Play Mental Tic Tac Toe

You are on a long car trip and the kids have just about had it. They have listened to all the books on tape and have lost the game board for the travel game you packed. Now it is time to play mental tic tac toe using a board visible only in the minds of the players.


  1. Describe to your children how the invisible board looks, assigning numbers to mark each space, left to right, top to bottom, as follows:
    • One is the top left spot
    • Two is the top middle spot
    • Three is the top right spot
    • Four is the left spot, center line
    • Five is the dead center
    • Six is the the right spot, center line
    • Seven is the lower left spot
    • Eight is the lower middle spot
    • Nine is the the lower right spot

  2. Tell your children to claim a spot by announcing a number one through nine. Everyone now should visualize the appropriate spot and consider this spot taken.
  3. Choose your spot by giving another number. For example, if your children chose FIVE, they now control the dead center spot. You may choose to take SEVEN. Continue to visualize the board so that you will remember who is positioned where.
  4. Tell your child to take another spot. Perhaps they will try to block you by controlling spot THREE.
  5. Choose your next spot. In this case, NINE would be a good choice.
  6. Listen to your children now, who may say EIGHT. If they have not been paying attention, they may be losing the vision of the board and they may say FOUR instead.
    • If they say EIGHT, then offer congratulations and start again.
    • If they say FOUR, then you might wish to take EIGHT and say "I WIN"!


  • This game helps build short term memory and spatial sense.


  • You may discover that your children have better memory powers than you do. Be nice about it!

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