Board game hack: turn Connect 4 into a reading activity

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Photos by Stephanie Kaloi.

Before I stumbled across the concept online, it never occurred to me that a game like Connect 4 could double as a reading activity. The pin itself didn’t link to the original source but the photos supplied were straight-forward enough to wing it on my own.

I found a list of 100 must-know words online — easy words, the beginning blocks of reading — and started on my merry reading game way. I also had a little fun and added a few key pop cultural references that dude will get… just because. Here’s how you can make your own:

What you need

  • Connect 4 — it’s $20 online, but I found mine for $2 at Goodwill
  • Circle stickers
  • A marker

How you do it

This is really super easy!

First, Pick your words and write them on the stickers. You only want stickers on ONE side of the pieces (I chose the side that reads “Connect 4” just to make it easy).

When you’re ready to play, let your kid pick a color and then give him or her all of the pieces sticker side down.

Play the game as you would, but every time it’s your kid turn ask him or her to pick up a face down piece and read the word. If they get it wrong, let them know what the word is and play on. If they get it right, celebrate!

Also, just to keep it real, here’s what my somewhat temperamental four-year-old thought of the game — and he’s a big time fan of reading:

Oohhh well. I’ll try again!

Comments on Board game hack: turn Connect 4 into a reading activity

  1. As an extra bonus, Connect 4 is a fabulous tool for building fine motor skills (pincer grasp). Little kids who are too young to read or too young to understand how the game works can still have a blast putting the pieces in the slots and reaping the motor skill benefits!

  2. Oh man, thanks for this, Stephanie! I’m totally on the lookout for good literacy games and activities I can do with the 7-year-old I tutor, since she’s pretty resistant to just regular reading but does enjoy any non-traditional reading/writing activities we do.


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