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Snakes and Ladders

Snakes and Ladders is a common game from everyone's childhood, yet strangely often gets overlooked or forgotten within the ESL classroom. This is a shame, because Snakes and Ladders is an excellent TEFL classroom tool for language acquisition. Playing Snakes and Ladders provides an excellent platform for review work within a class of both younger or older children.

The usual way to play Snakes and Ladders

TEFL teachers who do play Snakes and Ladders for teaching usually just draw a big square on their whiteboard with intersecting lines to make a grid. They then draw on the snakes and ladders to finish the board and then play.

This TEFL Lemon version of Snakes and Ladders is far more interactive and will generate higher interest in the game and in answering your ESL review questions. In this version of Snakes and Ladders, your students will be sticking on their own ‘snakes’ and ‘ladders’ on the whiteboard to design their own playing board!

How to prepare for ESL Snakes and Ladders

In the teacher's office, make 2-3 snakes and 3-4 ladders of different lengths using paper joined together with sticky tape. Bring your snakes and ladders into class along along with some more sticky tape.

Draw this Snakes and Ladders ESL template as big as you can on your white board. Notice there are no snakes or ladders on the board yet! Your children will be adding the snakes and ladders themselves in your English class. Consider the scale of the snakes and ladders you make in the teacher’s office!

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Playing Snakes and Ladders in your class

In class, divide your ESL class into two teams. Ask one of your teams to come to the front and place a snake on the game board. Now ask the other team to come and place a ladder. Keep going until all the snakes and ladders are on the board. Now play Snakes and Ladders using questions from recent topics in your English classes!

Don’t know how to play Snakes and Ladders?

Ask the first team a question from a unit you’re learning. If they get the answer right, they roll a dice. Move their marker along the Snakes and Ladders board. Now ask the other team a new question, if they get the answer correct, then they move along the Snakes and Ladders board, too.

Whenever a team land on a square where the bottom of the ladder is, then their marker climbs up to the top of the ladder. Whenever a team arrives on a square at the head of a snake, then their marker slides down all the way to the bottom of the snake!

The first team to reach the end is the winner!

Snakes and Ladders is a great way for ESL kids classes to review English material through games.