Chutes and Ladders – Are Your Kids Climbing Up Or Sliding Back Down

Last weekend, my six year old and eight year old both wanted to play a board game with me. In our house, the three of us playing a board game is kind of a conundrum because my oldest desires to play  more sophisticated games like Clue or Stratego while my younger daughter would rather play something simpler like Candy Land. However, the one game that we could all agree upon was Chutes and Ladders.

Chutes and Ladders is a perfect methaphor of the state of education

The winner of chutes and ladders is the person who climbs up more than they slide down. Image Courtesy of

Chutes and Ladders is a relatively simple game involving a board that consist of 100 squares. Many squares are connected by either ladders or slides. Gameplay progress by spinning a wheel and moving a game piece the number of spaces indicated on the wheel. If the final square on your turn contains a ladder, you can advance up the ladder moving you closer to the top and victory. However, if the space contains a slide, then you are forced to descend back down the game board, further away from victory. The winner is the person that manages to climb up more than they slide down.

As I played this game with my children, I realized that Chutes and Ladders was actually a perfect metaphor to describe the educational system. For nine months out of the year, students climb up the learning ladder. However, for three months out of the year (referred to as the summer break), kids slide back down from their educational heights because they do not consistently practice the skills they obtained during the school year.

The “slide” that occurs during the summer break is frequently referred to as the summer slide. Researchers estimate that kids can lose as much as two months of both math and reading skills during the summer because they are not actively engaged in regular skills practice.

Just like in chutes and ladders, if you are not climbing, then you are sliding. So what can you do to help your child stop the summer slide? Here are three suggestions:

  1. Regular Practice – How did Michael Jordan become Michael Jordan? He was busy practicing long after everyone else had gone home. When it comes to reading and math, regular practice is required if a child is to keep climbing up rather than sliding down.
  2. Stay Engaged – Research has shown that if you want to reach the top, practice is not enough. It has to be deliberate practice. Deliberate practice means staying focused and actively engaged in the learning.
  3. Have Fun – Life is too short to spend all day buried in the books. Kids need fun too. Optimal learning occurs when we combine both learning and fun.  If this happens, a child doesn’t even realize they are learning because they are too busy having fun.

As a parent, ensuring that your child stays climbing up to success during the summer can be a challenge. That is why Brain Chase is here to help!

Brain Chase ensure that a child is regularly practicing new skills by requiring them to complete reading, writing, and math activities five days a week over a six week period. To assure parents that regular practice is occurring, progress is tracked and available through the parental dashboard.

In addition, Brain Chase encourages children to actively engage in learning because the assigned activities provide them with clues to an actual buried treasure and a $10,000 scholarship. The treasure is an incentive to keep participants engaged and deliberately learning.

Most importantly, Brain Chase was designed to be fun. The program involves decoder rings, compasses, virtual tours, and finding and deciphering clues. A summer filled with Brain Chase is a summer filled with fun.

Brain Chase is an excellent way to stop the summer slide

Decoder rings help Brain Chase be both fun and provide regular and consistent practice.


As parents, we want our children to keep progressing up, like winning in Chutes and Ladders. By signing your child up for Brain Chase, you are helping them to progress upwards rather then slide downwards.

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