I read somewhere that modeling clay has been recognized as the best development toy ever. My daughter Paula and I quite agree, but only if we think of marble as an exception.
It just so happened that there were marbles in our house being used as elements of decoration. I decided to take these beautiful, multicolored glass balls to play with Paula, who was two years old at the time. I was a little apprehensive about letting her play with small round objects and watched Paula carefully. The first time we played with the marbles for more than an hour!
Four years have passed since that day, but marbles still remain our favorite toy of all. Nowadays, they are widely used to decorate doll houses and create hand crafts, but they helped us most of all as a development-boosting material.
There are millions of marble games and here are some popular ideas:
- Sorting: You can sort them according to color, size, shape, and opacity. If your child is grown up enough not to take the little stones into his/her mouth, I’d say you’ve got about 30 minutes of free time while your child is engrossed in this exciting development game. Mix the glass pieces, make a sorting rule, put down a few bowls, and simply enjoy your time
- Counting: Marbles are a fantastic source for simple math equations. “Now count off 5 blue and 3 green ones” – and the multi-task is ready! The little stones are ideally suitable for comparison of smaller, bigger, or equal sizes as well.
- Logic: Patterns can easily be made with the use of marbles. Make a logical pattern and ask your child to repeat it. Also, you can create a faulty pattern and ask your child to find the mistake.
- Mosaic: This is an excellent opportunity to create centric mosaics, when the decoration elements are stretched in the radial directions.
- Creativity: This is just so simple and so genius, because marbles are very easy to fantasize with and create incredibly colorful and beautiful pictures.
- Bathing: Marbles can be scattered on the bottom of the bath tub or put in the bottom of a transparent container with water. Believe me, there is something magical about the combination of water and glass. I couldn’t tear Paula away from it.
- Color impression and color therapy. You can stack the glass ovals and watch the color transformation or you can search for new color combinations. You may use a little influence and suggest games with marbles of a certain color.
- The marbles can be painted with a gouache or acrylic paint. The transparent marbles have an even surface where you can do the painting.
Here are some tips on buying and starting marble games:
- you can buy marbles in home depot stores, decoration and design stores, or craft and holiday stores
- there are some ready to use sets of marbles, although you can buy relatively inexpensive, one-color marbles
- buy the opaque and transparent marbles as well
- buy the even sided marbles – the round balls do not stay still and roll around; but you can use them as an addition
- also find a marble set with a different size and shape of marbles in it
- wash the new marbles with shampoo and dry them with a towel – and the toy is ready
- for the first time, play together with your child. Show him/her what you can do with the game and suggest your child make up some new games
- find a beautiful container for storage and put your treasure there after the play unless your child wants to show the picture to his/her daddy or granny as we did so many times before!
- furthermore, you can extend your collection by adding different colors and shapes. For elder children, you can buy some little pieces of glass for mosaics in the art shop. They are also fun.
- You know your child, but even though you trust him/her completely, make sure he/she understands that marbles are not edible, not tasty, and can’t be put into the mouth.
- Even if your child is over 3 years old, play together with him/her a few times to ensure the safety of the game.
- Do not leave the sets in an open place if you have smaller children at home.
Olga Dynyak, the founder of IQsha