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Mountain Mancala

Juniors and Primaries

on August 17, 2015

Mountain Mancala Game Directions pattern is available at the bottom of this page or by downloading the pdf version of this project (see below)


  • Flat top paper pulp egg cartons, 1 per child
  • Red* acrylic craft paint, amount varies
  • Yellow* acrylic craft paint, amount varies
  • White acrylic craft paint, amount varies
  • Pony beads (any or assorted colors), 36 per child
  • Mountain Mancala Game Directions pattern
  • White copy paper, 1 sheet for every 2 children
  • Snack-size zippered baggies, 1 per child

*Any 2 paint colors can be used, except white.

Tools and Basic Supplies

  • Scissors or utility knife
  • Large child paint brushes
  • Office paper cutter


  1. Use scissors or a utility knife to carefully remove the lids and tabs from each egg carton. Throw the tabs away.
  2. Cut the lids in half to create 2 trays for each game board (carton).
  3. Photocopy the Mountain Mancala Game Directions pattern onto white copy paper, 1 sheet for every 2 children. Then cut the sheets in half along the dashed line.
  4. Place 36 pony beads and a Mountain Mancala Game Directions sheet into a zippered baggy, 1 per child.

Teaching Tie-In

Show the sample craft and say:

We’re making a Mountain Mancala game today. God gave us hands that can do all kinds of things, like making crafts. The very best thing your hands can do, though, is to be used in serving the Lord and working for Him. When you work hard at whatever task God has given you, whether it is doing your homework, finishing your chores, reading your Bible, developing a talent, or caring for others, you will be working for the Lord and not for men. It pleases God when you work hard for Him!

Class Time Directions

  1. With the egg carton in front of you, paint red (or other color) the insides of one row of 6 cups and paint yellow (or contrasting color) the other row of 6 cups.
  2. With the two lid pieces (or “trays”) in front of you, paint red (or other color) the inside of one and paint yellow (or contrasting color) the inside of the other.
  3. Using white paint, add “snow” to the “mountain peaks” between the 2 rows of cups.

Tip Corner

  • Have the children count out the 36 pony beads themselves.
  • You can use almost anything small and cheap for game pieces. If you really want to be authentic, use small stones.
  • After the paint is dry, send this craft home in a lunch sack so nothing is lost.

Super Simple Idea

Try the following Oriental Trading Company craft kit. (Call 1-800-875-8480 or visit

  • DIY Unfinished Wood Praying Hands Note Holders (IN-48/6783)—Decorate with pictures or thoughts from today’s teaching (e.g., “Go to the Ant!”, “Don’t be a Slug!”, “Work Hard!“). Manufacturer recommends this for ages 5 and up.

Game Directions

  1. Two players sit opposite each other with the mountain mancala game board between them. Each player “owns” the 6 cups on his side and the same color tray (or “mancala”) on his right.
  2. Players place 3 game pieces (beads) into each of their 6 cups, but not their mancalas. The colors of the beads aren’t important.
  3. Choose a player to go first.
  4. Player 1 gathers all the beads from any one of his 6 cups and then, in a counter-clockwise direction around the board, drops one bead into each successive cup (including his mancala and his opponent’s cups, but NOT his opponent’s mancala) until the beads in that turn run out. If his last bead drops into his mancala, he gets a free turn, and starts again from any one of his cups. If his last bead drops into an empty cup on his side of the board, he “captures” the bead he just dropped AND any beads in the cup that is directly across from it (Player 2’s cup). He then places his “captured” beads into his mancala.
  5. Then Player 2 takes a turn and the game continues.
  6. The game ends when all 6 cups on one side of the board are empty. The player with the most beads in his mancala wins the game.
Mountain Mancala Download PDF