Episode #9: “Sweet Sensation”


Barbados is a tiny (16 miles long x 14 miles wide) island in the Atlantic Ocean, just north of Venezuela, South America.  The British attracted to it's beautiful waters, clear skies and warm weather were the first to establish a colony there in 1627. Tobacco and cotton were the initial first crops planted on the island, by 1640's, the colonists switched to raising the sweet, profitable crop of sugar, importing hundreds of slaves from Africa to work the sugar plantations. With a British and African influences, let’s see how these two cultures blended their ideas of games to play!



Children in the Barbados have summer 9 months out of the year. Thus, they have tons of creative games that they play in the sand, surf and grass.


“Corn Hole Backyard Fun”

Players:  1 or more , ages 3 & up


What you will need: A colorful painted piece of wood with holes of varying sizes cut in, 4 colorful bean-bags.


How to Play:

Players take turns tossing their bean-bags into the holes. The smaller holes have a larger point value. The Players get 3 turns tossing 2 bean-bags. They add up their points. The player scoring the most points wins. The game can be modified for younger children, counting simply 1 point for every bean-bag that goes through a hole. For older children, the more complicated calculations of 1,2, 5, 10 points per successful toss makes it a bit more challenging!  Parents, don't forget. Games are not just for the kids.  You can take a turn... blind-folded!!!


“Ring Toss”

Players: 1 or more, ages 6 & up


What you will need:  A Bimini Ring Set...or create your own.  With a metal ring, a hook screw, fishing line for weather resistance, a beam or mounting surface as shown below.



How to play: 

Each player takes turns trying to get the "ring" onto the "hook." This is a strong reasoning game where children have to determine the exact distance they need to stand away from the hook to make the ring swing in a perfect arch. Great opportunity to incorporate physics and math and spatial reasoning skills! 

Have the children create a challenge board or have a chalk board nearby to keep score.  Children can play having a certain number to tries or they can keep a running total of their.



“Warri” – or modern day Mancala (Barbados’ oldest surviving game)

Players:  2 players, ages 5+


What you will need: 

A rectangular playing board with 12 holes, 2 rows of 6, and 48 small pebbles.

You can also use an egg carton with (1) small bowls placed at either end of the carton. Or better yet, buy a simple Mancala game from your local Target or Wal-mart.


How to play:

Each player puts 4 pebbles or stones into each of the 12 holes. Player 1 starts with the farthest left bowl, picks up the pebbles and places a single one in each hole to the right of the one emptied. If the player reaches the "Mancala" bowl at the end of their row on the right, the player is allowed to deposit a pebble there. If the player passes the opponents "Mancala" bowl on the left, player does not deposit a pebble.  If the player last stone is deposited into a hole with pebbles, he or she picks those pebbles up and continues to place them in subsequent holes, going around the "board." The player turn ends when he or she has no more pebbles to distribute.  Player 2 then chooses where they will begin on the board. They may start with any hole she chooses, picks up the pebbles and starts to distribute.  Players continue to take turns until all "holes" are empty. 

The player with the most pebbles in her "Mancala" bowl is the winner!




Fabulous Foods of Barbados:

Sugar Cane

Sugar Cane is a major crop of Barbados.  In the old days, laborers would chop the stalks down in the fields, and haul them to the grinders for extraction of the cane juice.  Now, the stalks are loaded onto trucks and hauled to the grinder. 

As the gears of the grinder turn the smooth cylinders, the canes are squeezed and pressed in between the cylinders to make the juice come out. 

Did you know cane sugar is found in molasses, rum and grocery items such as cereals and breads?


Now you can buy pre-packed shards of Sugar Cane in many grocery stores.  The children of Barbados love to suck on the stalks to get the sweet juice out.  This natural from of sugar is much healthier than the processed, refined white sugar used in most packaged, processed foods.




Yams (a little different from Sweet Potatoes)


Now it's time to go underground.  In Barbados, yams grow well as a rotation crop in sugar cane fields. The sugar cane fields are high in nitrogen and potassium from the previous cane crop, and thus a great cultivation site for this underground root vegetable! Yams have a delightfully sweet taste and are a great compliment to any meat dish or eaten alone!





Green Beans

Green Beans are a thriving crop of Barbados.  This delicious, edible vegetable contains wonderful vitamins C & K , fiber and Folate.  Green beans are one of the few beans that can be eaten raw and are a powerful antioxidant!




A Few Quick Serving Ideas

  • Try raw green beans dipped in your favorite salad dressing or humus.
  • Healthy sauté green beans with shiitake mushrooms.
  • Prepare the perennial favorite, green beans almondine, by sprinkling slivered almonds on healthy sautéed beans.