July 1, 2014

I am very pleased to present the game of Tic-Tac-Toe Products:

Tic Tac Toe Products Move 1

This is a really fun game which also happens to review multiplication facts! It’s one of my favorite math games to teach and play with my students. It’s super simple, and kids can play several rounds of this without noticing the time passing! Like most of the games I will share, it’s also very portable. If your child has learned their multiplication facts, you should really give it a go! Fun for the whole family.

The directions to play are below. Please let me know how it goes if you try it!




Math Concepts Covered: Multiplication fact practice
Materials: Game board, two sets of colored game pieces (bingo chips, colored paper squares, etc.), two paper clips
# of Players: 2
Grades: 3-6

OBJECT OF THE GAME: Get four in a row!


  1. Divide the game pieces up so each player has one color.
  2. Player 1 places both paperclips over two numbers on the bottom of the board. She then places her game piece over the product of those two numbers. For example, paperclips at a 3 and a 6 means she uses her game piece to cover the 18 on the playing board.
    Tic Tac Toe Products Move 1
  3. Player 2 moves one of the paperclips to create a new product. For example, he can move the paperclip from the 3 to the 5. The product of 6 x 5 is 30, so he will use his game piece to cover up the square that says 30.Tic Tac Toe Products Move 2
  4. It is now Player 1’s turn again. She moves one of the paperclips to create a new product, and covers up her new square. In this example, She moved the 6 to the 4. She is multiplying 4 x 5 to get 20.
    Tic Tac Toe Products Move 3
  5. Continue in this fashion until someone gets four in a row:

Tic Tac Toe Products Move 4
Player 2 moves the 5 to the 7 to make 4 x 7 = 28.

Tic Tac Toe Products Move 5 Player 1 moves the 4 to the 3 to make 3 x 7 = 21.
Suddenly, Player 2 realizes that Player 1 can get four in a row with the number 24!
Tic Tac Toe Products Move 6Player 2 moves the 7 to the 8 to make 3 x 8 = 24.
Crisis averted! …Or is it?Tic Tac Toe Products Move 7Player 1 smiles with satisfaction and moves the 3 to the 2 to make 2 x 8 = 16.Tic Tac Toe Products WinnerFour in a row! Player 1 is the winner!



Q: Can I stack two paperclips on top of each other, like 6 x 6?
A: Yes. 

Q: Can I make four in a row going horizontally, vertically, or diagonally?
A: Yes. 

Q: Can I cover someone else’s game piece on the board?
A: No. Once a product is covered, it is gone. You cannot cover it again.

Q: Can I move both paperclips in one turn?
A: No. 


Discuss Strategies

Once the children have a few rounds under their belts, ask them what strategies they use and share some of your own with them, such as:

There are lots of other strategies, too, and it will help your child develop their mathematical thinking to discuss and share these strategies together! Seriously, these conversations are where incredible amounts of learning take place in the classroom, and it would be such a treasure for your child to be able to have them one-on-one with you!


You can modify this game to make it easier by making the goal 3-in-a-row instead of 4-in-a-row. Or, if your child is still learning their facts, let them use a multiplication table to look at. The game is supposed to be fun, rather than taxing.

You may notice your child just picking products they know. While it may feel like they’re missing out on the chance to play the game better because they’re just covering the squares they’re familiar with, at least they are reviewing those facts! If you notice this happening, you might want to write out a couple more useful facts for them. Once they are familiar with the new ones, add a couple more. Over time, as they keep referencing the cheat sheet you created, they may just start to memorize those facts! Don’t give them a whole bunch at a time, though. Keep it simple, so they can actually master some as they go.

Please let me know how it goes if you try it!

See more fun math games in my series on Fun Math Games for Children!

10 responses to “Math Game: Tic-Tac-Toe Products”

  1. Barbara Blough says:

    This is a great game! I think I am going to try to also adapt it to play/teach compatible numbers.

  2. Dakota says:

    Oh, this is awesome! I’ll have to remember it for when we get to the multiplication stage.

    Oh, also, I saw your “saying sorry” post shared on Facebook through an entirely different avenue that I wouldn’t have expected. 😀

  3. Angela says:

    Yes, we played this game in your classroom when I visited and the kids were having such a good time!

  4. Florence says:

    Woooow, that game is awesome!!! I LOVE it!!! It’s really easy to put together, too!! Next september, I’ll be using that one for sure!!!

  5. Karen Madden says:

    What happens if one child notices the other child multiplied wrong?

    • joellen says:

      I think that’s great– it means she is doing even more multiplication practice by checking the other’s work :). She should definitely speak up and let the other person know!