Blog, Crafts for Kids, Uncategorized

Tic Tac Toe, Three in Row: DIY Mother’s Day Gifts for Kids

Image of handmade tic tac toe board with game pieces painted to look like insects

Looking for a quick craft to make with the kids or a DIY Mother’s Day gift, the kind of gift kids can make with as little of your help as possible? This super easy Tic Tac Toe board is sure to win big! This project is fun for kids who love to paint (which is pretty much every kid I’ve met, so far) and the boards are small and easy to pack for family road trips, camping, or take to a restaurant to play while you wait on your meal.

The supplies include:

  • 5×7 Unfinished Wooden Plaque
  • Craft Paint
  • Black and white glass gems (or other colored gems but I used the B&W ones)
  • Tape and/or permanent markers to make the lines on the board and the markers work also to give the details on the game pieces
  • Paper and a printer (if you plan to add the cute poem on the back of the board)
  • Mod Podge, as glue for the poem and a sealer to protect the painted boards

With all supplies gathered and at the ready, prep a painting station. I like to cover the table in old newspapers or whatever I have in the paper recycling bin, like cardboard boxes. Kid(s), in the meantime, can change into old clothes or designated paint shirt, if you have it. I also had paper plates, which are nice to let the projects sit on, to air dry. Let the kids pick two main colors of paint for the game pieces. The color of the game board can match, but can also be whatever the kids wants.

The first step in the project is to have the kids go willy-nilly painting the unfinished wooden plaque in whatever color they choose. The texture could end up a little lumpy if the paint starts to dry before the cover it edge to edge, but this is a craft made by kids. It doesn’t have to be perfect, just made by them for their lovely mom. Let the paint dry completely before moving to the next step. This is a great time to break and teach your kid(s) how to play tic, tac, toe if this game is new to them, depending on their age(s).


This next step will either require use of the tape (I used painters tape) or permanent marker and can be complicated or simple. I chose complicated because that’s just my style. To create the lines for the tic-tac-toe game board, I chose to use a very thin painters tape. After applying the tape lines, I painted over the tape and face of the board with back paint. I let the paint air dry, again. Then, I removed the tape from the board, revealing the color of the first layer of paint for the lines.  It would have been much easier to use the permanent marker and draw the lines… maybe with a ruler or straight edge or just freehand, whatever floats your boat.

While I completed the steps above, to paint the lines, my kids were working on the game pieces. The families I babysit for include siblings, toddlers and their school age older brother or sister. Siblings worked together to make one game board set for their mom as a together gift. With that arrangement, I gave the younger sibling five glass gems to paint one color and the older sibling the other five gems to paint the opponent color. The kids only had to paint half of the glass gems. They basically painted a line straight across the middle and then painted, pulling the paint from the middle stripe to the bottom, rounded edge of the gem. 

Using the bottom end of the paint brush, I dabbed the white paint to dot the eyes and the spots on the backs of the game pieces so they would look like little insects, or ladybugs. One of the kids pointed out that the permanent marker was much easier to use, than my method with the paint…. again, I have to make things complicated when there is a simpler approach. Of course, the paint on the pieces is likely to chip off easily. The kids and I covered each piece in a coat of Mod Podge to seal them and to protect them from chipping and it worked very well. My game is more than a year old and it still looks perfect. 

The final step is to print, cut out, and glue the poem to the back of the tic-tac-toe board. Okay, so it’s more like the final three or four steps, but this post is getting long and I’m sure you probably skipped the typed instructions and figured it out on your own by just looking at the photos, by now. 

I used the Mod Podge to not only glue the poem down, but once it was stuck in place, I also used it to add one thin layer to the front and back of the board to seal it and protect it. Before applying this coat, it would be cute to add a painted hand print or have the kid(s) sign then name and add a date it was made. These are adorable keepsakes, after all.


NOTE: If making for a Father’s Day gift, simply use the rhyme on the back of the board and replace the line “I love my Mommy So” with “I love my Daddy So!”

 The Cute Poem for the back of the Tic Tac Toe Board

Tic Tac Toe

Tic Tac Toe

Three in a Row

This Game is to Spend Time with You

And Time with You is my Favorite Thing to Do

I Love My Mommy So!

This is another step, again just because I’m an overachiever… If you want to have a cute/fun way to store your tic-tac-toe board, whip up a pull string bag or just buy one large enough to hold the board and pieces, so at least wider than 5 inches and taller than 7 inches. I even had the kids make these cute key chains with shrinky-dink sheets to decorate the pull string bag. If you haven’t tried shrinky-dink sheets, you should. They are fun and fun it good.


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