Multiplications seem to be one of those things where children pick them up quickly, or really find them hard to memorise. Either way, finding new, fun, stress-free ways to practise them without turning to the tablet or iPad (I’ll admit, there are some awesome apps out there) isn’t always easy. That’s where Snakes & Ladders comes in!
Here’s how to turn a family classic into a learning tool.
What will I Need?
- A snakes & ladders board – any size will work or you can find other links below for FREE purpose-made printables
- One or more dice (numbered or dotted)
- Counter for each player
- Whiteboard and pen
Watch out. Others may want to play, and can cause mischief when denied the chance to join in…
HOW TO PLaY Snakes & Ladders using x2 (doubles) as an example:
- Each player takes a turn to roll the dice. The player with the highest roll goes first.
- Roll the dice. Double the number. See suggested methods below.
- Move the counter the doubled amount. E.g. Roll 2 and move 4 spaces. If you roll a 5, you move 10 spaces.
- Should you land on the bottom rung of a ladder, move up to the top of the ladder.
- When you land on the head of a snake, move down to the tail end of the snake.
- The 1st player to reach 100 is the winner.
- You must roll the exact number to land on 100. If you are on 98, for example and roll a 3 (so need to move 6 spaces), then you must move forward 2 to 100 and use the remaining 4 moves to go backwards to 96.
On a standard board, you may find you end up moving on a ladder or snake to an odd number, but keep playing, you will make your way back to an even number eventually. Alternatively, download our free board to make sure you are play on relevant numbers.
WHAT IF WE DON’T KNOW HOW TO DOUBLE OR x2?
This is where your dice and whiteboard an be useful.
- If you are using dotted dice, you can roll one. Find the same number another dice and count up all the dots.
- Should you choose to use a whiteboard, you can draw out the dots on the dice and then draw the same amount again. Then count them all up.
- You can use fingers and toes to help count up a double.
- Place a mirror next to your dice. Count up the dots on real dice and reflected dice together.
Practise makes perfect. Using one dice ensures repetition of 1×2, 2×2, 3×2, 4×2, 5×2 and 6×2.
How can I extend this?
If you roll 2 dice, then you can also practise all the way up to 12×2! Or try with an 8, 10 or 12 sided dice.
If you are practising you 3 times tables, this will also work – you just need to triple the value of the number rolled. For x4, you quadruple. For x5, you quintuple! Higher multiplications may not suit this as you’ll reach 100 a lot faster… but you could always adapt the board’s numbers to end higher!
Try a variety of method to work out the answers. Once you’ve played a few rounds, encourage them to estimate the answer before checking by drawing or counting. They’ll be so proud of themselves when they get it right!
Where an I get a board?
Right here! As promised, here you can download a purpose-made board for x2, x3, x4 and x5. COMING SOON!
Do you like what you see? Need some more inspiration for developing mathematical skills? Check out some of our other activities and check up for more as we expand our multiplication activities.