tic tac toe
Tic-tac-toe is easy for young minds to play because there are so few rules. Matthew Davis Matthew Davis

Games based on placing objects in a row date back centuries among cultures all around the world. Variously referred to as Noughts and Crosses or Xs and Os, Tic-Tac-Toe is the synthesis of that playful impulse. It was even the basis for one of the first video games, called OXO, invented in 1952. But playing is not limited to pen, paper, or pixels. Tic-Tac-Toe games are available as magnetized travel packs, stand-alone board sets, combination games, and even furniture-grade display pieces. Here are three ways to get the kids off their screens and into some hands-on play.

Top Pick

This product comes in a 7.6-inch tin case. The Purple Cow

Simple games like Tic-Tac-Toe encourage critical thinking and strategy. A pocket edition will keep kids occupied and learning anywhere you go. They fit in a backpack or glove box and are usually magnetized to prevent loss.

Great Value

This product is made with non-toxic materials. Splinter Woodworking Co

Combination games offer two for the price of one. Just flip the board to switch between Tic-Tac-Toe and Checkers, Soduko, word games, and other brain teasers. That’s double the fun from the living room to the family campsite.

Fun to Play

This version has removable pieces that are easy to grab. Refinery and Co.

For a unique home accent, consider investing in a wooden game set. The oversized pieces have a tactile feel that makes each move more engaging, and they will hold up to years of friendly feuds.