Tic-Tac-Bow: Simple games for the holidays

Tic-Tac-Bow: Simple games for the holidays

My staff and I enjoy whipping up simple games around the classroom all year long but the holidays offer up so many fun trinkets and symbols that it makes whipping up simple holiday games just so easy to do.

When working with young children, you quickly learn to keep all games open-ended even if you have modeled it after a traditional game like tic-tac-toe. The children will definitely think of their own rules for play which helps keep them interested in playing the game.

Miss Abby added a writing component to inspire the children to make their marks. As the children played the game, they kept “score”.  Now I don’t know what “winning the game” or “keeping score” meant to each child but as you can see, we had some great score keeping going on!

The focus of simple DIY games is to promote conversation, cooperation, taking turns, building friendships, and exposing the children to a variety of games that invite them to strategize, problem solve, think, and make decisions.

Leaving the games out so the children can come back to them over several days or weeks also helps the children master their skills and understanding for how to play a game with each other.

In the end, simple games for preschoolers should be…. well, simple! The more you have to explain “how to play the game,” then chances are the children will be less inclined to choose to play the game on their own.

When the game is simple and there is no pressure to win or follow specific rules, the children will take ownership of the game playing experience which leads them think “I can do this,” and “playing games is fun!”

Gingerbread Matching Game

You can view a short video of our gingerbread matching game on Instagram or Facebook!

Available on Amazon


  • Mary Anne Arnesen Posted December 11, 2016 5:56 pm

    I love all of your activities! I teach special needs preschoolers in NY. ? By the way my son & his wife live in Kokomo Indiana. So glad that you are teaching us Christmas activities. ??

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted December 11, 2016 6:48 pm

    My Mary Anne! How did you end up all the way in NY and your son here in Indiana? I hope you are enjoying your teaching experience:)

  • Andrew Singer Posted December 30, 2016 5:18 pm

    Learning to let children create their own games to play has saved me so much frustration! You’re right in that it isn’t fun for the kids either when the game has to be explained repeatedly and they are typically turned off quickly. I love the tic-tac-tow board, that game is such a favorite with many kids.

  • Julie Posted January 21, 2017 5:38 pm

    Hi! I signed up for your free training. I cannot watch today. Will I be able to watch this video at another time?
    I am very thankful you are doing this! Deborah, you have such a talent and understand early childhood education and the developmental needs of children. I wish every teacher would be able to watch.
    Thanking you in advance.
    Julie Bergstrom

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted January 21, 2017 10:25 pm

    Hi Julie!
    You can view the free training all week long. We will send you an email as each video in our training series go live! Thank you for your sweet message:)

  • Deborah J. Stewart, M.Ed. Posted January 23, 2017 4:30 pm

    Hi Janice. Try it again as we worked on it this morning and removed the bar to see if that would help. Be sure to enter your name on top line and email in the second line. This way I can send you updates each time a new video goes live.

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