Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Hearts and kisses (noughts and crosses/tic-tac-toe, depending on which side of the Atlantic you are on)

Whilst celebrating Valentines Day, why not give a simple game a loving twist. Instead of noughts and crosses, we transformed some stones into hearts and kisses.

Who can play?
Children aged three and up. However younger children may enjoy exploring with the stones, twigs and making patterns. 

Always use non toxic, waterproof paint.
Be careful that little fingers do not get hit or caught in between the stones. 

What do we need?

  • Stones x 10
  • Long Twigs x 4
  • Red and white paint
  • Silver glitter
  • Two Paintbrushes
  • Two paint pots
  • Aprons to protect clothes
  • Area where the activity can be carried out 

What did we do?
Our first job was to paint hearts and kisses on the stones. We painted 5 with heart shapes and 5 with crosses. Isabella helped paint the kisses and apply glitter to them.

Once the stones had dried I arranged the twigs in a grid and placed the heart stones in one bowl and the kisses in the other and placed them on out path outside.
As soon as Bee saw the activity she showed an interest and said "do you want to play?"
She placed all the heart stones, from her bowl into the grid and said "you can put your crosses on now" making up her own game. She would also use lots of mathematical language such as "I am putting mine in the middle... At the top"etc.

After a few times of playing her game, I explained the rules of noughts and crosses (the aim is to get three of the same symbols in a row, either going horizontally, vertically or diagonally) 
Isabella tried her best, but needed a little guidance with the concept of the game.
Her little face did light up when she won a few rounds.
She also thought it was funny that if you went last you had a stone remaining in your tub, developing mathematical concepts.
At the end of the activity Bee enjoyed arranging the twigs into a grid pattern

Like most of her play it ended up being imaginative, as she pretended one stones was a mummy and the others were babies, going to bed in their spaces on the grid.

The day after this activity, Isabella played with the hearts and kisses set outside on her own. She enjoyed lining up the stones and twigs and making up her own patterns.

What did we learn?
Knowledge and understanding of the world- Learning and playing with natural objects in the outdoor environment.
Creative- Designing patterns with the decorated stones and twigs.
Physical- Fine manipulative when picking up and placing stones in the grid
Mathematical- spacial awareness when placing twigs and stones on the ground and learning about positioning e.g, up, down, left and right. Developing knowledge of shapes.Make sequences and patterns
Communication, language and literacy- following instructions and talking through what she was doing and what she wanted to do.
Personal, social and emotional- making up her own game and joining in with others. Lots of pride and self esteem when she won a few games.

What could our next steps be?
To make this set last, you could varnish them and keep them in an outdoor games box. If you have chalks you could encouraging your child to use it to draw a grid, noughts and crosses.
flowers and leaves could also be used instead of the stones, or letters/numbers that your child is learning.


  1. Thank you. Unfortunately the recent down pour has washed off all the paint. If you want the game to last longer. I would suggest using a coat of varnish over the top.