Garden Tic-Tac-Toe: Let the Outdoor Games Begin

Garden Tic-Tac-Toe: Let the Outdoor Games Begin

Outdoor Tic-Tac-Toe

Just because school is out for summer, we know you don’t want your children’s learning to stop. Not to worry! This DIY garden tic-tac-toe board is perfect for keeping young minds engaged in active play. It involves an outdoor adventure when your kiddos take a nature walk in search of rocks. It exercises their creativity when they can customize the game pieces. And it encourages them to play games that teach strategy. Did we mention it’s simply fun?


  • 10-12 Rocks
  • Wood Stump or Tile
  • Black Permanent Marker
  • Ruler
  • Paint (Your Choice of Colors)
  • Paint Brushes


1.  Select what surface you will use for your tic-tac-toe grid. We used a tree stump so it would organically fit within our garden, but tiles make great options too. Get creative in finding a household or natural item to repurpose. Ultimately, the size surface you use for your grid will determine what size rocks you will need.

2. Go on a rock hunt! Your kids will need to collect 10 to 12 appropriate sized rocks. They all need to be roughly the same size. Tip: Smooth, flat-surfaced rocks make for an easier canvas!

Find Flat and Smooth Rocks for Tic-Tac-Toe Pieces

3.  Once you have collected your rocks, lay them out on your tree stump or tile to make sure you can comfortably fit all 9 rocks — 3 across and 3 down. Now that you have the right size and quantity, you will need to rinse and dry your rocks so you have a clean surface to paint on.

Paint Your Rocks White

Let Your Rocks Dry in the Sun

4. It’s arts and crafts time! Paint all your rocks white using a non-toxic paint. Let the paint dry in the sun for 1 hour. While the game pieces are drying, you can have the kids transform the extras into a pet rock for dad or their favorite teacher. U ROCK DAD!

Paint Your Xs and Os

5. Using your choice of paint color, mark have your rocks with Xs and half with Os. Or inspire a love of nature and have the kids paint half as butterflies and half as flowers — whatever they love most!

Make Your Tic-Tac-Toe Grid

6. While your Xs and Os are drying, you can draw your grid on the base. Using a pencil and ruler, mark your stump with a grid. Make sure your rocks will fit comfortably inside each box. Then, using a black marker go over your pencil grid to make it permanent.

Enjoy Outdoor Tic-Tac-Toe

7. Now that your grid is done and your rocks are dry, all that is left to do is find a place to park your outdoor tic-tac-toe game.  Enjoy under the shade with a glass of cool water or fresh lemonade!


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