International Competition

By Jeanette Larson

Books to Share

  • Lacrosse: The National Game of the Iroquois by Diane Hoyt-Goldsmith.
  • The Quebec City Crisis by Roy MacGregor.
  • Running on Eggs by Anna Levine.
  • Shibumi and the Kitemaker: Story and Pictures by Mercer Mayer.

Books to Show or Booktalk

  • Aikido for Kids by Laura Santoro.
  • Hopscotch Around the World by Mary Lankford.
  • Jacks Around the World by Mary Lankford.
  • Tour De France: the Illustrated History by Marguerite Lazell.
  • The Warriors by Joseph Bruchac.

Bulletin Board

Fun in any Language

Translate words like “play,” “sports,” and “fun” into other languages. Write the words on paper or cut out letters and scatter them around the bulletin board. Use Babelfish, an on-line translator at, or dictionaries to find the words. Add die cut figures of boys and girls, sports equipment, and toys.



Use a die cut to create kite shapes for nametags.


Sing “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” from Mary Poppins. Lyrics are available at the NIEHS Kids’ Page web site,, and the song is recorded on Mary Poppins: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack by Richard M Sherman.

Audio Recordings

  • “Around the World and Back Again” on Around the World and Back Again by Tom Chapin.
  • “Barco de Papel” on African Playground by Putumayo World Music.
  • “Chariots of Fire” on Chariots of Fire by Vangelis.


Make Your Own Mancala Game


  • Styrofoam egg cartons, cleaned and dried
  • 2 small cans (tuna cans work well) or small butter tubs
  • 24 marbles, small stones, dried beans, or Bingo markers per child
  • Stickers
  • Markers
  • Construction paper (optional)
  • Scissors (optional)
  • Scotch tape (optional)


Wash the egg cartons and cans thoroughly with an anti-bacterial soap to avoid possible contamination from raw eggs and other food. Let the cartons dry. Give each child an egg carton and materials to decorate the carton. If you provide cleaned out tuna cans, let the kids cover them with construction paper and decorate with markers. If you provide another type of container, the kids may not be able to decorate them. Distribute 24 marbles or other tokens per child.

How to play Mancala

This game originated in Africa and there are several variations on rules. A simple way for two players to play is to place 4 marbles (or whatever play pieces you have provided) in each section of the egg carton. Place the tuna cans or other containers on each side of the egg carton. These are the mancalas. The first player picks up the marbles in one of the cups on his side of the carton and redistributes them into the next cups, one at a time. If he reaches the mancala on his side (the one to his right) one marble can be dropped into the mancala. If the marble dropped into the mancala is the last marble, the player gets another turn. If the player drops his last marble in an empty cup on his side of the board, he gets to collect all of the marbles in the cup opposite that one and drops the captured marbles plus the one he dropped into the empty cup into his mancala. The player never drops a marble into his opponent’s mancala. Players cannot touch the marbles to count them before deciding which cup to play from. Play continues until one player has no marbles on his side. When that happens the other player captures the remaining marbles on his side and drops them in his mancala. Count the marbles in each mancala to determine the winner. For variations on how to play the game, see Mind Sports Worldwide,

Games and Activities

Go Fly a Kite!

Kite flying is an international pastime and “Fly a Kite Day” is celebrated on June 15, the anniversary of Benjamin Franklin’s kite flying experiment. Purchase inexpensive paper kites or provide instructions and materials for kids to make their own. Then, go out and fly the kites. If space, or winds, does not permit this, other options are to hold a kite parade in which the children march holding their kites or hang the kites to decorate the library. Check out “Kites as an Educational Tool” on the Gomberg Kite Productions International web site,, to learn the word kite in various languages, as well as instructions for making and flying kites.

Guest Speakers

Check local community colleges and universities for exchange students from various countries. Invite the students to talk about sports and games in their country. Ask the guests to share some of the games they played as children.


If you have public performance rights, show these videos and DVDs, or segments of them, to the children. Otherwise, display them for home use.

  • The Karate Kid. (126 minutes)
  • Phar Lap. (107 minutes)
  • Power Rangers Ninja Storm - Samurai's Journey. (80 minutes)

Web Sites

Learn all about Gaelic sports, including Gaelic football and hurling.

National Geographic GeoBee Challenge
Test your knowledge against the National Geographic experts; new games are provided every day.

Professional Resources

Mary Poppins: An Original Walt Disney Records Soundtrack by Richard M Sherman.

This on-line translation program offers translations in several languages.

Gomberg Kite Productions International
Celebrate kites with an assortment of educational tools and instructions for making different kites.

Mind Sports Worldwide
This site offers background on mancala and variations on how to play the game.

NIEHS Kids’ Page
Sing-along songs, including “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” are provided by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences.



Texas Reading Club 2006 Programming Manual / Reading: The Sport of Champions!

Published by the Library Development Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission

Page last modified: June 14, 2011