Being a teacher and a mom I am always looking for fun, educational games to play with my class and my children. Today I decided that for our lots to learn activity, we were going to play tic tact toe with coloured water. This activity uses a few simple materials which I have to say often seems to provide the best kind of entertainment and this particular activity did not disappoint!


My class had an absolute blast playing the age-old tic-tac-toe game with a colourful twist!


What do you need?

9 clear cups

3 squeeze bottles/cups

3 empty containers

Water in primary colours


How to play


Fill up the squeeze bottles with red, blue and yellow coloured water.


Fill up the containers with red, blue and yellow coloured water.


You don’t have to use squeeze bottles, but it does make things a little easier and a little less messy! Squeeze bottles are handy while playing and it gives the child more control on the amount of coloured water being dispensed.


Easy water play idea using just one colour.


This water play idea is simple – make 2 secondary colours using the primary colour game board. Your x’s are red and 0’s are blue. Each player chooses a primary colour and the game proceeds like regular tic-tac-toe



Our starting set up!


Draw a tic tac toe game board and place a clear cup in each box.


Fill all the 9 cups with the same colour water. We chose yellow.


I asked my class “what colours can you make with yellow?” they all shouted “Orange!!” with great enthusiasm!


I do find that it is much easier for children to answer “what makes red and yellow?” but the question “how do you make orange with yellow?” takes a bit of processing.


Let’s get down to business!


One of my little tots chose to use the red coloured water and I decided on the blue coloured water and we started playing colour mixing tic tac toe!

Just start playing like regular tic tac toe while each player makes a different secondary colour – here we made orange with the red water and mine turned out green as I used the blue coloured water. The object of the game is to get 3 of your colours in a row. This can either be diagonally across the board or straight up in a row or horizontally.




This game was pure fun! What’s not to love –  food colouring, water and tic-tac-toe?


With that final orange was the winning colour of the day! Sadly, I was beaten by a 4-year-old!



Mixing the different colours for our first game!



The winning board!


We played many, many rounds and after a while we ended in a tie! After each round dump the water and fill the cups again.




Once the game was finished the children had an absolute ball playing with the coloured water and splashing around with it. One of the girls was very quick to tell me that she was going to do something called “Star Wars colour mixing”. Apparently this means holding 2 of the coloured squeeze bottles and squeezing the water into a cup!


I know what you all must be thinking….THE MESS, THE STAINS! Don’t worry it didn’t stain since the colours were diluted in large amounts of water, and the mess….. well they are 4 year olds playing with coloured water!



Now we just making a mess!


Simple play ideas for kids have to be just that – simple. All we used for this hit of an activity was coloured water and we had a grand time! Even without a game, just coloured water in itself is a fantastic sensory play item which can be used in number of children’s activities.


Contributed by Michelle Webber of Clamber Club Sports Glenwood
Tel: 072 358 4459