Children will love to have a colourful game of tic, tac, toe, or noughts and crosses - as we call it in Australia, in their backyard. They will benefit from the fresh air and enjoy honing their powers of concentration and good sportsmanship as they move pebbles around the board.
Noughts and crosses is a simple game. Most people know the rules: one needs to have three ‘crosses’ or three ‘noughts’ in a row, to win the game.
Noughts and crosses is said to have been around in various forms for over 3000 years. It was thought to have been played in Egypt in 1300 BC. An early variant of noughts and crosses was also apparently played in the Roman Empire around the first century BC. The game's grid markings have been found chalked all over ancient Rome.
It’s easy to give this timeless game a modern, earthy twist by selecting three tree stumps (one larger for the table or board) and two lower ones for the stools and painting them in vibrant colours.
What you’ll need:
1. Three tree stumps (one higher than the other two).
2. Polished black pebbles (from a hardware shop) or other large pebbles collected from the garden. If you have very young children, it’s best to make sure the pebbles are too large to swallow.
3. Water based paint (two contrasting colours)
Paint the top of the tree stump (which will serve as the board or table) one colour (such as orange). When it’s dry, you can paint a grid on top in a contrasting colour (such as red).
The tops of the tree stumps (which will serve as stools) can be painted any colour ways you like. A concentric circle pattern is quite effective.
You can paint your polished black pebbles with a cross or a nought to distinguish them from each other. In theory you won’t need more than five pebbles with crosses and five pebbles with noughts. You may choose to paint a few spare ones though.
For more information on the game and its history, try these links: