A reverse tic-tac-toe is a game you can play using apples and nut butter. The goal is (did you guess it?) NOT to be the person who uncovers three spots in a row.
Do you have super energetic kids who can’t wait to finish breakfast so they can run, jump, and cartwheel through your living room, but one hour later they are hungry again?
I came up with this game soon after I had my 4th child. After a sleepless night of taking care of a newborn, I was eager to come up with a way to keep my kids at the table a bit longer. It wasn’t just so I could stay off my feet. I also needed to get more food into them because I was tired of hearing “Mom, I’m hungry” the moment I cleaned up after breakfast.
The first few times, I simply made a grid on a dinner plate with almond butter, and we used cubes of red and green apples to play a traditional game of tic-tac-toe, red apples for Xs and green apples for Os. All the playing pieces have to be eaten at the end of the game, of course.
But one morning, I discovered we only had one apple left. How could we play the game with just one color? Little did I know that the shortage would help us create a better game, the one we’re still playing a year later. That’s how a reverse tic-tac-toe game was born! Read on for details.
Reverse tic-tac-toe with apples
What you need
Apple cubes or slices
Almond, peanut, or sunflower butter to “draw” a grid
NOTE: You can also build your grid with pretzel sticks, cereal, leeks, or rows of Cheerios. Invite your kids to help.
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Chop an apple into cubes or slices.
How to play
Make a 3×3 grid on a plate with whatever food you are using. Here we are using butter from sunflower seeds.
Set down nine apple cubes, one in each section. It’s a reverse game, so you start with the filled grid.
Take turns picking up the apple cubes and eating them. The goal is (did you guess it?) NOT to be the person who uncovers three spots in a row (vertically, horizontally, or diagonally). It’s a reverse tic-tac-toe!
The loser licks the plate clean. Sometimes my kids actually try to lose the game while they are still hungry so they can lick the plate clean, but once they start getting full, they try to come up with a good strategy to win. That’s how I know they ate enough food.
Note: We also play this game with whipped cream in place of nut butter. I simply put a bit of heavy whipping cream in a cup, and we use this handy little device to make it thick.
Do you play table games with your kids? The fun of simple table games with kids is undeniable, but with reverse tic-tac-toe, you also pack in some strategy practice and nutritional value. Win-win-win.