DIY outdoor tic-tac-toe game

Originally printed in the pages of Simply Family Magazine’s July 2017 issue. Never miss an issue, check out SFM’s digital editions, here article by Jessica Robbins Nothing says “Summer Nights” like bonfires, backyard games, and s’mores! I’m always on the quest for fun projects to get my kids involved in. This DIY, outdoor, tic-tac-toe game is so easy; it’s the perfect project to recruit your kids’ help for a little outdoor adventure.


  • 10 rocks
  • 1 wood stump
  • Paint marker


  1. Have your kiddos put on their adventure hats, go in the backyard, and pick out twelve rocks resembling the same shape and color. (Who knew such an easy task could be so fun? My kiddos loved it).
  1. Next, clean the rocks and let them dry. Use a paint marker to draw X’s on half of the rocks and O’s on the other half.
  1. Now, it’s time to find a tree stump to use for the actual playing board. (We had the perfect size tree stump sitting by the fire pit that I decided to convert to a tic-tac-toe tabletop.) If you don’t have any tree stumps lying around, you can purchase tree stump centerpieces at Hobby Lobby and Target.
  1. Using a paint marker, draw the grid to create the tic-tac-toe game on the wood stump.
That is it, a simple and fun project for you and your kids. My kids have spent so much time sitting in the backyard playing against each other. My husband and I may have snuck a couple competitive games in as well!


  • For another rustic, outdoor look, you could use a woodburner to burn the tic-tac-toe game into the surface of the wood. Adult supervision is required for this option.
  • To add an element of fun, paint glow-in-the-dark paint on the X’s and O’s. The kids would love that!
In Montana, we spend so much time indoors during the cold, winter months. This summer, my personal goal is to help my kids explore the outdoors and create games using items found right in our backyard. This tic-tac-toe, outdoor game is the perfect way to get the kids outside exploring and creating. about the author...Jessica Robbins has lived in Billings, MT for 15 years and is proud to call Montana home! She is married to her husband Zach and has two beautiful girls. She loves refurbishing furniture, crafting, and playing with her children.