I’ve always felt that tic-tac-toe is a great first turn-taking game for toddlers. Simple to follow, and easy to win (especially if a grown-up “doesn’t notice” the three-in-a-row about to happen), the game is sure to be a hit. This particular version from High Five magazine even allows toddlers to craft the game before they play it!
I wanted Veronika to have lots of ownership over this project, so after I cut up the compartments of an upcycled egg crate, I asked her what color we should paint them. She chose purple! Make sure to paint only half of your playing pieces (5) and leave the other 5 blank.
Give the egg cups a generous two or three coats of paint and let dry completely. In the morning, I asked her if she wanted to be Xs or Os, and she chose the former. She watched me mark her 5 pieces with an X, and preschoolers can do this step by themselves in paint.
Then she wanted to help out to mark the Os. As a result, our O team was a bit scribbled, which was just fine!
To make the playing grid, tape four straw together with two vertical and two horizontal.
At first, she simply thought it was fun to stack the pieces together.
But once I started to coach her step by step, but she started to get the idea of placing an X piece in one of the squares, then watching me place an O and so forth. She soon had three in a row.”Tic-tac -toe!” we said in delight.
This was a great intro to a classic.