Caribbean Children's Games

Written by fiona miller
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Caribbean Children's Games
Many games have been played in the Caribbean for centuries. (antigua Caribbean beach image by Andrew Howard from

Help children learn about their own culture or become immersed in a foreign one by playing games that originated in the Caribbean or are very popular there. Play Caribbean games with your own children or your class to help them gain some cultural perspective and most of all, have some fun.

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Caribbean Dominoes

Four children will play this game, each paired up with a partner. The players must have a double-six dominoes set to play this version. Each player draws seven tiles. The first round begins with the player who has the double-six domino setting it in the middle. Going counter-clockwise from that person, during each player's turn, he will have a chance to lay down a tile, but it must match the tile in front of it. For example, in order to play, a player must have a tile with a six on it. The matching dots are placed together and players will continue to play off of one another's tiles until a player runs out of tiles. The first player that runs out of tiles wins the round for his team. If no one can play any more tiles after a certain point, the game is "blocked." In order to determine a winner, each player must add up the number of dots he has on his dominoes. The individual player with the least number of dots wins for his team and goes first in the next round. The game can be played as long as players wish, although the goal is to win six games in a row.


People have played the ancient game mancala in Egypt, West Africa and the Caribbean for thousands of years. The variation from the Caribbean is called wari. In order to play, your students or children will need a mancala/wari board. You can improvise with an egg carton (for one dozen eggs) if you wish. You will need two small bowls to place on either side of the game board. The game begins by each player putting four stones into each of the small bowls. The large bowls, called the mancalas, do not collect stones at the beginning. The mancala to the right of each player is hers and the player "owns" each of the six bowls in front of her. The first player will start by collecting the stones in the bowl on the farthest one to the left and will drop them into the other bowls to the right of the first one, one at a time. Each player continues doing this, dropping a stone in her mancala when she reaches it, but skipping the other person's mancala. Players continue until all bowls are empty. The player with the most stones in her mancala is declared the winner.

Bimini Ring Toss

Bimini ring toss games have been popular in the Caribbean since the Spanish settlers first introduced them to the natives. This game is played in pubs and homes in the Caribbean and in various forms in Europe. This game can also be played with children. To play this game, affix a curved hook to the wall, with the point facing the ceiling, either by drilling it into the wall or a piece of several-inch-thick wood. Traditionally, this is supposed to be the face of a bull with the hook as its horns, but you can do whatever you wish. Purchase several metal rings and tie them to a string, tying the other string to the ceiling by either attaching another hook to the ceiling and tying the other side of the string or attaching them to a ceiling beam. They should be attached about 5 feet 9 inches from the bull hook. Each person will take a turn trying to throw it to the hook to get it to stay. There are many variations of the game, but many play until the first person gets to 16, winning the game. You can order Bimini ring toss sets from companies including Masters Games or Bimini Games.

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