Sanity Saver: Mancala Craft

By: Will Kawalec
Lead educator

Presented by BankOnBuffalo

In this lesson we will learning and creating the game of Mancala. Mancala was created in Africa around 1300 years ago! It is one of the world’s oldest known games. It came to America in the minds of enslaved African slaves and immigrants, and is still played today!

Download a printable PDF of this lesson here!


Game instruction sheet.
48 of the same pieces, anything can be used marbles, stones, candies, coins, or whatever you decide!
Egg carton
Glue (hot glue preferred)


Set up: 2 Minutes
Creating Game Board: 3-5 minutes
Gameplay: 10-20 minutes

Academic Subject(s):

VA: CR 1.2. 1,2,3a
VA: PR 5. 1,2,3a
Social Studies
K.3a, b, 1.1b, c, 1.2a, 2.2b, 3.4a, 3.8a
This lesson supports Kindergarten to Fourth Grade:
This lesson supports areas of Elementary Education.

This is not only a fun craft, but an educational one, parents, teachers, or caregivers, can not only facilitate this project as an art craft but also use it to inform children about games, sportsmanship, and rule-following. As
well as giving them some background on this game!

Directions for Game Creation:

Step 1: take your egg carton and cut off the flap with scissors.
Step 2: cut the top into thirds (you can toss the middle portion)
Step 3: glue the cut pieces to the base of the egg holder portion, this step should create two ‘baskets’ at the
end of the carton.
Step 4: place 4 game pieces in each of the holes, while none in the ‘baskets.’
Step 5: read the instructions and play Mancala!

Vocabulary Words

Board Game: any game played on a board, especially one that involves the movement of pieces on the board.
Instructions: detailed information telling how something should be done, in this case playing Mancala.

For more Sanity Savers click here!

Sanity Savers, STEM Edition: Snow Volcano

Presented by National Grid

Written By Dan Walsh
STEM Educator

Supply ideas:

Vinegar, dish soap, food dye, baking soda, snow, small cup


10 minutes 

Academic Subjects:


Directions for Snow Volcanos  

Today we are going to be looking at an explosive subject, volcanos! A volcano is a type of landform (sometimes a mountain) where molten rock erupts through the surface of the Earth. One of the most active volcanoes in the United States is Kīlauea in Hawaii. Kīlauea last erupted on December 20th, 2020. Now let’s create our own volcanos outside in the snow!!  

  1. Find a nice snow pile to create your own volcano. 
  2. Carve out the top of the volcano. 
  3. Place your cup in the hole. (The cup will prevent the snow from melting in the next few steps) 
  4. Sprinkle some baking soda into the cup. 
  5. Add a drop of dish soap. 
  6. Add a few drops of food dye. 
  7. With the help of an adult slowly pour in vinegar. 
  8. Marvel as the baking soda and vinegar react and pour out of the volcano. 

Snow Volcano Vocabulary:    

Lava– Molten rock that breaks through the surface of the Earth.  

Magma– Is molten rock stored under the surface of the Earth.  

Let’s take a look behind the scenes of what happened when you combined the baking soda and vinegar. Both the baking soda and vinegar are made up of different building blocks or elements. When the elements touch each other, they have a reaction. Hydrogen ions in the vinegar react with the sodium and bicarbonate ions in the baking soda. One of the results of the reaction is gas bubbles! The bubbles form in the liquid and cause the volcano to fizz! 

For more Storytime stories click here!

Sanity Savers, STEM Edition: Pom Pom Launcher

Presented by National Grid

Written By Dan Walsh
STEM Educator

Supply ideas:

Paper tube, balloon, scissors, duct tape 


10 minutes 

Academic Subjects:


Directions for Pom-pom Launcher 

Today we are going to be looking at physics. Physics is a branch of science that focuses on matter which is anything that takes up space such as air, rocks, and even candy and forces such as push and pull. A person who studies physics is called a physicist. We are going to act as physicist and build a pom-pom launcher.   

  1. Tie a knot at the very end of your balloon. The knot should be tied near the mouthpiece. 
  2. Working on the other end of your balloon, cut a small piece off. 
  3. Stretch your balloon out over your paper tube. 
  4. Secure the balloon down with a piece of duct tape. 
  5. Now comes the physics part. Place several pom-poms into the tube. 
  6. Pull the balloon string back and let go. 
  7. Depending on which way you aim the launcher the pom-poms will either fall out or spray everywhere! 

Pom-pom Launcher Vocabulary 

Matter– Can come in three different states; solid, liquid, and gas.  

Force– Cause an object to accelerate, slow down, remain in place, or change shape. 

Prediction– To make a guess on what you think will happen. 

For more Storytime stories click here!

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