This article is part of the Adapting Board Games for Neurodivergent and Disabled Kids series. Find the main page for this series here.
Chutes and Ladders are also known as Snakes and Ladders. They tend to be one of the first games played by young children because of the simplicity of following numbers in sequence and the amusement that comes with coming so close to winning and finding themselves near the bottom of the board in one roll.
Chutes and Ladders Game Challenges for Neurodivergent and Disabled Kids
- Manipulating loose pieces
- Accessing the entire board
- Rolling dice or spinning a spinner, or both
Skill-Building with Chutes and Ladders Games
Chutes and ladders games build:
- Counting skills
- Number recognition to 100
- Sequencing skills
- One-to-one correspondence
- Grasping/holding skills
- Taking risks
- Taking turns
- Dealing with disappointment
Suggestions for Adapting Chutes and Ladders Games
Use hook and loop dots. One of the challenges of playing board games is manipulating loose pieces. With one false move, the pieces can easily fly off the board.
Position the board upright. Loop and hook dots make it possible to play a game upright! You can lean the board against furniture so the child can see the game from their seat instead of laying flat on a table. We can make it a physical activity for everyone else.
Interchange spinners and dice. Some games come with a spinner which might be tricky for some kids. Use jumbo-sized foam dice to use instead!
Enlarge playing pieces. I prefer using larger game pieces as they are easier to manipulate. You might want to photocopy, enlarge, and laminate images from whatever board game you have and use the base from other games.
You’ll notice that each adaptation does not take away from other players. They make the game more exciting for other kids as well! That’s the beauty of accessibility. It includes everyone and often makes things so much better for all.