Thursday, May 9, 2013

Giant Chutes and Ladders

It all started as an activity for our Young Women. I am a counselor in the Young Women presidency of our congregation. We have weekly activities with the youth and the youth presidency is involved with the adult presidency as we come up with ideas and planning. One girl suggested we do a life size board game. We decided that Chutes and Ladders would be fun, and so it was put on the calendar. I was the most enthusiastic about it, and since we take turns organizing each week, I was selected to oversee the Giant Chutes and Ladders game.

I pulled out our board game and made my own smaller grid for the girls to play on. I have played Chutes and Ladders with my children MANY times, and I know that it can take the better part of an hour to get to the final square, marked 100. This is playing with only 2 or 3 players. I figured we'd have around 8-10 girls, and we only have 90 minutes for our activities, including opening exercises. SO, I came up with an 8x8 grid, leaving 64 playing spaces. I thought this seemed like plenty. I then modeled my chutes and ladders after those laid out on the real game board, with 7 of each. It looked like fun.

We decided that masking tape on the gym floor would be the easiest way to set up a game of such proportions, and I figured two-foot squares would be just about right (They actually turned out to be too small. A two-foot square is great for one person to stand in, but I didn't take into consideration the fact that multiple people share spaces sometimes, and it got a little crowded. I suggest three- or even four-foot squares). I used plain masking tape for the grid. I then bought green and blue painters tape to mark the chutes (green) and ladders (blue). I figured different colors would help ease any confusion as to whether you were going up or down. I also printed out the numbers 1-64, printing four to a page and taped the numbers in each square.

I typed up different choices the girls can make, both good and bad. "I helped my brother with his homework," "I finished my Personal Progress" and "I brought a cheat sheet to my math test," "I skipped Seminary to go out to lunch." I placed a cup containing 3 choices at the top of each chute (bad choices) and at the bottom of each ladder (good choices). If they ended in a square at the top of the chute or bottom of the ladder, they pulled a choice out of the cup and read it to the group and then followed their consequence, either up or down. If they went up the ladder, they were rewarded with a small prize (I bought party prizes at the dollar store--bouncy balls, bracelets, candy jewelry, etc).

The final square, number 64, was their goal, and I had used masking tape to create an outline of the Salt Lake Temple. We discussed how life is full of ups and downs, choices and consequences. The chute was like repentance. It may set you back, but our Heavenly Father never kicks you out of the game. You may have to work a little harder, but it is still possible to make it to the top. The ladders illustrated that sometimes good choices put you ahead in life.  We played until every girl made it to the finish. We clapped and cheered each girl and gave her a crown (Daughters of a Heavenly King) when she reached the "temple."  They had a lot of fun and we applied a Spiritual note to it as well.

My kids came with me to help set up, and they tried out the board for me. They really enjoyed it and I promised that they could have their own board in chalk in the back yard. Last Friday when I got home from walking them to school, the morning weather was just right, and their sister was sleeping in the stroller. So I swept the patio, and drew the grid in chalk. I used my tape measure as a straight edge. I drew two sides creating a corner first, and marked every two feet as I went. I drew in a third side and then as I drew the horizontal lines across the board, I marked in the vertical lines, making the squares within each row as I went.

It only took me an hour total (including sweeping) to draw it out, mark the numbers, and draw in the chutes and ladders. It took me nearly 3 hours to do the tape on the gym floor. So, if you'd like to make your own, find multiple uses for it. Or do it outside with chalk. Our girls pulled the tape up as soon as we were done, and I forgot my camera. The Primary or the other Young Women who share our building might have liked to use it, but there was not that much planning ahead. So there was 3 hours of work destroyed in a matter of 10 minutes. But we had fun. I saved my blueprint drawing and my kids are enjoying it in the backyard. (I'm not sure why they're wearing helmets, but hey, safety first!)

1 comment:

Elizabeth said...

Oh, my, gosh. So, so cute! What a great idea and way to make it more than just a game, but a metaphor for life. Love it!

xo -E

P.S. Those boys are so cute!