Play It Forward Therapy

Tic Tac Toe Cookie

Tic Tac Toe Cookie

The taste of sweet success doesn’t get any better after winning a game of Valentine Cookie Tic Tac Toe.  In fact, win or lose, nothing beats a board game that you can eat!

Kids will love playing tic tac toe while improving their fine motor coordination, direction following and kitchen skills.  Decorate and make these with a friend to encourage social skills, sharing and turn taking.

1. Here’s what you’ll need

  • 1 Square graham cracker
  • 4 Pretzel sticks
  • White Frosting
  • Candy hearts.  Chose 2 different colors.  You will need  3-5 of each color.
  • Tools:  Dull knife or spreader (great for little hands)


1. Spread the frosting on top of the graham cracker.

2. Place two pretzel sticks vertically, leaving enough space for your candy game pieces to fit in between.

3. Spread a small amount of frosting on the length of the pretzel stick.

4. Lay across and repeat with the second pretzel stick.

Skills Addressed

Fine Motor Skills: 

  • Use your “Pincher Fingers”. Encourage your child to pick up the candy heart pieces by isolating the thumb and index finger, while keeping the other fingers curled in against the palm of their hand.  This promotes development of the arches of the hand and precision grasp.

Utensil Use:  Spreading the frosting is great practice and will come in handy when it’s time to pack sandwiches for lunch!

To increase the challenge…

  • Use small tongs or kid chopsticks to place the game pieces on instead of your fingers
  • Lie down on your tummy and support yourself on your elbows while playing on the floor.  Don’t forge to put our game on a plate

Try your luck by playing around with other types of snack foods and textures.

  • Cut the crusts off a piece of bread. Set aside.
  • For the game pieces, use small pieces of fruit such as sliced bananas, blue berries, halved grapes or cereal.
  • Replace the frosting with cream cheese, peanut butter or any other type of sandwich spread.

Remember, it’s OK to play with your food!

As a matter of fact, one aspect of sensory-based feeding therapy includes the opportunity for children to play with their food.  The primary goal of this type of therapy approach is to expose the child to various types of food textures, tastes and smells as a preliminary step to increasing their food repertoire without the pressure of eating.  When a child is playing, creating or engrossed in a game, this positive experience provides him or her with the opportunity to interact with foods they otherwise may not tolerate. Consider offering different “game piece” options using a combination of preferred and non preferred snack foods as an alternative way to introduce different tastes, colors, shapes and textures. 

Remember, in occupational therapy, it’s OK to have fun with your food!

For more fun ideas, take a ride through the Valentine Car Wash or Laser Maze Obstacle Course.