Life Lessons Your Child Can Learn from Playing Snakes and Ladders

It’s about time my preschool daughter, J, is ready to play board games. So I had an excuse to buy a set of 14-in-1 board game package the other day.

J was so excited when I presented her the package. She couldn’t wait to play.

Since she’s still young and that was probably the first time she played a board game, Snakes and Ladders would be a better place to start.

My wife and I were playing with her. Initially, I thought J had beginner’s luck because she almost won the game.

But, as in everything, the game had ups and downs. J suddenly dropped to the lowest among all. Thanks to the snakes.

After a few rounds of overtaking and falling, I finally emerged as the champion. Unexpectedly, at least to J, she finished last.

I didn’t expect she reacted in such a way. This was only her first game with us anyway. She couldn’t take it and she burst out crying. She wanted to play again so that she could win the game.

But I stopped her.

Having looked at the situation, I quickly took advantage of the situation to teach her some life lessons.

  • Life has its ups and downs. Sometimes you’re up (ladders) there, sometimes you fall (snakes).
  • Be humble. Don’t look down on people who are less fortunate than you. Be grateful with what you have. Likewise, when you fall down, don’t give up. Try again.
  • Accepting the outcome. Whatever the result (win or lose), accept it with grace. That’s the spirit of sportsmanship. If you lose this time, learn and improve so that you can win next time. Make losing a motivation, not an excuse not to play again.
  • Handling emotions. Learn to manage your emotions when playing. Be it happy, sad, disappointed, angry, frustrated, or upset. Also learn how to react to emotions of other players appropriately.

Geez, quite a lesson for a 4-year-old in one session. I am not sure if she could understand the lessons. But one thing for sure, I am going to repeat the lessons until she gets them into her head.

With that said, that also explains why I prefer “traditional games” than battery-operated toys. They learn so much from these age-old games. And we don’t need to worry about toy recalls.

Besides those I had explained to J above, among other things she can learn from Snakes and Ladders classic board game (of which some I may have to teach her in subsequent sessions):

  • Goal setting. By playing the board game, she learns how to set goal (We use a 10×10 board, the goal is to reach the 100th square) and focus all the effort to achieve it.
  • Learn to take turns. She has to wait her turn to throw the dice. Patience is another virtue she can learn here.
  • Recognize the numbers. A good way to learn sequencing from 1 to 100 in a fun way. If it’s too complicated, at least counting 1 – 6 on the dice is a good start.

How and Where to Play Snakes and Ladders

How to play Snakes and Ladders? Click here for history and rules for Snakes and Ladders.

To play Snakes and Ladders online, click here.

To download snakes and ladders freeware and play on your PC, click here (click “Save File” when prompted).

Or buy Snakes and Ladders board game from Amazon. Nothing beats face-to-face games.

For more Works for Me tips, head on over to Shannon’s Rocks in My Dryer.

About Abel Cheng

I am a work-at-home father and chauffeur to my 2 children. I love simple living and my latest passion is healthy eating. Lastly, I am the founder of ParentWonder, which shares tips on becoming better parents.