game.

(Strategy: Try to shoot softly so the target marbles stay bunched together.)

Marble games offer good old fashioned fun for kids. Wonderfully simple in nature, these games are easily adapted to all skill levels. Best of all, marble activities invite countless variations, so it should come as no surprise when your child announces that she is inventing a new game. (Again!)

Tags: Kids’ Activities

10 responses so far ↓

  • 1 rosebelle // Jan 17, 2010 at 9:29 am

    What a simple and marvelous game to strengthen kids focus! I’m reading this and already thinking where can I buy marbles. My eight year-old is now learning about polygons and the names of different triangles so the first game ties in with what she is learning nicely.

  • 2 Spaghetti Box Kids // Jan 17, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    You can find marbles at any toy store, and sometimes in the toy aisle of a general store. You can also find some unique older marbles from antique stores. Those always get your kids’ attention.

  • 3 Mandy // Jan 19, 2010 at 8:21 pm

    A friend whose a 2nd grade teacher recommended your site to me. Wow- you have so many ideas for a mother who is trying to keep her two children off of tv. I’ve been reading through your marble articles and am inspired to pick up some marbles and introduce these games in our household. Thank you for so many wonderful ideas all in one place!

  • 4 Spaghetti Box Kids // Jan 20, 2010 at 4:50 am

    Thanks for the encouraging comment. Hope the games go well. Don’t forget to hold some of the clear, colorful ones up to the light–they’re a lot of fun to look at. All the Best. -AV

  • 5 Mark Bordsen // Mar 9, 2010 at 6:10 am

    I played a game 50 years ago that consisted of nine closely spaced holes in the ground, 3×3. If anyone played this game, I would appreciate your recall of the distances between the pots, and the distance from the throwing line. Thanks.

  • 6 Spaghetti Box Kids // Mar 9, 2010 at 9:16 pm

    Mark – That one was before my time. I was a marble enthusiast who played at the bus stop before school, at recess, after school, on Saturday afternoons and of course any old time on my living room floor. But I can’t say I remember that game. What is the general idea of the game?

  • 7 Karen // Jun 11, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    My husband is a marble enthusiast and I’d like to order a set from a good site. He played 40 years ago (if that helps) and my question is: what do I buy? How many is good to play with our kids? What kinds? Do certain kinds/colors, etc make a “set”? It’s a surprise, So I’m hoping you can help without me asking him too many questions. THANKS!!

  • 8 Spaghetti Box Kids // Jun 12, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    I would go about it in two ways. I would buy five or six dozen inexpensive common marbles from a web-site or toy store. Then I would buy a dozen or so older marbles from an antique store. The aesthetic appeal of the older marbles makes it well worth the trouble. If you find an antique store you like, then every time a holiday comes around you can add to the collection with a few hand picked marbles. (That’s a nice tradition to start).

    Some people wonder if they should play with the “older” marbles? Absolutely! Those are the ones that get the best nicknames.

    As for types–there’s three main sizes: marbles, boulders and jumbo boulders. Marbles are about as wide as your pinky. Boulders are about as wide as your thumb. Jumbo boulders are about as big as your thumb and forefinger when you curl them together to make a zero.

    There’s also three main types: perry, cats eye and solid. Perries are clear see through glass of any color–kids love holding them up to the light and looking at their insides. Cat-eyes look like their name. Solids come in all colors and designs and are opaque in their finish (no light is reflected through them).

    I wouldn’t worry too much about sets. Most games don’t require sets, and the ones that do–if you have enough variety, you’ll never have a problem. For instance, one player starts with five green marble, the other with five red marbles, etc.

    Best of luck—

  • 9 Karen // Jun 16, 2010 at 10:31 pm

    Thank you, thank you! All great ideas and I think he’ll be thrilled. Happy Father’s Day!

  • 10 Spaghetti Box Kids // Jun 18, 2010 at 1:34 am

    Sure thing. All the Best -AV

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