This holiday break I went shopping for games that my students could play with their peers. I decided to adapt the game Connect Four, which is a classic game that many children enjoy playing. Each player tries to line up four chips in a row (horizontally, vertically or diagonally). This game gives players a chance to practice matching, tactile discrimination, directionalty, spatial orientation, and counting skills, while enjoying a recreational activity with peers. Social skills, including turn taking and interacting with peers, are also a natural part of the game, and an important part of the Expanded Core Curriculum (ECC).
I looked at typical stores and then decided to try my luck at five Below. five Below is a dollar store with items priced $5 or less. I found their version of Connect Four and bought several to adapt. The cost here was $5 where elsewhere it was $10 or more.
I tried several textures (felt, foam, etc.), but found they were too thick to allow the chip to slide down the game frame. Luckily I had brought a box of APH’s Carousel of Textures home with me! I used the red rough vinyl texture and added a double-backed adhesive sheet to one side of it. I chose to adapt the red chip as I had already used the yellow vinyls in the box.
I used a ½ inch paper shapers punch – circle, which can be purchased at any crafting store, but I found Amazon to be the cheapest without a coupon. The ½ inch circle was a near perfect fit for the center of the red chip and once added, the pieces slide easily down the game frame! When adapting the chip, remember to adapt both sides of the chip.
I’ll teach my students how to play the game before sending it into the classroom. This enables the student to start playing with students who already know how to play the game without a learning curve for them OR the opportunity to teach a peer how to play the game. Teaching their peers how to play a game gives the student an opportunity to be the expert.