Tips & Toys | Fun with Marbles











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Copy the pattern:

  1. Work out some simple patterns with the marbles. Copy the patterns onto pieces of cardboard. See if your child can copy the marble pattern.

  2. Make this more challenging by adding more marbles.

  3. Improve your child’s memory by flashing the card and then letting your child build the pattern.

  4. Make the pattern three-dimensional – instead of putting the marbles in a row, place them on top of each other as well as next to each other.

Marble bowls:

  1. Cut arches out of the bottom of an old shoebox for the marbles to roll into. Above each arch mark the score. Mark a spot on the floor for the players to roll from. Take turns rolling marbles towards the box. If a marble goes through an arch, the player earns that number of points.
  2. Make the arches different sizes, number the arches 1-5 from the largest arch to the smallest. Your child has to roll the marble through the first arch before he can proceed to the next one.
  3. Above each arch write a different number, letter or shape. Ask your child to roll it through a specific arch. o Make this more difficult by asking your child to roll the marble through the arch to the left of the square etc.

Marble paintings:

  1. Put a piece of paper into an empty cereal box (cut the top of the cereal box so that you have a tray). Put a few marbles into different coloured paint and use a teaspoon to lift out one marble at a time and put it in the box on top of the paper. Show your child how to lift the box to roll the paint-covered marble all around the box until all the paint has come off and made marble tracks all over the paper.
  2. Try to manipulate the box to make different shapes and patterns: e.g. square, circle, figure of eight, triangle etc.

Marble tossing:

  1. Place a muffin tin at an angle (rest it against a wall or some books) with numbered pieces of paper in each hole. Mark a spot for the players to throw from and take turns trying to toss a marble into one of the holes in the muffin tin. Marbles that land in a hole score that number of points. Players must add up their own scores and keep a running total. The first player to reach a designated score is the winner. Mark out the board as shown below then give each player nine marbles of the same color. The youngest player begins and players take it in turns to put their marbles on the board one at a time. They must be placed on one of the 24 circles forming the corners and line intersections on the board. The players try to get three of their marbles in a line while stopping their opponents from doing the same thing




Play naughts and crosses with the marbles.


Basic marbles:

  1. Draw a circle on the sidewalk with chalk. It should be about 30-45cm wide. Each player put the same number of marbles in the circle, saving a shooter marble. When it is your turn, use your shooter marble to try to knock the marbles out of the circle – you have to shoot from outside the circle. Continue to shoot until you don’t knock any marbles out of the circle. Leave your shooter marble where it is, unless it rolled outside the circle. After all the marbles have been knocked out of the circle, the player with the most marbles wins.


Bull’s eye:

  1. Draw a 15cm circle on the sidewalk with chalk.
  2. Put one marble for each player in the center of the circle.
  3. Take turns standing over the circle and dropping a marble into it. You must drop the marble from eye level.
  4. If your marble knocks any others out of the ring, you get to keep them. After each turn, leave your marble where it is. Use a new marble for every turn.
  5. When all the marbles have been knocked out of the circle, count how many you have. The player with the most marbles wins.


Double ring:

  1. Draw a 30-45cm circle on the sidewalk with chalk.
  2. Draw another smaller circle inside that circle. The smaller circle should be about 15cm across.
  3. Place the marbles in the inner circle. Take turns shooting your shooting marble from the outer circle. You must knock the marbles out of both circles and your shooter marble must be in the outer circle at the end of your turn. Keep the marbles you successfully knock out. If your shooter marble ends up in the inner circle, put all the marbles you just knocked out of the circle back.
  4. The player with the most marbles at the end of the game wins.


Pyramid marbles:

  1. Draw a small circle, about 15cm across, on the sidewalk with chalk.
  2. The first player builds a pyramid of marbles in the middle of the circle by placing three marbles nest to each other in a shape and balancing a fourth one on top.
  3. The next player shoots his/her shooter marble at the base of the pyramid. You get to keep any marbles that you shoot out of the circle.
  4. After your turn is over, set up the pyramid for the next player.
  5. The player with the most marbles wins.


Shooting gallery:

  1. Draw a line on the sidewalk with your chalk.
  2. The first player shoots one marble over the line.
  3. The next player tries to hit that marble. If you hit it, you get to keep it. If you don’t, your marble stays where it is and the next player can shoot at either one of them.
  4. The player with the most marbles wins. Place a plastic cup on a table/on the floor. Place a marble in a teaspoon with the handle facing the cup. Try to catapult your marble into the cup by hitting down on the handle of the spoon.