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two hands and some string stretched between them

Playing cats-cradle

Many of these African games require no equipment at all to play, just some dirt and stones. Go someplace where there are dirt and stones (this may be the hard part if you live in the city, so consider going to the beach or to a campground). African games you can play in the dirt include marbles, jacks, and mancala.

brown-skinned boys and girls play hopscotch on a board scratched into bare dirt

Kids play hopscotch in East Timor (not Africa)(thanks to Games People Play)

If you can’t find anywhere that has dirt and stones, you can still play many of the games – running races, tag (if they let you at your school), jumprope, hacky-sack, and hopscotch are all great games for any playground. If you are stuck inside, or have trouble walking and jumping, you can still play African clapping games and learn to do cats-cradle figures.

African games

Click on these books to buy them, or buy your own Mancala game:

Egyptian Games
Islamic Games
Ancient Greek Games
Indian Games
Ancient Africa home