This life-sized version of Slides and Ladders prompts children to reflect on feelings associated with different real-life scenarios. Combining outdoor time with chalk art, this Mindful Recess helps kids understand it’s okay to sit with difficult feelings.



  • Using the chalk, draw a large grid totaling at least 20 squares. Each square should be about one-foot square.
  • Number each square starting with the bottom left of your grid and zig-zagging until all squares are numbered
  • Draw slides and ladders at angles between the squares. As you draw, think of different life scenarios for each slide and each ladder and the emotions that might go with that experience. (follow your child’s lead on this). For example:
      • You got stung by a bee. You feel: Sad. Draw a sad face at the top of a slide
      • You got a new puppy. You feel: Super excited. Draw a happy face at the bottom of a ladder
  • Label each slide and ladder with a life experience, ie: draw or write “bee” at the top of the slide for the bee sting experience. Draw or write “puppy” at the bottom of the ladder for that experience.

How to Play

  • Roll the die
  • Jump from square to square based on the number you rolled
  • When you land on a square with a slide or a ladder, look at the clue then make a sad or happy face to associate the experience with an emotion
  • For more challenging scenarios that send a player down a slide, talk about how feelings like sadness or disappointment, while difficult, are part of life. You can also brainstorm ways to manage big feelings, like taking a breath or using a Peace Corner to reset.
  • The first player to reach the final square wins

Mindful Recess are short, playful breaks to help our bodies and minds reset. Whether you are at home or school, take a moment to pause and try one of our conscious playtime activities.

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