Thursday, July 7, 2016

Marbles History, Fun and Brain Development

Marbles are a great old-fashioned game that is rarely seen these days. With the tug and pull and advertising push of the concentrated use of media devices, marbles has been forgotten.

Enjoyed for thousands of years, marbles began as a simple game of small stones and pebbles.

These marble scissors were invented in 1846 Germany, actually for the purpose of making eyes for dolls. However by 1850 the scissors were used to craft marbles, painstakingly, one by one. A handmade glass marble is recognizable by a little rough spot where it was snipped off the main piece of glass. Because hand made marbles were so labor intensive, few were made (in comparison to manufactured ones later in time), driving up the cost.  

In 1884 marbles became the first mass-produced toy. The cost of store bought marbles suddenly dropped so that many a child could use their few pieces of coins to buy their own toys.


I'm always glad when my kids choose something like marbles to hang out with, like the 4th of July. A bit of time with media devices is fine, but in our society of sky rocketing developmental  and learning delays  more time with hands-on activities can turn the tide.


My kids have come a long way from the days of needing intervention for Sensory Integration and Vision Therapy and Spatial Reasoning. However any time spent with higher-level thinking and interactive activities like marbles scores more points for neuron growth in the brain.

Sensory Integration
Proprioceptive for the fingers, hands and arms while shooting at the marbles. And for the wrists/shoulders and legs/hips while moving around the floor to manipulate the marbles.

Vision Therapy
Great for eye tracking training.

Spatial Reasoning
Great for aiming marbles at hoped for targets!

In our society kids are usually taught that everyone is a winner. Well, that isn't exactly true. I think it is a disservice to never have kids work to achieve better skills. So much is to be learned from both winning *and* losing. For one, one learns that winning isn't given. It's earned. And that holds greater value. (Watch a great movie with this theme: McClintock starring John Wayne and Maureen O'Hara)

My son was always the quicker one in picking up needed skills. However his sister has taken a bit longer to make gains. This taught my son to be patient, especially since it is so much easier for him to beat her in games.    Thus he has also learned great sportsmanship and teaching skills as he guides her in tips and tricks of the trade.

For my daughter, she has learned patience in learning, patience in working with others who are not as quick as she is, good sportsmanship when she doesn't win, but also good sportsmanship when learning to win gracefully!

1 comment:

  1. Marbles are such a marvelous (marble-ous? :D) toy. Both Tony and I grew up with them, though, interestingly, we played rather different games in our respective countries (Canada and Italy). Mostly, for me personally, I just enjoyed collecting them and admiring their beauty when I was little. Who knows, maybe I'll (or we'll) get into them again some day as an adult, too.

    Many hugs & happy mid-July wishes,
    ♥ Jessica