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The Game of Nim

Exercise your child’s brain with this 1,000-year-old Chinese game.

Learning Benefits

Hover over each Learning Benefit below for a detailed explanation.
Problem Solving
Critical Thinking
Adding and Subtracting

What you need:

  • 21 toothpicks, beans, or other small markers

What to do:

  1. Explain to your child that this game is over 1,000 years old. Can he think of any games he enjoys that other kids might enjoy 1,000 years in the future?
  2. To play the game, arrange the toothpicks (or other markers) in a single row.
  3. Taking turns, you and your child can pick up one, two, or three sticks at a time.
  4. The player to pick up the last stick loses.
  5. As a follow-up activity, search online or at the library for other Chinese games, or games from other Asian cultures.


From The Multicultural Game Book by Louise Orlando
(Scholastic Professional Books)

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