There are literally hundreds of things to do with marbles, and here are just a few of my favourite:

Playing Marbles!

Seems rather obvious, but the game of marbles will keep children of all ages engaged for hours. I recently taught my charges of 4 and 3 years how to play, and they loved it.  The youngest really had a talent for the game. Again there are many different versions of the game, so you can never go wrong.

Painting with Marbles

You will need:

  • Paint
  • Marbles
  • Tray
  • Paper
  1. Place a sheet of paper inside a tray (n.b. if you are using heavier ones, young children mind find them difficult to control).
  2. Either squirt some paint onto the paper and add the marbles OR place the marbles in some paint and then transfer them to the tray.  Both ways work well, but if you squirt the paint in the marbles may get stuck.
  3. Tip the tray back, forth and side to side to make the marbles move across the paper.

Can help develop:

  • Motor skills
  • Creativity

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Make your own marble run

You will need:

  • Kitchen and loo rolls
  • Cardboard
  • Paper plates
  • Plastic glasses
  • Marbles
  • Something sharp to cut with

Using all the objects above you can cut and stick them into your very own marble run.  When my charges had a go at putting one together, they became mini engineers trying to get parts into just the right spot for the marble to complete the run successfully.

Can help develop:

Problem solving – adapts work where necessary
Exploring and using materials -joins and constructs pieces together.

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Target Practice

You will need:

  • A box
  • Sharp knife
  • Marbles
  • Ruler or piece of stiff cardboard
  1. All you need to do is cut various sized holes in the side of your box.
  2. Using either a ruler or a stiff bit of cardboard, try to whack the marbles in to the holes.  We awarded a different number of points to each sized hole.

Can help develop:

Understanding – i.e. that trying to get the marble into one of the holes will earn points

Adding and counting – children can help count a tally of points or help add the points together.

Exploring and using materials – manipulate materials to achieve a planned effect.

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Lego Marble Maze

You will need:

  • A large Lego board
  • Lots of Lego of various sizes
  • A marble

The whole idea of this is to create your own maze using the Lego and then tipping the board to get the marble through the maze (like the mini mazes you get), this can be easily changed to make it an easier one for younger children or harder for those that are slightly older.  You could even create letters or numbers out of the Lego to help promote number and letter recognition. The possibilities for this activity are endless.

Can help develop:

  • Gross and fine motor skills
  • Identifying numbers and letters
  • Manipulates material to a achieve a goal
  • Problem solving

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About The Author

Nanny Anita
Norland Nanny

Nanny Anita is our resident Super Nanny. Having trained at the famous Norland College, in Bath, she has over 12 years experience, working all over the world with children from 2 months to 17 years old. Nanny Anita is an expert when it comes to keeping the little ones entertained and writes a column with Leonora called 'Get Crafty' for Little London magazine. Nanny Anita has been on hand to answer our reader questions, and she provides weekly arts, crafts and activities for families to do with their children at home. She really is a modern day Mary Poppins!

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