Remember marbles? Test your skills with the grandkids

Do you remember this at your school, kids playing marbles at recess time the Caulfield Church of England Grammar School, Australia. Image: National Archives of Australia.

It’s not often you were encouraged to throw glass around when you are a kid, unless it was a round spherical piece, that is.

Yes, that classic children’s game, marbles, had kids kneeling down all over the playground before and after school, throwing the collectable glass balls into the ring.

A common version of the game is to draw a circle around 90 centimetres wide on the ground. You can use a stick to draw in the dirt (as was common back then) but you can also use chalk or mark out the area with a piece of string. 

Playing marbles
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Schoolboys from Fairbridge, Australia, playing a game of marbles in 1958.
Image: National Archives of Australia.

Each competitor places one or two marbles in the ring. Choose your shooter – your biggest marble. When it’s your turn, the aim is to use your shooter to knock out the other marbles. The game ends when all the marbles are out of the ring. The winner is the one with the most marbles at the end. If you are playing for ‘keepsies’ any you get out become yours. (It was the quickest way to lose your marbles, that’s for sure!)

Do you remember some of these classic types of marbles: Semi-bowlers, cat’s eyes, steeley, alley, tiger and Tom Bowler? 

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Why not test your skills against your grandkids next time they comes to visit!

Do you remember how you played marbles?