Life-sized Chutes & Ladders


Chutes and Ladders in Youth MinistryI know, that does sound awesome.

I was having a planning meeting with my youth a few weeks ahead of our back-to-school party. I don’t remember what I said that was misheard, but the rest of the conversation went like this:

Youth: “Did you just say ‘life-sized Chutes & Ladders’?”

Me: “What?”

Youth: “I thought you said ‘life-sized Chutes & Ladders.'”

Me: “Well, I’m saying it now.”

A few minor details were worked out and the next thing you know we had a functioning Chutes & Ladders game set up in the side yard of our host home! Here’s what you need to make yours like ours:

A 1,000 ft roll of “Danger!” tape

About 150 landscape pins (or sod staples)

Ladders of varying lengths (we used one 4ft, 3 6ft, 1 8′, and a 20ft extension ladder)

Painter’s plastic

Dish soap

Our layout was 30′ x 30′; that makes the playing area a grid of 100 3′ x 3′ squares, ten columns wide, ten rows high. Use your landscape pins to stake down every intersection of tape.

Unroll your painter’s plastic and cut it to desired lengths. You’ll stake your slip-n-slide chutes with pins also, so make sure they’re wide enough that the kids won’t risk catching anything on those as they slide down.

You’ll want to place your longest ladder and longest slip-n-slide first; unlike the board game, your slides can’t go through the ladders. With those two in place, you can set out the others wherever you like. If you spread dish soap on the slides and then wet them, they should remain slick throughout game play without much maintenance. We set up a sprinkler in the corner that rotated across the playing area and participants. We also set up 10 buckets full of water–if you landed on a square with a bucket, you had to stick your head in the bucket. Good times.

Conserve water wherever you can; it really doesn’t have to be a wet game to work well.

Oh, almost forgot to tell you how to play!

In regular board play, everyone has a piece on the board and you take turns spinning to see how many spaces to move. You don’t have time for that and the excitement would wear off pretty quickly. Instead, have the kids get in a line. The first kid in line steps into the first square. Someone spins the spinner (a 6-sided playing die works as well) and player 1 moves that number of squares.

While player 1 is advancing, player 2 steps into square one. The spinner spins again, and both players move that number of spaces while player 3 steps into square one. And so on. This way all the players on the board are moving the same number of squares, but aren’t following the same route through the board.

Players cannot finish without an exact roll, meaning that the number rolled cannot be greater than the number of squares they are from the end. The second time we played I cheated and managed to get all of the kids stacked up in the next to last square before finally calling a “ONE!”

Have fun with it! Next year they want to do Mousetrap.





  1. Sounds like fun! Any photos for our visual learners?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *