Help Build Math Skills: Kalah

This strategy game is a big hit in schools and your child will love to learn how to play it if he or she hasn't already. Younger children will benefit from the practice in counting, and older children will enjoy the game's unpredictability. If beans aren't available, try using spare buttons.

What this activity will develop:
Math, social and thinking skills

What you'll need:
• Cardboard egg carton
• 36 beans
• Stapler

What to do:
1. Remove the lid from the egg carton and cut it in half crosswise.

2. Measure 2" in from outside edge of each lid and draw a line. Cut away all but this 2" of the bottom of each lid, leaving the brim intact.

3. Fold in the side pieces and staple to form the Kalah dishes.

4. Staple a Kalah dish to each end of the egg carton.

5. Place three beans in each of the 12 egg cups.

Rules of play:
1. Two players sit on opposite sides of the board. Each player tries to accumulate as many beans as possible in the Kalah dish to his or her right.

2. Each player in turn picks up all the beans in any one of his own six cups and puts them one by one in each cup around to his right. If there are enough beans to go beyond a player's Kalah dish, they are distributed in the opponent's cups, except for the opponent's Kalah dish.

3. If the player's last bean lands in his own Kalah dish, he or she gets another turn. If the last bean lands in an empty cup on the player's side, the player captures all of his opponent's beans in the opposite cup and puts them in his own Kalah dish together with the capturing bean. A capture ends the move.

 

4. The round is over when all six cups on one side are empty. The other player adds the remaining beans in his or her cups to the Kalah dish to the right. The player with the most beans wins.

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