SOUTHINGTON, Conn. — Andy Geremia never thought a children’s game he made out of a cereal box, straws and marbles would ever be sold.

He was wrong.

A year-and-a-half ago the Southington resident entered his creation into a contest run by BigLeap.org to encourage low-cost educational games.

The game, called “Maze Racers,” prompted two teams of children to cut up straws and glue them to the inside of a cutout cereal box to create a maze. Then the children would swap mazes and drop in a marble. The team that got their marble to the end first was the winner.

Geremia’s game won first place and a $5,000 prize at the competition in February 2014.

After that, Geremia, a sales engineer by day, used his winnings to start contacting gaming companies about Maze Racers.

“I sent 50 games out around the country,” he said.

Three months later Geremia signed a license agreement with FoxMind Toys & Games.

“We thought it was completely different,” said Phil Hamelin, sales and marketing manager with FoxMind Toys & Games. “Everyone loves to build mazes … we looked at the game and we put in a lot of work to try to smooth the game out.”

Ten thousand games have been manufactured for sale.

The final product includes two square, magnetic boards with handles and magnetic pieces. Both boards are big enough to build a maze but small enough to hold.

Players can set up the foam pieces any way they like. Once one person finishes their maze, they flip a one-minute timer over to hurry along their competitor. The object of the game is to create a maze that will stump your opponent and to get your silver ball to the other side of the maze first.

“On your mark, get set, go,” said Matthew Walling of Southington, shouting to his sister Olivia as they played.

The two of them tilted the boards back and forth and from side to side, manipulating the small ball through the course to try to get to the finish line.

Matthew, a fifth-grader at South End School, and Olivia, an eighth grader at Kennedy Middle School, are Geremia’s neighbors. They recently bought it on Amazon to play.

“He usually wins,” said Olivia, laughing.

“I like interacting games, I like doing that,” Matthew said.

Geremia was happy with how quickly his dream came to fruition. The game went on sale in August at Barnes & Noble.

“I totally lucked out,” he said. “Here we are a year-and-a-half later and it’s on the store shelves.”