Exploring old toys through play
Draw a giant snakes-and-ladders grid with chalk in the playground (it need not go all the way up to 100).
Children can try jumping or hopping from square-to-square, counting as they go, and going up the ladders and down the snakes.
They could play a giant game of snakes-and-ladders, with one group of children rolling a large dice, and another acting as their counters.
Children could design and make their own snakes-and-ladders style game.
What long or tall things could they use in place of the snakes-and-ladders?
They could base it on a favourite story, film, TV programme or classroom theme.
Would they change any of the rules?
Children could create step-by-step instructions for snakes-and-ladders, or for their own version of the game.
- They could write these down and turn them into the sort of instruction leaflet you might expect to see in a board game.
- Old games often came with instructions written on the inside of the box lid. Children could design their own box for a game and write the instructions inside the lid.
- They could record a demonstration using an iPad or tablet.
Try testing the instructions on a classmate or a grown-up.
What questions do children have about old games? Encourage them to think carefully about something they would really like to find out about this snakes-and-ladders game or an old game in your classroom. They could take it in turns to hold a picture of a large question mark, and think of a question beginning with Who, Where, Why, What, When or How to share with the group or class.
Where could they find out the answers? They could:
- Click on the ‘Playing in the past’ tab to find old pictures of children playing with toys and games.
Hubbub and Mancala are two of the oldest games in the world
- Hubbub – or ‘the bowl game’ – is a traditional game, played by the Wampanoag people and other Native American groups across America. It’s easy to make and fun to play – remember to distract your opponents by making as much noise as possible! Find out how here.
- Mancala is believed to have been invented by the Ancient Egyptians. Try making and playing your own mancala game here.