Mancala Game

African Mancala Game made from recycled egg cartons

This game is also known as the “count and capture” game. A Mancala game encourages kids to conduct thought experiments, counting tokens and comparing tactics in their heads before they move a game piece.


Cardboard egg carton (dozen size)
Craft paints
48 Marbles, tiny rocks, beads, beans, seeds etc.


At the beginning of the game, you and your opponent sit on opposite sides with your egg carton game between you.

The row in front of you is your row.

The extra cardboard section attached to the carton to your right is your storage pit.

Four pieces are placed in each of the 12 spaces where eggs normally sit.

The first player takes all the seeds (pieces) from one of his houses. He sows the seeds, moving counter-clockwise. If he gets as far as his own storage pit, he drops a seed there, too. If the last seed in his hand goes in his storage pit, he gets another turn. Otherwise, his turn ends.

The second player repeats the “”sowing” maneuver described in #1.

Players don’t drop pieces in each other’s storage pits.

If, during a turn, a player’s last seed lands in one of his empty spots, and there are pieces in the spot immediately opposite it, the player gets to capture both his last seed and the seeds opposite.

Winning the game: The game ends when one player runs out of pieces on his side of the egg carton. When the game ends, the other player gets to take all his stones from his side of the egg carton and place in his own Mancala.

Strategy sets in by determining whether it is wiser to go out, or play longer, depending on how many stones are in the opposing players cups.

You might enjoy reading these books to find out more about African culture:

Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story by Angela Shelf Medearis and Daniel Minter.

Li’l Rabbit’s Kwanzaa by Donna L. Washington and Shane W. Evans

Together for Kwanzaa by Juwanda G. Ford and Shelly Hehenberger




Free Kids Crafts Team
These projects are created by Terri, Betty, Jamie or one of the talented staff members at They have been created exclusively for publication on with supplies you’ll be able to find around your house.


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