Snakes and Ladders is a classic board game that is lots of fun to play, and it’s great numbers practice! It’s also simple enough to make at home. The object of the game is to get your game piece past all the squares to the number 100. Roll the dice and move that many squares. When your piece lands on a ladder, you can go up the ladder and skip some squares! But when you land on a snake, you have to slide back down the snake and go past the squares again. The first person to reach 100 wins! When you make your own snakes and ladders, you can change the placement of them every time, so each game is a little different! Not to mention that you can decorate the board any way you like! What’s not to love? Well, maybe we don’t love landing on the snakes and sliding back down, but it’s still a good time!
Things you’ll need
- long ruler
- poster board (one large sheet, any color)
- markers and coloring pencils to decorate
- pipe cleaners
- popsicle sticks, varied sizes
- googly eyes
- glue stick
First, measure out a square onto your board and cut it out. Our board is nice and big at 20” x 20”. The bigger the board, the more fun it is for little ones.
Then, mark a small line on the edges of your square every 2” all along each side of the square. With a ruler and marker, connect the opposing lines to make a grid. This will give you 100 squares!
Now to number each square! Start at the bottom left square at number 1, then go along that row until the end, and continue zig zagging all the way to the top to number 100. You can color in the squares with colored pencils to make them stand out from one another, and write the numbers in different colors. Decorate your board to be as colorful as you like!
To make the ladders: collect different sizes of popsicle sticks. If you only have one size, you can glue two together to make them longer, or carefully cut them shorter. With a marker draw in little squares onto the stick so it looks like a ladder.
To make the snakes: twist two different colored pipe cleaners together and fold the tip onto itself to form the head. Glue googly eyes into place. We find the best way to make the snake curves is to shape it on a flat surface.
Now you are ready to play! You can use a pretty stone or a favourite small toy or object for your game pieces. Experiment to see how the game changes by switching up the number of ladders and snakes you use in each game and where they are placed on the board. You could also try playing with two dice instead of one! Have your little ones count out loud as they move through the squares to practice their counting, and soon they’ll be all the way up to 100! Happy playing!
For more fun with numbers and to see Caitie play this game in the classroom, watch our Number Fun episode of Caitie’s Classroom!
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