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Children's Games From Zambia

slow children playing image by mavrick from Fotolia.com

Children play many different games and sports all over the world. Various cultures have inspired some unique playing styles, particularly in African countries like Zambia. Exploring the traditions and rules of these games can provide interesting insight into Zambian culture and lifestyles.

Playing Soccer...or Football

Football (soccer) is Zambia's most popular sport.
Let's play? image by Andrey Ivanov from Fotolia.com

Soccer, or football as it is called in Zambia, is the country's most popular sport. It is common for children to begin playing football at a very early age and continue playing well into adulthood. Because the sport requires very little equipment, children typically make their own balls by tying together discarded rags, and strike up matches in nearby fields and school yards. In fact, football is so popular that organizations like UNICEF have created what's called Sports-in-a-Box kits that provide jerseys and soccer balls for school children in some of the poorest parts of Zambia.


Isolo is a popular board game played in some parts of Zambia. It is typically played on a wooden board in the shape of an egg carton and uses either stones or seeds as playing pieces. The game is played in two parts: "fore-play" and "main game." The goal is for one player to capture all his opponent's pieces, much like a more complicated game of American checkers.


Nchuba is another game school children play in Zambia; however, it is more traditionally played by girls. The game begins by digging a small hole about 25 cm wide and placing 10 small rocks around its perimeter. Girls sit around the hole and take turns tossing a larger rock into the air and using that same hand to move one of the perimeter stones into the hole before catching the larger rock. The first girl to get all 10 rocks into the hole without making a mistake is deemed the winner. This is similar to the game of jacks played in the United States.

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