Play Plan : Connect Four

General Information

Prerequisites: Counting
Play arena: Tactile Connect Four Board consisting of coins of 2 types with 2 different textures.
Alternatively, a regular Connect Four Board with one set of coloured coins are marked with a tactile sticker at the centre.
Number of players: 2 to 5

Game Overview and Basic Rules for Play

The objective of this game is to make a straight line of four with the coins of the same texture. The line can be vertical, horizontal or diagonal.
This game is played on a vertical board which has 7 hollow columns and 6 rows. Each column has a hole in the upper part of the board, where the coins are introduced. There is a window for every square, so that the coins can be seen or felt from both sides.
In short, it is a vertical board with 42 windows distributed in 6 rows and 7 columns.
Both players have a set of 21 thin pieces (like coins); each of them uses a set with different texture. The board is empty at the start of the game.

Play Session Plans:

Session 1: Beginners Session – Counting

  • Introduce the board and the coins to children. Allow them to explore the board. Explain that there are 6 rows and 7 columns. Coins are dropped from the upper holes. They slide downward and settle down on the last row or pile up on the last coin if introduced in the same column earlier.
  • Take one coin from each set and ask them to understand the difference. They would be able to feel different textures on both coins. Inform that there are a total of 42 coins, 21 coins have the same texture.
  • Explain the seating position to them. This game is played between 2 players, they would sit opposite each other. The board is kept perpendicular between them.
  • There are few variations in this session.
  • First variation is for those children who have difficulty in counting numbers. The first player would think about any random number between 1 to 21 and drop coins in the board while counting loud. The second player would follow and drop the same number of coins in the board.
  • The next variation can be played in the form of skip counting. The players are expected to be proficient in basic counting. Here, the first player would drop coins by counting in 2s (2, 4, 6 and so on). They can continue playing in the same manner by doing skip counting of 3, 4 and 5.
  • It would be helpful if they also count how many coins are remaining with them as and when they are dropping coins on the board. This would help them to practice backward counting simultaneously.

Session 2: Connecting the dots

  • Once children have played the beginners level a sufficient number of times, explain the rules of playing the actual game. Before starting, players decide among themselves as who will be the first player. Each player drops a coin in the board alternately.
  • The winner is the first player who gets a straight line made with four coins of the same type or texture with no gaps between them. The four coins can be vertical, horizontal or diagonal.
  • Start playing a few practice games to understand the game better.
  • Observe whether children have understood the rules thoroughly and are playing correctly.

Session 3: Symmetry

  • Introduce this session when children are thorough with the game and have played enough number of times.
  • This session is about creating symmetry. A player uses only the first 3 columns from his side of the board.
  • Distribute coins equally with a mix of both textures.
  • The first player drops a coin, then the other player follows the same pattern of dropping coins on his side of the board. The idea is to create symmetrical designs on both sides of the board.
  • To make this game a little more interesting, a player can make a design of his choice on his side of the board using 10 to 15 coins at one go. The other player tries to make the same design on the other side of the board.
  • Both of them would check if the designs are similar. Whichever player matches the design maximum number of times successfully, wins the game series.

Session 4: Pattern

  • One player starts by making any pattern by completely filling the first row with a mix of both types of coins. The next player would form the same pattern on top of the first row.
  • This game can continue with 4 more players making the same pattern in their respective rows.
  • Observe how creative they can get in making patterns of their own.
  • Note that this game of pattern formation can be played between 2 to 5 players either in horizontal or vertical way on the board.