May 23, 2008
Over summer break we tend to play more board games. Sometimes I try to make them more interesting. One of my favorite modifications is to play Chutes and Ladders with dice. You roll two dice and you can move any number that you can get from a mathematical operation (the final answer must be a whole number but can be negative). So for instance you roll a 5 and a 3. You can move either 15, 2, 8, or backwards 2 (-2)whichever is most advantageous to your game play. You would be surprised at how often moving backwards is useful to get to a big ladder.
This morning I played several games of Chutes and Ladders. One with the spinner with Sirah age 4. One with two dice - only allowing addition or subtraction with Ciaran age 7 and Sirah age 4 and one with just Rhiannon allowing any mathematical operation. To encourage Rhiannon to keep playing I told her when she beat me should could have a piece of chocolate, highly desirable since it was before noon! It took her 3 games. There is still an element of luck and randomness but you have more control and it is a fun and sneaky way to get them to do a variety of math operations in their head quickly and without feeling like they are doing math.
Now outside to enjoy the beautiful, albeit still chilly May day here in Minnesota.