How can Snakes and Ladders be a great teaching aid for your 4-8 year old?

How can Snakes and Ladders be a great teaching aid for your 4-8-year-old?

Snakes and Ladders is a popular board game found in all of the houses in India.

The board has 100 squares laid down with snakes and ladders, and a dice. At the maximum, there are four players. Each player is assigned a coloured peg. Snakes and Ladders have simple rules that make it easy to play with any age group. Each player takes turns in rolling the dice. Depending on the number on the dice, she/he moves the peg on the same amount of squares. If you land on a square with a ladder, you move up the ladder. Similarly, if you land on a square with the head of a snake, you slide down to the square with the tail of the snake. The ultimate objective of the game is to reach 100.

The original name of Snakes and Ladders is Mokshapat or Moksha Patamu or Leela or Gyaan Chaupar. According to some historians, Saint Gyanadeva invented the game in the 13th century. The game was designed to educate children about the effect of good and bad deeds. The ladders represent the good deeds or virtues, and snakes represent evil deeds or vice. The objective of the game is to teach children that you attain salvation (reaching 100) through your virtues and vices. A virtue and god lead, depicted by ladder, will help you achieving nirvana faster.

On the contrary, an evil deed will bring punishment and take you further away from the goal. Earlier, the number of snakes and ladders on the board was equal. The thought was to convey that life always gives a chance for us to redeem an evil deed. The old board had religious scriptures, and the numbers connected through ladders or snakes had some religious significance. Under the influence of British Colonials, the modern game of Snakes and Ladders got created.

What can we teach our kids while playing Snakes and Ladders?

Emotional Intelligence: Snakes and ladders designed to educate students about morality and life still hold the same effect in today's era. The game is as unpredictable as life. Ladders can bring us joy and hope, and snakes despair and anguish. It is natural to feel at a loss when bitten by a snake and have to step down. Teach your kid not to give up. Guide them to have faith in oneself and resume the journey.  Patience and persistence are the two essential attributes that can be developed by playing this game.

Mathematics: The game is all about numbers. For young kids, one-on-one correspondence is a concept that can be practised using Snakes and Ladders. The number of squares that you can move has to match with each dot on the dice. Addition and mental mathematics skills can be honed or polished while playing the game.

History: Snakes and Ladders have been into existence for long. Over a while, the game has evolved or changed to meet the mindset of the current generation. In the US, chutes or slides replaced snakes. In all probability, the reason could be as kids get scared of snakes and the game needs to be child-friendly. Specific illustrations are child-friendly with kids involved in various activities. The ladders show healthy or helpful activities (like gardening, reading a book, cleaning the house, saving a cat from a tree, and eating healthy) and wrong or harmful deeds (like not studying, spilling water, and eating too many cookies). The essence of teaching virtues and vices through the game prevails.

A game that we all associate with our childhood has the potential to teach life skills along with having fun. Next time you play the game, try making it a learning experience for your child.

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