Mancala is considered one of the oldest games in the world and is played just about everywhere nowadays - by the wealthy on beautifully carved ivory boards covered in gold, and by children who dig holes in the earth and use pebbles or seeds as playing pieces. When my students played, they used dried beans and empty egg cartons.
Place the board (egg carton) horizontally between you and your opponent. Then each of you takes 24 playing pieces (beans) and puts four of them in each of the six egg "cups" on your side of the carton. The two larger bins at each end of the carton (made from the halved lids of the egg container and called Kalahas) are left empty at the start of the game.
Perhaps you would like to play at home with your children or grandchildren. I think they'd enjoy egg carton Mancala as much as my students did, and you could begin and enjoy almost at a moment's notice.
By Viaux from Miami, FL
By Carol from Beverly, Mass.
With a bit of acrylic paint and imagination, you can paint your board in any color and when dry use a gloss clear acrylic sealer over it to give it that shiny effect and protect the undercoat of paint from chipping. Do not close the board or cover over until the paint has cured or else it will lift the paint off. Also, you can buy large sticky back sheets of felt to put on the backside of the board to keep from scratching.
Editor's Note: Here is a tip about making your own board game:
The board games can be made using plain file folders, markers, colored pencils, pens, magazine pictures, etc. Buttons or beans can be used for the player's "marker".
Old dice/math cubes can be used to roll, to see how many spaces the player can move if they answer the question on the playing card correctly.
The individual or team must come up with a Title/Theme, such as "Find the Buried Treasure", "Don't Go Over the Cliff", "Shop 'til You Drop", etc. Do all work using a regular pencil. Later markers, colored pencils, etc. can be used to spiff up the game. Open the file folder, and use a pencil to draw the "trail(s)" dividing the "trail(s)" into sections/spaces. In some of the "spaces", phrases such as "Miss a Turn", "Go Back to Start", "Go Ahead 2 Spaces" etc. can be written. Make sure you have a place labeled "Start", and an "End"point on your board game.
Next, use plain paper, another file folder, recycled paper, etc. to make the "Playing Cards". Decide ahead of time what will be written on the playing card, such as: Riddles, Trivia Questions, Math Facts, States/Capitals, etc. Fold and cut the paper or folder into rectangles or squares, and write what you decide on each card. Note: Make sure you know the answer to what you write on the card.
On the front of the folded file folder print the Game's Title and the directions, such as the following: "Each player selects a playing piece. Whoever rolls the highest number on the die, starts first. That person rolls again, picks the top card, reads what is written and answers accordingly. If he/she answers correctly, he can move his playing piece the number of spaces according to what is rolled with his die. Take turns moving clockwise around the table. The person who gets to the "End" first is the winner".
Complete the game by embellishing the board game with graphics, designs, ribbon, pipe cleaners, etc. Store the cards, dice, and players' pieces in baggies. Attach the baggie with a clothespin or paperclip to the folder "Board Game".
This is a great project that may take more than 2 sessions to complete. When all the board games are finished, the family will have a nice variety of games to play, on rainy days, family night, special times, "No TV Night", etc.
Possibilities are endless! Enjoy! :-)
By Nancy from Jacksonville, FL