Snakes and Ladders

Most board games are really useful for helping children develop confidence with important mathematical skills and understanding. Snakes and Ladders is a great game to help your child develop confidence in quantifying collections – and it’s fun for all the family.

Things you need

  • 2+ players
  • Snakes and Ladders board game
  • Dice or a spinner.

The challenge

Step 1

Begin a game of Snakes and Ladders, teaching your child the rules as you go.

The goal is to be the first person to get to the end of the board. On your turn, you'll roll the dice and move your piece the number of steps you’ve rolled. When you land on a ladder, you get a shortcut and move your piece further up the board. When you hit a snake, you must go down the snake.

Step 2

As you are having fun, talk to your child about the game. Ask questions like:

  • "How many places do you need to move?"
  • "How many more rolls do you think it will take to get to the end?"
  • "What did your roll?"
  • "You're beating me! How far ahead are you?"
  • "If you go down that snake, how many places will you be going back?"

The conversation

  • Pay attention to what your child is doing so that you can help them develop confidence with some mathematical ideas.
  • When they roll the dice, do they know how many dots it shows? If you see your child counting the dots, help them use the dice pattern to work out how many without having to count. For example, if they roll a four, help them by saying things like "Oh, I can see - you rolled the one that looks like a square. Look, there's a dot in each of the corners. I think that shows four. Every time I see that pattern, I know that I can trust that it's four."
  • Notice how they're counting. Are they saying one number word for each place that they are moving?

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