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Day 19 - Games (creative ideas for teaching English and maths at home)

For anyone new to this blog, the idea is simple - each day my boys (Joshua - 9 and Archie - 7) choose a stimulus that drives the learning. We hope that you enjoy the blog and can take some inspiration from what we love doing - making learning as engaging as possible!



Our boys love a great board game. That said, they also love a terrible board game too! Any form of board or card game has always captured their interest (thanks to their wonderful Grannies that spend hours entertaining them!)

Today's activities are all about consolidating recent learning into a family board game. We hope that you enjoy!



  • Revisiting knowledge on fractions, decimals and percentages, time, shape and times tables

  • Accurately measuring using a ruler and calculating a scale


  • Writing questions

  • Writing instructions, including imperative verbs

  • Revisiting key grammar, such as nouns, proper nouns, adjectives, etc.

We began by discussing what game we were going to create - no shocks when they decided upon a Harry Potter board game. We then talked about the games that we loved, from which we could magpie ideas. These included:

  • Snakes and ladders

  • Monopoly

  • What a Performance

  • Kahoot

Having decided (with a little persuasion) to base the game on Snakes and Ladders, we set to drawing the board. The challenge was to create a scale that gave us 100 squares.

This is what we did:

  1. Draw a rectangle 40cm x 30cm.

  2. Along the 40cm side, mark of every 4cm.

  3. Along the 30cm side, mark every 3cm.

  4. Join all the lines, creating a 10 x 10 grid.

To give us enough space, I sellotaped four pieces of A4 together.

We then began to create the game...bit by bit...and slowly it evolved. Here are the key ideas and how they were created:

  1. The boys drew in snakes (or should I say basilisks?) and broomsticks, including a brutal snake that would take you from 91 back to 1!

  2. They then added on The Chamber of Secrets, a place where two snakes took you. To escape, you would have to roll a 6 (inspired by Monopoly and jail).

  3. They then added Snape's Potion Class, a place where you would reside until you could answer two questions about Harry Potter. This meant that we needed lots of trivia cards - so the boys set to creating a whole host of questions based on the first three films. We added potions signs onto the board.

  4. We then added Honeydukes, mainly because they wanted sweets! They decided that sweets could be bought if you landed on a sweet square. We therefore needed to add Gringotts bank.

  5. In Gringotts bank, you could earn galleons to buy sweets by answering mathematical questions correctly. I wrote these, based on our last three weeks learning.

  6. Finally, the boys wanted to add a few fun squares onto the board, such as being caught by Filch, catching the golden snitch and being whacked by the Whomping Willow.

All that was left was for us to play the game. Fortuitously, I rolled a 3 and went up the longest broomstick in the history of the game. On my next go a lucky 5 saw me rise to 98 and shortly after, win! Hooray!

The boys did not have so much luck, with both boys ending up in the Chamber of Secrets and Archie slithering down from 91 to 1. Josh also seemed to spend most of the game in Snape's potion class. One of the harshest rules was the bounce back - where you had to roll the exact number to finish. Josh, sitting on 98, rolled a 6 and ended up back in the Chamber of Secrets.

An hour later and all three boys crossed the winning line, where they could cash in any leftover galleons for sweets. I have to admit - this was such fun and I have loved seeing their creativity shine. You have to give this a go over the weekend!


If you have enjoyed reading this blog, please do follow us. Alternatively, you may like to follow me on Twitter: @JamieWTSA.

We are so thankful to those of you who have inundated us with stimulus requests. We have made a list and will do our best to explore as many as we can. Do tune in on Monday, when our stimulus is very topical, chosen by Kimberley O'Connor and her boys Finlay and Benjamin.


My thanks to Pie Corbett and Talk for Writing for inspiring many of the ideas explored in this blog.

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