Sunday, June 19, 2011

Homemade Marbles


I didn't forget about Folk Toy Fridays, this week, I just delayed it, so I could make some marbles with the children, as a way of sharing a story with them about my father, on Father's Day.

He died when I was nine, so I don't have a lot of stories to share, but I do know he loved to whistle, loved to fish, and when he was a child, he loved to play marbles.

Apparently, he was pretty good at the game, too. According to my aunt, he used to skip class, so he could stay out for recess, to play marbles with the older boys.

My grandparents didn't approve of the truancy, and they didn't approve of gambling. So, when they found out he was playing keepsies, they insisted he return the marbles he had won.

Rather than suffer the embarrassment of having to return his winnings to the older boys, he buried them in the flower beds around his house.

I'm not sure how accurate the story is, but I do know, my mother, who bought the house in later years, has a jar full of marbles, that surfaced one by one, over the years, around her flowers.

Someday, she plans to dole them out to the grandchildren. In the meantime, we made a set of our own, to play with now.

Being a child of the '30s, my father played with the traditional glass marbles, you can buy today. But, long before 19th century, German glass makers invented marble scissors, for molding glass into balls (there's a Dirty Jobs episode about the process, you can view here, on the Discovery Channel), marbles were made of many different things, including clay.

In fact, you can make pretty nice marbles for yourself out of baked polymer clay. Unfortunately, all but a tiny bit of our polymer clay decided to be non-cooperative...


...so we had to use play dough instead...


...which of course cracked when we baked it (I put them in the oven at the lowest setting for a couple of hours until they were dry). The few polymer clay marbles we managed to make, turned out nicely, though.


The children had a great time mixing the play dough colors, and seeing how they swirled, and blended together, as they rolled them into balls. It was really a lot of fun. And, it made for a great backdrop for the story I wanted to share with them, about my father.

Today, we gathered up our marbles, cracks and all, and enjoyed a few rousing rounds of Ringer.


It's great to be a homeschooler.

10 comments:

Genesa said...

Great story about your dad! Looks like a lot of fun.

Christy said...

What a neat story to share with your children. Your mother must treasure those marbles that turned up!

Phyllis said...

I love your father's day story. We love making our own marbles, too. We have even made glow-in-the-dark ones out of GID Sculpy. I guess they are for all of those middle of the night marbles games. LOL

Lisa said...

That story is just precious. What a neat way to share family memories and history while learning about the process of making marbles. I truly feel touched to have read this today.

Liam said...

That's such a cool activity and I love the idea of folk toy friday! Will be back again!

Ticia said...

What a wonderful story, and a great activity.

I'm having so much fun seeing what you come up with for these ideas.

Wonder Mom said...

Love the story, love the picture, love the activity- now I need to go look through my pictures and get a "warm-fuzzy" feeling...

Jackie H. said...

What a sweet story. Sounds like Grandpa would have been a model homeschooler-- off learning math while he played marbles. ;) My son plays "marbles" with my dad every Thursday when we go for lunch. they get out an old chinese checkers set that was my grandpas and they count all the marbles! I guess guys love their marbles! we'll have to try out your idea.

Valerie @ Frugal Family Fun Blog said...

Oh, that looks like fun -- and I LOVED the story about your father! I'm so happy you shared this!!

Anonymous said...

I was looking for crafts to use in teaching arts/crafts to my after-school kids, and came upon several of your entries. I love your creativity and fun! I would love to be able to keep up with you by e-mail, if I could. You are most welcome to visit my site on Pinterest: Susi's Craft Ideas
My e-mail is: susidlynch@yahoo.com

I homeschooled both my girls all the way through highschool, and loved it. Thank you for sharing.