Sunday has been the family fun day in our home for the last 10 years or so. After 10 years of doing about everything you can think of I am always on the hunt for new fun eco-friendly projects all five of my children can enjoy. Needless to say, I am always on the hunt for exciting recycled product crafts, because they are not only cheap by earth-friendly too!
A few weeks ago I meet a fun gal named Laurie, who runs an art studio for kids and You Gotta Have Art! Her love for recycling stuff we already have into crafts, is amazing! Laurie has agreed to share some of her upcycled craft projects with all of you readers!
Today, I bring to you…..Mancala, an Upcycled Egg Carton Board Game
- Egg Carton (the paperboard kind, so you can paint and decorate)
- 48 small Pebbles or Rocks (look in the yard)
- Acrylic Paint
How to make the board: 1) Separate the lid of the egg carton from the bottom part with the cups. Trim off any excess so you have a smooth edge.
2) Cut the lid in half, lengthwise (figure 2). Place the 2 halves under the bottom part with the cups. To make a tray at each end, extend these pieces out about 2 inches, letting it fit snugly into the grooves of the egg carton. This tray area is called the mancala.
3) Put glue on the bottom of each of the 4 cups that will be sitting snuggly on the top. Put glue the sides that match up, too
Use clips to hold the sides in place (figure 4) until it is dry.
4) Once it is dry, you could remove the clips. Now it is time to paint and decorate your mancala board. Acrylic paints work best. You can make stripes or polka dots, you can sponge paint, splatter paint, and even add puffy paints for more dimension. It is up to you – remember, you’re the artist, or better yet, let the kids pick the paint colors and design! 5) You can paint all the small pebble playing pieces, too. In fact, finding the 48 small pebbles is an activity in itself! If pebbled are not available, you can also use buttons, beads, marbles, or beads.
6) Once the board and pieces are completely dry, it is time to play!
The Finished Game Board
How to play Mancala: The object of the game is to collect the most playing pieces 1) The two players sit across from each other. Set the mancala board horizontally – the 6 cups in front of you are yours, and the 6 cups in front of your opponents is theirs. Your mancala is to your right. 2) Put 4 pebbles in each of the 12 cups. 3) Decide who will go first, then alternate. On your turn, you will pick up the pebbles in any of your 6 cups. Then, you will move those pebbles forward to the right, in a counter-clockwise direction, dropping one pebble in each cup that you pass along the way, including your own mancala. If you have enough pebbles, you will drop them in your opponent’s small cups, but not his mancala – just skip over the larger bin when you get to it. 4) Keep alternating turns. If you drop your last pebble in your own mancala, you get another turn.
5) When there are no pebbles left on one player’s side, in their 6 small cups, the game is over. The winner is the person with the most pebbles in their mancala.
That’s it! Now you have a fun eco-friendly craft project the entire family can help create! Enjoy!
Upcycled craft project by Laurie Rivlin Caspert, a Cornell graduate and Creative Arts Director at Camp Romaca, a popular summer sleepaway camp in Hinsdale, MA. Laurie successfully ran her own graphic design studio for sixteen years before discovering an even greater passion – teaching art to children. She’s taught hundreds of kids in the ten-plus years she’s been teaching after-school art classes in her studio in Bergen County, NJ. She calls her approach “fun art” (as opposed to “fine art”), a roll-up-your-sleeves, messy kind of art kids love. The emphasis is on fun and the creative process.
With her new idea, YouGottaHaveArt@Home, she has come up with an innovative approach to bringing fun and creativity to children everywhere. Laurie’s dream is to have her own craft show for kids. She would love the opportunity to spread her passion and enthusiasm – to empower kids to express themselves and help bring out the innate creativity in every child. Remember, YOU GOTTA HAVE ART!