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Tuesday, June 28th, 2011

Mongolian Matching Game

Mongolian-kids © Bartosz Hadyniak-

Mongolian children have traditionally played many different games using animal bones. One common game is the first player gathers all the bones (usually ankle bones of goat, sheep and horses) and throws them on a flat surface. The player then looks for pairs of matching bones and flicks one of the matching bones to hit the other matching bone. If they touch any other bone, then they lose their turn. If they hit the correct bone, they pick both bones up, put them aside and get another turn. For the next player, he/she picks up all remaining bones and throws them again to look for matching pairs and the game starts over.


Since you probably don’t have many bones on hand, you can play a variation of this game using everyday household objects.




Any combination of the following objects will work well:

• Bottle caps, container caps, detergent caps and juice caps
• Strips of ribbon, colored paper clips
• Pieces of wrapping paper cut up in different shapes
• Different shaped spaghetti pieces
• Different dried beans
• Crayons and markers
• Flowers and leaves



1. Depending on how much time you have allotted plus the attention span of your child, you can have your child help you collect these objects in the house in order to play the game.
2. Once you have your objects, make sure you have 2 pairs of at least 6-10 different objects and spread them out on a table or the floor.
3. Have your child find pairs. Older children with better coordination can try to flick one pair against another in order to make a pair. If he or she hits another object while picking up the pair, they lose their turn. (Obviously this will not work for paper, ribbon, leaves or flowers but would work better with harder objects).
4. Repeat until all pairs are collected.


And in the spirit of Naadam, why not take your child for a pony ride somewhere in your community? Kids and ponies are usually a win win situation.

© 2011 – 2013, The Editors. All rights reserved.

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InCultureParent is an online magazine for parent's raising little global citizens. Centered on global parenting culture and traditions, we feature articles on parenting around the world and on raising multicultural and multilingual children.

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  1. CommentsInCultureParent | Breastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan   |  Friday, 15 February 2013 at 1:44 pm

    […] six years—a serious endorsement in a country where wrestling is the national sport. I moved to Mongolia when my first child was four months old, and lived there until he was […]

  2. CommentsBreastfeeding in the Land of Genghis Khan | mumanu pregnancy pillow   |  Thursday, 07 March 2013 at 11:40 pm

    […] six years—a serious endorsement in a country where wrestling is the national sport. I moved to Mongolia when my first child was four months old, and lived there until he was […]

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