I'm always looking for fun ways to work on pre-writing skills with my 6-year-old and 3-year-old. This play dough tic-tac-toe activity is perfect for improving fine motor skills and introducing the “X” and “O” shape to your child. It's a great pre-writing activity for kids, especially kindergarten age.
Play Dough Tic-Tac-Toe Pre-Writing Activity for Kids
Here is what you will need:
- 2-4 colors and tubs of play dough (you can also make your own play dough if you prefer that)
That is literally IT!
Choose one color for the “O” and one for the “X”. I also chose a different color for the lines of the playing area.
Have your child roll small balls of play dough with their hands. Then use both hands to roll out the play dough into long lines or “worms” as my kids call them. 🙂
We used a small pair of scissors to cut one line in half for the “X”. My daughter pressed them together slightly to help them stick. You could just pull apart the lines in the right spot, but I snuck in some added cutting practice with the scissors.
Then make the “O” by squeezing the two ends of a line together to form the shape.
We rolled out 4 large lines to make the playing area grid.
After all your pieces are made, put the board together and start playing.
If your child needs a visual cue for how to make the “O”, “X” or the playing grid, you can draw it out on a piece of paper for them to see. Or you can simply make an “O” or “X” yourself and leave it out as a prompt.
Have your child play while laying on their stomach on the floor. This adds some great core strength practice if they struggle to sit at the table.
There are so many amazing skills that your child can practice with this activity.
- Bilateral Coordination (using both hands together to roll the play dough out)
- Crossing midline (using the dominant hand to reach across to pick up the “O” or “X” pieces to play)
- Fine motor strengthening (the hand and fingers by manipulating the play dough)
- Following directions (following the directions of the game)
- Visual-motor skills (eye-hand coordination and motor planning)
- Sensory input (kids learn and retain information better when you involve more senses with an activity)
Plus, it's a FUN way to play a familiar game while getting in some amazing pre-writing practice.
Need more pre-writing skill activity ideas? Check out the resources below.
- Basics of Pre-Writing Skills for Kids
- Pre-Writing Skills Checklist for Kids
- 15 Hands-On Activities to Promote Pincer Grasp
- Cursive Pre-Writing Lines & Strokes for Kids