Traditional Children’s Games – Games of Marbles

Marbles is a traditional popular game that is popular all over the world.

In games of marbles, players shoot their marbles—small, colored glass balls—at their opponents’ marbles.

If they hit the other marbles, they win them.

Traditionally, games of marbles have been played in countries all over the world, including Turkey, Cyprus, and Indonesia.

Marbles (A Turkish Game)

Hakan Tuncer from Turkey


I think it was my first competition when I was 6 years old. Having lots of marbles was a sign of power. Even if we did not have enough money, we tried to save our money to buy more marbles. We had different colorful marbles, and some of them were our favorite marbles.

Actually, I do not remember how it began that we used to play this game when we were in primary school, but we played the game differently, depending on who played with whom. I imagine different cultures and different countries have different rules for playing.

How We Played the Game

Before beginning the game, we drew a triangle. The size depended on the number of marbles we had. After putting all our marbles into the triangle, we shot our favorite marble at the others so that we could win some marbles by throwing the others out of the triangle. The game continued until all the marbles were gone.

Why We Played the Game

I think the important thing was to have as many marbles as we could. There was quite a competition to win the most marbles, so we practiced in our free time. The one who won the most marbles was the leader of the group, and everyone tried to be the leader. Now I realize that this small competition was our first experience with power and leadership.

Late in the afternoon when the sun was down and the climate was not too hot, every kid in my neighborhood was playing a game. One of the best games we used to play was marbles. As I remember, we had a lot of fun playing that game.

Peirilia (Cyprus)

Yiannis Tziortzis from Cyprus


Bit by bit from the deepest part of my memory, I can see myself at the end of a tunnel as a child. Sometimes when I’m alone and trying to relax, I remember things I did when I was a child.

As a kid, I used to play a lot of games with my friends, especially in the summer when the weather was good and we had a lot of time because we didn’t have school. Late in the afternoon when the sun was down and the climate was not too hot, every kid in my neighborhood was playing a game. One of the best games we used to play was marbles. As I remember, we had a lot of fun playing that game.

Every player had to bring 6 marbles. Then we drew a triangle in the middle of the yard. We put the marbles in the middle of the triangle with 2 centimeters in space between each one. Then we counted to feet and made a line. The game started.

How we Played the Game

Now you are going to ask me how we played the game. First of all, you had to go back to the triangle and throw one of your marbles. You took one from the triangle. You had to throw it as near the line as you could. The player whose marble was nearest to the line played first.

When you all finished throwing, the player who had his marble nearest to the line started first. His goal was to throw his marble and kick some other marbles out of the triangle.

The winner of the game was the player who took all the marbles from the other players. I would like to play that game again. I would like to feel like a kid again, but I think I can’t.

Kelereng (A Game of Marbles in Indonesia)

Hasanuddin Rachman from Indonesia


Kelereng, an Indonesian game of marbles, is a children’s game for two players or more. The main equipment is a set of marbles–small, round balls made of solid stuff, usually transparent and of different colors.

How the Game is Played

One set of marbles is placed at the center of an approximately 10- by 15 square foot ground or floor arena, in the form of a triangle or square.

The number of marbles may vary from 2 to 8 or even more, depending on the number of players and agreement among them. Each game may last from 20 to 30 minutes.

Each player has his or her own shooter marble to shoot the set. Shooting is done by placing the shooter marble between the index finger and the thumb and moving the thumb outward to shove the shooter marble in order to hit the marbles in the set.

Player number one starts the game by shooting at the set and goes on playing until he/she misses hitting any of the marbles from the set. Then, it is the other player’s turn to shoot the set.

Each player temporarily keeps any marbles that he/she can hit and move out of the triangle or square.

In the final session, the game is scary. All the players take turns beating each other. If a player’s shooter marble gets hit, he/she loses and must give his/her temporary wins to the one who hits him/her. At the end of the game, the winner takes all.

Take a look at these traditional children’s games like jump rope games.

More traditional children’s games:
  1. Jump Rope
  2. Hopscotch
  3. Tag and Chase
  4. Circle Games
  5. Games with Balls
  6. Tops
  7. Games with Sticks and Stones
  8. Games for Toddlers
  9. Shuttlecock Games
  10. Games with Paper and Cards
  11. Games of Consequence