Mancala is a term used to describe a type of counting game. Kalah (which is simply referred to as Manacala in the United States) is one type of Mancala game. In most Mancala games, players move counters (or seeds) between pits and stores. The winner of the game accumulates the most counters in his or her store.
Some Mancala games have complex rules, while others are more simple. In the version played most often in the United States, there are 48 counters, 12 pits and one house at each end of the board. For a preschooler, this can become confusing. We wanted our students to benefit from the counting and critical thinking components of the game, but did not want to confuse them with developmentally advanced concepts. We modified the game to be more developmentally appropriate for our students.
- egg carton
1. Cut the egg carton in half. The bottom portion of the egg carton (where the eggs are kept) will be the Mancala board.
2. Cut from the cover of the egg carton, a piece of cardboard to form a border with the edge of the Mancala board (the edge of the board that was cut in half). Glue this piece to the egg carton and allow to dry.
3. Paint the egg carton. Allow to dry.
4. Instruct the students to collect "counters". We instructed our students to collect 'beautiful small rocks'.
5. Place 1 counter in each pit on the Mancala board. For more advanced students, you can use more than one rock. Additionally, we did not include the house because we found it to be confusing. You can add the house by attaching a small container (such as a paper cup) to each end of the Mancala board.
How to play:
1. Place one counter in each pit.
2. Have the student choose a pit to start with. The student will move in a clockwise direction the number of counters in the selected pit.
3. Have the student choose another pit, and move the counter in a clockwise direction the number of counters in the selected pit.
4. Continue selecting pits and moving counters. The object of the game is to move all the counters into one pit.