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Toy Tuesday: Mancala

It's #toytuesday and mancala is one of my favorite toys for kids and adults! It's great for fine motor (hello in-hand translation skills!) and it's a motivating way to work on strategy and logic (what's up - executive functions?!). Mancala is also featured in my favorite movie "I Heart Huckabees" when the existential detectives host a mancala hour (can I plz have an invite?).

It's the simplicity of mancala that makes it fun to play. Once you get the hang of it, Mancala can have an almost meditative quality because of the repetition and predictability.

There are some beautiful mancala boards available for sale. I also found some great tutorials on making mancala boards with an egg carton, and then there is this lovely DIY ombre mancala board. Here's my version of a DIY mancala board using recycled materials and materials I had on hand. You can find the rules here.



  • 2-3 toilet paper rolls

  • Washi tape or markers to decorate

  • Hot glue gun

  • Cardboard

  • Sea shells, beans, beads, or other small objects for game play

  • Scissors


1. Cut each toilet paper roll into eight strips

2. Wrap 6 circular strips with one kind of washi tape, and 6 with a different kind of washi tape - or color with markers.

3. Place circle strips on board, and find a position you like.

4. Once in position, trace the inside of the circle strips on to the board

5. One circle at a time, trace your marks with hot glue and stick a cardboard circular strip on the board.

6. Continue until all 12 circle strips are glued to the board.

7. Add one oval strip to each end (I cut and glued two strips together and formed it into a rectangle on each end).

8. Play mancala! You can find the rules here.

'd love to see your mancala board! Comment below and let me know how you play, and what you play with!

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