# Take Tic-Tac-Toe to the Next Level

Make a simple game really count.
By Amy Mascott
Feb 02, 2015

Ages

3-13

Feb 02, 2015

Before I was a parent, I never realized how much time my kids would spend waiting for things.

Waiting at the doctor's office. Waiting in line at the grocery store. Waiting on the sidelines at a sibling's soccer practice. Waiting in the lobby of a dance or karate class. Waiting for food at a restaurant. Waiting in the pick-up line at school.

There's a lot of waiting.

And though I truly believe that patience is a skill to be explicitly taught to kids, it's still hard some days. Some days, our kids need a little surprise, and a little spur-of-the-moment game with mom or dad can do the trick.

When you need something and want to keep your kiddo unplugged instead of handing him or her your phone, try Tic-Tac-Toe. But don't go all old school with X's and O's. This time, bring Tic-Tac-Toe to the next level.

Very simply, try playing with letters, shapes, or numbers instead of X's and O's. That's right. Instead of plopping a big ole X in the box when it's your turn, try something different. Try using simple sight words or names.

Before you begin of course, make it clear what letter, number, shape, or word each player will use. And don't be afraid to mix it up.

Writing your choices on sticky notes will allow for quick and easy changes, and it makes it more fun for kids.  As you write your new and exciting shape or letter, talk about it:

I'm using an "M" for "Mom!" Mmmmm Mom!

What other words can you think of that begin with the Mmmmm sound?

Hey! I love your sunshine! You made a really nice circle for that sun.

Can you count the number of points on my star? Count with me: one, two, three, four, five!

So what are you waiting for?  Let the games begin!

What is your favorite way to play Tic-Tac-Toe? We'd love to hear it!

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Language Arts