A bag of old-fashioned marbles can give children an early glimpse into the wonders of maths and physics, with their geometric patterns and varying sizes and speeds. Their unpredictable movements over uneven surfaces can inspire new games (try rolling them through the bobbles on a manhole cover), then there’s all the counting, sorting and opportunities for trade they provide. The important skill of gamesmanship (taking turns, being patient, and a gracious loser) can also flourish in a game of marbles, and they are a great way  to build fine and gross motor skills and hand-eye co-ordination, from knuckling and flicking to putting every last one back in the bag.

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