The other day, I was out in the driveway playing with my son, Dylan. While we were out there, he found a marble buried in the dirt. It is not uncommon for us to find bits and pieces of things buried here and there in our yard, as the folks who had our house before us were in the habit of burying rubbish out there. Dylan was excited about this “tiny ball” that he had found and he set about throwing it all over the place and losing it numerous times.
As Dylan played with the marble, I realized that although I knew what marbles were, I had never actually played a game of marbles. My mind started to wander, as it sometimes does, and I began to wonder if anyone plays marbles any more. I do not think that many people do. I think that it would be fun to learn how to play marbles, and I think that Dylan would enjoy it too.
So, who is going to show us how to play marbles? I think that my mother and father probably played marbles when they were little. In the United States, marbles reached the pinnacle of their popularity during the 1930’s and 1940’s but they were still very popular in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Hopefully they can teach us how to play.
Traditional games like marbles can be a fun way for even the youngest family members to learn a little about their ancestors. What kinds of games did your ancestors play? Look to information and pictures describing the lives of people who lived during the time of the ancestors that you have been researching. If the materials to play the games are still available, why not play some of them with your children. Genealogy is about so much more than names and dates. Playing the games that your ancestors played can help to put family history into a context that children can readily understand, and that they are likely to be interested in.
Photo by xandert on morguefile.com.