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Mancala Math Game

Mancala Math Game
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Creating fun math activities seems to be our motto for this week. With the ABC’s  of Math that took off today, you can see what you can do with egg cartons and much more. Click here to take a look at our series.
I used an egg carton for his game loosely adapted on the Mancala game. This game has been played for ages in India, parts of Africa and South east Asia. The manipulatives/counter used for this range from shells to pebbles and stones. To learn more about this amazing, age-old math game please visit here.

The rules differ according to the region. I have 2 sample videos here: The African version and the Indian version. I suggest you take a look at them if you are totally unfamiliar with the game.

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I came up with a very simple game using egg cartons and gem stones. Use as many or as few gems and egg carton slots you see fit with your kid’s age and interest.

I’ll show an example with a small egg carton with 6 slots. Have 2 small containers for each player to store the “captured” gems.

Step 1: I had Big A (pre schooler) to add 3 gem stones in each slot. Great for counting

Step 2:  I scooped up all the gems from a slot on my side and started dropping one gem in each slot in a counter-clockwise direction.

Step 3: Each time I added a gem, I ask “How many in this slot now?” : Great for addition.

Step 4: I go on until I run of gems and scoop another set of gems from the slot I stopped at.

Step 5: By now, Big A has to remember the number of gems in at least 4 slots.

Step 6 : Continue the same method and once I hit the slot which had 4 gems, I add 1 more and ask her ” How many gems in this slot”

If she answers without counting and just by adding ( It had 4 gems already add 1 and now it has 5) she gets to “capture” all the coins. Once she captures, it is her turn to do the same for me.

Here are some pictures for easy reference


math games       math games for kids1


math games for kids2     math addition games

Once both the players get a turn, we run out of gems and we start the game all over again. Each time you can vary the number of gems in each slot, increase the carton slots etc.

As you can see, it is both a memory game and an addition game. We kept it as simple as possible with very few gems and few egg carton slots. Once the kids get the hang of it, you can move to more gems and egg cartons with more slots.

It is actually pretty simple and straight forward game but just sounds complicated in words!

If Mancala is not up your alley, we have a few more math based games for you to try from other bloggers.

          Gross Motor Math                                                                               Fine Motor fun dice game


           Monkeys in a Barrel                                                                                  Fun with foam blocks



Stay tuned for the second installment of the ABC series tomorrow.


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