How to play marbles and make your own « Claude Moore Colonial Farm

How to play marbles and make your own

 Marbles date back to Roman times. In colonial times they were small round balls made of baked or glazed clay, stone, glass or even nut shells. The object of marble games is to roll, throw, drop, or knuckle marbles against an opponent’s marbles, often to knock them out of a prescribed area and so win them. (Knuckling is the act of placing a marble on the forefinger, balancing that finger or the bottom of the hand against the ground, and shooting the marble outward with the thumb.)

One common game is called taw, ringtaw or ringer. The principle of the game is that a marble called a shooter or taw is launched by your thumb at smaller marbles in a circle marked on the ground.

Sometimes the marbles are arranged in a ring. The shooter wins those marbles that are driven outside of the circle. The circle can be as much as 6 to 10 feet in diameter. Another form of play is when players shoot or roll marbles from a good distance away from the circle. The target is a valuable marble in the middle of the circle that the players try to bump. All marbles that fail to hit the target are taken by the owner of the target marble in the middle of the circle. The game continues until either the marbles of the challengers are exhausted or a challenger’s marble hits the target. When this hit is made. the challenger wins the target marble and may set it up for others to shoot at.


Make marbles of Mexican air-drying red clay.
Give each child 3 to 4 oz of clay.
Break off a piece of clay as big as the thumbnail.
Roll it into a ball, and let it dry overnight on a piece of paper.

Get instructions for making a bag for your marbles.

Moon Guidebooks Top 10 DC

Moon Guidebooks:

Rates Claude Moore Colonial Farm One of the

This spring break, Patricia Nevins Kime—respected journalist and author of the first edition of Moon Washington DC—offers her selections for ten can’t-miss activities, perfect for kids and their chaperones.

"7. Claude Moore Colonial Farm: Something’s always being grown, harvested, dyed, dried, or crafted at Claude Moore Colonial Farm in McLean, Virginia, a rendition of a modest circa-1771 frontier farm."