Tapatan game


This game is at the same time both simple and complex. Beginners may find it challenging to keep track of all of the potential rows of 3 that can be made (young children often fail to notice the diagonal), and may not notice when the other player is about to make a row of 3. Once they learn how to block, they may focus on blocking, and fail to notice a row of 3 that they could have made (children also do this in Tic-Tac-Toe). As they become better able to coordinate these 2 goals (getting 3 in a row and blocking the other player from doing so), they may begin to notice how they can trap a player and force certain moves. This requires that they think 2 or more moves ahead, and so helps children in developing the ability to plan.

If children like this game, they may also enjoy the Spider Game. When children have mastered this game and the Spider Game and no longer find them challenging, they can move onto Nine Men’s Morris, a similar game played with 18 markers (9 each) and a much larger board.

Recommended # of Players: 2

Click here to download the game.


Standards Addressed

Head Start Standards

Social and Emotional Development

Social Relationships

  • Communicates with familiar adults and accepts or requests guidance.
  • Cooperates with others.
  • Develops friendships with peers.
  • Establishes secure relationships with adults.
  • Uses socially appropriate behavior with peers and adults, such as helping, sharing, and taking turns.
  • Resolves conflict with peers alone and/or with adult intervention as appropriate.
  • Recognizes and labels other's emotions.
  • Expresses empathy and sympathy to peers.
  • Recognizes how actions affect others and accepts consequences of one's actions.

Self-Concept & Self-Efficacy

  • Demonstrates age-appropriate independence in a range of activities, routines, and tasks..
  • Demonstrates age-appropriate independence in decision making regarding activities and materials.


  • Recognizes and labels emotions.
  • Handles impulses and behavior with minimal direction from adults.
  • Follows simple rules, routines, and directions.
  • Shifts attention between tasks and moves through transitions with minimal direction from adults.

Emotional & Behavioral Health

  • Expresses a range of emotions appropriately, such as excitement, happiness, sadness, and fear.
  • Refrains from disruptive, aggressive, angry, or defiant behaviors.

Approaches to Learning

Initiative and Curiosity

  • Demonstrates flexibility, imagination, and inventiveness in approaching tasks and activities.
  • Demonstrates eagerness to learn about and discuss a range of topics, ideas, and tasks.
  • Asks questions and seeks new information.

Persistence & Attentiveness

  • Maintains interest in a project or activity until completed.
  • Sets goals and develops and follows through on plans.
  • Resists distractions, maintains attention, and continues the task at hand through frustration or challenges.


  • Plans, initiates, and completes learning activities with peers.
  • Joins in cooperative play with others and invites others to play.
  • Models or teaches peers.
  • Helps, shares, and cooperates in a group.

Logic and Reasoning

Reasoning & Problem Solving

  • Seeks multiple solutions to a question, task, or problem.
  • Recognizes cause and effect relationships.
  • Classifies, compares, and contrasts objects, events, and experiences.
  • Uses past knowledge to build new knowledge.

Language Development

Receptive Language

  • Attends to language during conversations, songs, stories, or other learning experiences.

Expressive Language

  • Engages in communication and conversation with others.
  • Uses language to express ideas and needs.
  • Engages in conversations with peers and adults

Mathematics Knowledge and Skills

Number Relationships & Operations

  • Uses a range of strategies, such as counting, subitizing, or matching, to compare quantity in two sets of objects and describes the comparison with terms, such as more, less, greater than, fewer, or equal to.

Geometry and Spatial Sense

  • Understands directionality, order, and position of objects, such as up, down, in front, behind.

Science Knowledge and Skills

Scientific Skills & Method

  • Participates in simple investigations to form hypotheses, gather observations, draw conclusions, and form generalizations.
  • Collects, describes, and records information through discussions, drawings, maps, and charts.
  • Describes and discusses predictions, explanations, and generalizations based on past experience.


Common Core Standards



Identify and describe shapes (squares, circles, triangles, rectangles, hexagons, cubes, cones, cylinders, and spheres).

  • K.G.1. Describe objects in the environment using names of shapes, and describe the relative positions of these objects using terms such as above, below, beside, in front of, behind, and next to.