Last week, my 6-year old cousin and I were bored as we waited for our family to prepare dinner. So we did what any bored pair of kids would do–we played Tic-Tac-Toe. However, since my 6-year old cousin is way too intelligent for his age, we kept tying every single game and inevitably became bored with that.
Then I suggested that we play “Connect Four” with the same piece of paper. For those unfamiliar with the game, the objective is to get 4 circles of the same color in a row before your opponent. In the original game, there is a yellow board where you and your opponent can place checker-like pieces into the board.
My cousin was familiar with the game, but he was confused about how we could play the game since we didn’t own the actual board game. I just said, “I’ll draw squares on the paper and then whoever draws 4 circles in a row is the winner.” We played one game, and I won causing my cousin to become competitive. We played another game, and he won. We then played a 3rd game to determine who the champion would be.
As my cousin and I were caught up in our Connect Four battle, my other cousins were looking at the paper game we were playing. When my cousin noticed everyone staring, he said, “Hey this reminds me of SOS!” SOS is an easy game to prepare as well. All you have to do is draw a grid of squares on a piece of paper. Afterward, you have to try to write as many combinations of “SOS” as possible. I took a brand new sheet of 8″x 11″ paper and converted it into an 8×10 grid (so I drew 80 squares).
As we started playing, we became more excited about who would get the most “SOS” combinations. Eventually, my 23 year old sister asked if she could join in and we were all having fun trying to win. Even two of our cousins started their own SOS game on a separate piece of paper. Ultimately, I was the winner with 24 combinations followed by my sister then cousin. Even though I work with children often, I’m not easy on them just because they’re younger.
Although our initial intention was to kill time, It was incredible how a simple piece of paper could convert into an entertaining experience for multiple people. Even better, we didn’t play “mindless” games. Even though I was older than my cousin, I still had to be analytical and strategic or else I would lose. I’m definitely going to see if I can play other games with just a pencil and piece of paper.