DreamBox Learning's Top Educational Toys for the Holidays, No. 5

DreamBox Learning’s holiday gift-giving guide continues with what is believed to be one of the oldest games in the world: Mancala! Read on and find out which version we chose and why we picked it for the number 5 slot.

Mancala: A marvelous math game for kids ages 6 and up.

Top Educational Toys for the Holidays

Deluxe Wood Folding Mancala

The word Mancala means to transfer in Arabic and that’s the premise of the game. Players pick up “seeds” (brightly colored glass gemstones) from their pit and drop them one by one into each pocket counter clockwise around the board in an action called “sowing.” Depending on the last hole sown in a lap, a player may capture stones from the board. The object of the game is to capture more stones than the opponent and the player who empties their side first wins.

We recommend the Deluxe Wood Folding Mancala because it comes with a sturdy, oak-finished wood board that stands up to child’s play. Fast-paced and fun for the whole family, Mancala puts the glee back into strategy. Mancala does have one drawback: it’s pretty easy to lose (and…ouch… step on) those tiny glass marbles. But replacement marbles are readily available and the board lasts for years.

Learning benefits:

  • Teaches kids how to count
  • Improves strategic thinking
  • Helps with concentration
  • Develops math and logic skills

Ages: 6 and Up

Learn More about the Deluxe Wood Folding Mancala

Disclaimer: DreamBox is in no way affiliated with this product and recommends it solely on its educational merits.

  • Becca

    Mancala was a FAVORITE among my fourth- and fifth-graders as it was usually the first game out of the cupboard during rainy day recess. I think it was a hit for multiple reasons: each “round” is fairly quick, my students were able to teach each other the rules easily so lots of kids could play, and it was a new game for many of them. I liked Mancala because it pushed them to think about, talk about, and revise various strategies.

    One tip for storing Mancala: Place all the marbles on one side (and make sure the marbles are in the cups) before folding it in half so that the board fits in the box. Don’t force it! There were a few times that I had to work hard to get the board out because marbles had been wedged in between the halves of the board!