Friday, September 27, 2013

Egg Carton Mancala Game

Mancala may be the oldest game in the world, which begs the question of why I've never played it. I figured it was time, at the age of 37, that I give it a try. And I knew EXACTLY who would make a great opponent - my oldest son. 

In case you haven't noticed from all the DIY games I create and blog about, he is a total gamer.

To make our mancala board, I grabbed an empty egg carton. I cut the egg cup tray and lid apart. The egg cup tray with its 12 compartments is perfect for this game!

To make the two trays, called mancala, that sit at either end, cut the egg carton lid using the ends only (discard the middle). Use hot glue to attach the lid pieces to either end of the egg cup tray.

To help my son and I keep straight which side of the tray and which mancala was whose, I placed colored dot stickers in the bottom of the egg cups - yellow on one side, green on the other. Then I printed yellow and green mancala labels on sticker paper to adhere to the mancala trays.

Now I grabbed some blue glass babbles to use as our "stones."

We loaded three babbles in each cup, leaving the mancalas empty. Now we reviewed the game rules by watching this great YouTube video.

The objective is to hoard all of the babbles on your side of the board. If your cups are all empty, you've lost.

I was so close to losing that my son was practically doing a victory dance, when one or two plays put me back in the game. Call me the comeback kid, because I won our first round. My son isn't always thrilled to lose, but this time, he didn't even care.

This game is perfect for kids with a math brain and totally encourages strategic thinking.  I knew my son loved our mancala when he asked a friend to play it less than an hour later. Success!

This great idea came from ReMake It! by Tiffany Threadgould. This books is full of inspiring craft projects for kids, all made from recycled goods. It is one of the best craft ideas books I have ever come across.


  1. This is a fantastic idea! I don't know how to play Mancala either and perhaps we should try with this homemade version.

  2. oh hi! im from indonesia. i was surprised when i read this. Mancala in my country is Congklak. the game and how to play it as same as Mancala. that's great game :D