Skill Practice With Connect Four

                                                                Toddler Workbox

What’s in the workbox today?  A fun game to play.

Connect Four is a fun game that my whole family loves to play.  It is a game of strategy,  and is recommend for ages 6 and older.

But did you know you can help your toddler, and preschooler too, with many skills by allowing him (or her) to play Connect Four by himself?

Once you get over the fear of him loosing pieces to the game, set out a game in his workbox.  Just kidding, there is no need to be afraid of loosing pieces, as you can find this game at lots of garage sales and thrift stores and its a great idea to pick up a couple so you have spare parts, just in case.   This game comes in different sizes and a smaller size game fits nicely in a workbox.

Also in our family, more than two kids want to play at a time, so having a couple of these games on hand lets us all play, and even have tournaments and switch off players.

Free Play

Free play is my favorite.  Just let your toddler play on his own, placing the disks into the slots.  He will be thrilled at his accomplishment of getting them into the holder and watching them slide down the slots into position.  It helps him with awareness of his environment, as he sees his progress, and how his choices impact the colors, and patterns that appear.

Lots of eye hand coordination and fine motor skill is involved in picking up one disk from the pile, and putting it into the slots.

Recognition and thinking skill are involved in making patterns, designs, counting, and sorting.

You might even see some artistic flare in your tot as they come up with fun designs and great big smiles.

Guided Play
You can also work with guided play ideas.

You can try all of these ideas out on the same day, or use them on different days.  I prefer to use them on different days. 

Make patterns
Make a pattern on the table and have him repeat it on the game.  
Make a pattern on one collum of slots and have him repeat the pattern in the next collum. 
As their skills improve, you could draw out a page of patterns you want them to practice, and eventually they may be able to do it independently.

The game has wonderful bright colors to sort.  I love working with two colors at a time with my toddler.  Comparing the colors helps him remember them better.
Color sort into piles. 
Discuss the two colors. 
Try using only one color at a time to fill the slots.  
Call out the name of the color you want him to use. 
Alternate every other color, etc.

Practice counting to four or more. 
You could have the child place four of a color, then change and place four of the other color.  
This skill will help him get ready to play the real game of connect four. 
But they can also have fun counting to ten or twenty, whatever their skill level may be.

Two by two:
Have the child practice placing two disks, one in each hand, at the same time in the slots.   This helps them learn to coordinate their left and right sides.  This can be lots of fun.

Set out an hour glass timer like for one minute or three minute and have the child race the timer to see how many disks they can place into the slots before time runs out.

Heads or Tales:
Flip a coin.  If it lands on heads, you put in one color.  If it lands on tales, then you put in the other color.  In the end, did you have more head or tale tosses?  As your child gets older, they can learn to graph the results of their tosses.

Art Practice:
Besides practicing patterns and designs, draw a circle on a piece of paper and have the child lay the disks onto the circle.  They could just cover the line, or fill in the circle.  Try other shapes too.
Place the disks on a picture to make certain objects such as flowers, trees, animals, or spell their name.

The more ways you incorporate using the disks in your child’s hands, the more ways your child’s brain will process the skills. 

Eventually you can teach them the rules of the game, but until then, just have fun playing in various ways with the pieces.

Soon your child will be “connecting” all the fun learning you have been doing together, and they might even beat you at a real game of Connect Four!

This post will be linked up with
No Time For Flash Cards
We Play
The Play Academy
ABC and 123
High Paw

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This entry was posted in Activity Tray, Homeschool, Preschool, Toddler-Tot School, Tot Tray, Workbox on by .

About Melinda Weiser

I am a sinner, saved by grace. I am on a journey and offer to share my story with the hope that it will bless you. My one desire is to bring glory to my creator. I am a wife and the mother of 6 children, plus two in heaven. I enjoy homeschooling, research, teaching, homesteading, natural gardening, grass based farming, cooking, fresh raw milk, herbs, children, midwifery, and music. I am a writer, biblical mentor, and also work part time in the healthy foods and vitamin business I have a BSW degree from Kansas State University, and trained professionally as a medical social worker, biblical counselor, tutor, and vocal performer. Thank you for stopping by to read about our homeschool and family life adventures. Be blessed!

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