A marble game is inexpensive, easy to set up and a wonderful game to apply character traits. After studying the Charlotte Mason homeschooling method, I was hooked! She believed that~
“We begin the definite ‘school’ education of children when they are six; they are no doubt capable of beginning a year or two earlier but the fact is that nature and circumstances have provided such a wide field of education for young children that it seems better to abstain from requiring direct intellectual efforts until they have arrived at that age.” A Philosophy of Education by Charlotte M. Mason, volume 6, page 159.
And more important ~“Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6
So with the wisdom gained from experience(Charlotte Mason) and God’s Word, we are working on forming habits and building good characters in our children.
Back to the marble game…as our family takes turns trying to get our marble into the circle, and hit an opposing marble out of the circle, we are enforcing good sportsmanship (from the one whose marble just got knocked out), and humbleness (from the one whooping and hollering that they both got their marble in, and simultaneously knocked another players marble out of the circle).
Encouragement is given to the one who just missed the shot or is the one grabbing their knocked out marble, that was unfortunately the next to last marble in their pile before winning the game! When your shooter marble just barely squeaks the marble your shooting at and it doesn’t move but a millimeter (bummer), this is where honesty comes in. You could potentially get away with another shot, but those are the rules, and it is better to be honest than to be winning.
As part of the rules of our “simple” marble game, we have the children gather up the shooter and any stray marbles for the player across from himself, this encourages helpfulness. All great character building training opportunities, not to mention other essentials, like turn taking and counting! Amazingly all out of a simple marble game. I suppose this is what Charlotte Mason was talking about when she said they learn from their circumstances!