Connect Four is a great game that can be played in so many different ways if you’re willing to think outside the box. Here are four different ways you and your kids can play Connect Four in order to mix things up and promote their development!
1. Use play dough. Push the Connect Four coins into a mound of play dough (or even hide them inside a big ball of home made play dough) so those little fingers really have to pinch and work to pull them out before placing them in the game slots. Great for fine motor strengthening.
2. Use dry rice. You can hide the Connect Four coins in a container filled with dry rice but really any similar dry substance will do, such as dry beans, pasta, or quinoa. This challenges kids’ tactile processing skills as they must use their feelers to locate and secure the pieces. Create an added challenge by doing this one with eyes closed!
3. Use a pattern. This one takes a little more prep but can be a really fun way to allow kids to play Connect Four on their own or create “levels” of challenge for kids who are into that. Arrange Connect Four coins in different patterns and then take a picture of each one (you can print out the pictures or just keep them on your smart phone or digital camera, or you can even draw them on a piece of paper). Kids must then make an exact copy of that pattern in order to pass the level and if you’ve planned it out well, they’ll be able to advance through the levels as they complete patterns that become more and more difficult. This is a great way to work on skills related to math and writing such as pattern recognition and copying a model.
4. Use one hand. For kids who are a little older or who have slightly more advanced hand skills, up the ante by challenging them to hold several Connect Four coins in their hand at one time. Then as they take their turn, they must “slide” one coin up from their palm to their fingertips in order to use it while the rest stay tucked away in their palm. This can be a real challenge and is great for developing hand muscles and in-hand manipulation skills that can help with tasks such as coloring, writing, and buttoning.
So there you have it. Hope you have as much fun playing Connect Four as I do.
What are some other ways you can play Connect Four?