Children's Games From Around The Globe

Great for teachers/daycare providers!!! This article is about a few games from different parts of the world. Great to teach multiculturalism!

One thing is universal - children will play if given the chance. There are many types of games around the world and this article will explain a few and what part of the world they are from.

We will begin our journey in Africa. Mancala is a popular game that originates in East Africa. It can be played with a variety of materials and is sometimes played in holes in the sand. It is called Oware in Africa. Here is how to make your own version of the game. Get an egg carton and cut of the lid. (1 dozen egg size) Take 48 dried beans and decorate them with tempera paints.

Colors often used in Africa are green, black, and red.

Each player should also find a cup to keep their beans in. Player can decorate cup as well. Now we are ready to play. Player A will use the right side of the egg carton and Player B will use the left. Each player has their cup or bank to hold captured beans. Start the game by placing four beans in each egg hole. The begin the game Player A will take four beans from any hole on the right side and place one of those beans in each of the next four holes, moving counterclockwise around the whole egg tray. When the last bean is in the hole the player takes all the beans from that hole to put in her bank. Player A keeps going until she drops her last bean into an empty hole. Player B begins by taking beans from a start point on his left side of the board. The games keeps going until all the beans are in banks. Whoever has the most wins.

Let's go on to China and learn the game of Nim. You will need 39 playing pieces. These can be stones, pasta shells, etc. Now they need to be laid out in this design (looks a bit like a Christmas tree). On the first row put down 2. Second row has 3. Third row has 4. This makes a triangle. On the fourth row there is 1. Fifth row has 2. Sixth row has 3. Seventh row has 4. Eight row has 5. This makes a second triangle under the first. Ninth row has 3. Tenth row has 5. Eleventh row has 7. Now you should have them all laid out. You could also make dots on piece of paper to put the game pieces on so you don't have to count out the rows each time. To play this game the first player removes one, two, or three beans from any single row. The second player does the same. Alternate turns and play never removing more than 3 pieces and always removing from the same row. The object of this game is to force your opponent to pick up the last bean.

Let's go to France and visit a game that has made it's way all around the world. It is called Bilboquet and is the traditional catch the ball in the cup game. To make your own you need a larger bead with a hole in the middle, a cup, sting or yarn, and scissors. Poke a small hold in the bottom of the cup. Make a knot in your string on the inside of the cup and pull the other end through the hole. Tie the bead to the bottom end of the string. To play you must hold the cup in one hand and try to swing the bead to land in it.

Now we will learn a Native American game for all ages to play. It is called the Feather Toss. Many Native American games were developed to practice skills for battle. To play you need a long different feather for each player. Stick the end of the feather into a ball of modeling clay (to form a weight). Draw a circle in the dirt or with sidewalk chalk on a driveway. Draw another line for all players to stand behind when throwing. Throw your feather at the target. Whoever's clay end comes closest to the center wins that round.

The final game is also Native American and is called the "Zuni Basket Game." To play you need a basket (about 10" in diameter). You also need five one and a half inch squared of cardboard. Decorate one side of each cardboard square and leave the other blank. All players sit in a circle. The square are in the basket. Player one holds the basket and tosses up the squares and recatches them in the basket. He will then tally his points by this criteria. Five decorated sides showing = 10 points. Five plain sides showing = 5 points. Four plain sides = 4 points. Three plain sides = 3 points. Two plain sides = 2 points. One plain side = 1 point. The winner is the first player to 20 points.

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