Explorations with marbles. An invitation to play

Mar 20, 2012


This free marble play involved many elements of learning from fine motor skills, learning about the properties of gravity, eye tracking, counting, construction, size, object permanence, problem solving, thinking and more. Phew, that's a lot of learning from some simple play!


Ages: 2/3+
(supervision needed for younger children)


Below are the materials I used to set up this Invitation to Play with Marbles.
You don't have to have all these items. You'll be surprised what you can use from around your own house especially from Recycled materials

learning about marbles, activities for kids, free play with marbles, marble run
 I include a variety of different sized, coloured, textured and patterned marbles


marbles for kids
 The invitation to play. Set up while she's at kinder and waiting for her when she returns


 2 "ramps" at different angles. Which would the marbles travel faster down? I used Duplo boards so that one side could be smooth and one have bumps to see the difference


 A purpose bought marble run. Fabulous for construction, problem solving, cognitive development, fine motor skills etc.


 A borrowed ball run. Great for eye tracking and experimenting with different sizes of marbles to see if they make a difference in the speed at which the marbles travel


 Just handling marbles is fun and exciting for kids. The smooth textures and varying patterns etc excite various senses


 Oh dear, this marble is too big for the marble run! Problem solving


 Using pincer grip to find and grab a small enough marble to fit in the marble run


 Sorting, arranging and counting marbles in a recycled piece of packing foam


 Arranging the marbles in rows in a different piece of foam


 Wheeeeee, bump, bump, bump...! The marble goes down the bumpy ramp


 Let's have a race!


 Whooosh. The marble flies out the bottom of the cardboard tube very quickly




Handy Tips:

- Always supervise young children when using marbles

- To simplify, allow your child to experiment with just one or two other materials with the marbles. Focus on one learning area such as eye tracking or sorting marbles

- To extend this activity, set your child a challenge, eg. How many different ways can you get the marble from one end of the mat to the other without touching it? OR, help them make and test a hypothesis, eg. The bigger the marble the faster they go down the ramp.

- Repeat the activity as many times as you like using different materials for them to experiment with the marbles

- Talk with your child about what they are doing. This will help them understand the physical and mental processes they are going through as well as giving them the vocabulary to describe it.

- Listen to your child talk as they go through their experiences. This will help you determine where they are at with their learning, knowledge and understanding and help you to develop the activity (or future activities) to their level and interests.




More Invitations to Play








Happy playing,
Debs :)



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