Toy Talk- Connect 4

You’re probably thinking, Connect 4?? how is that a good toy for pediatrics? Trust me though, I use it a lot!  I used this toy so much on one of my physical therapy internships, that they bought it for me as a good bye gift when I finished 🙂


Though the game says ages 6 and up, I start using this toy for patients around 15-18 months of age.  I start usually when I’m no longer scared they’re going to eat the play pieces!  Physical therapists are a fan of toys with lots of pieces because that means you can do a number of repetitions when you’re practicing learning a new skill.

I like this toy because it is almost like the piggy bank toy I like that I discussed in this post, but this is more a visual piggy bank, where you can see where the coins fall.

Here are more reasons why this is a great toy/game.

Physical Therapy/ Gross motor reasons:

  • The height of the toy is great when you’re working on balance activities.  I place this toy on various surfaces and make my kiddos reach up high to place the checkers in the slots.  I also place it low to make my patients squat repeatedly to place the checkers in the slots.
  • The small slots can make this a balance game as well, where I place patients on surfaces that are hard to balance on, and then make them focus on the small target.
  • I use this with patients in sitting as well, making them reach in different directions to place the checkers.
  • Great to use with older patients to keep them more engaged in the activity since it can be a competitive game.
  • I also place the checkers in various places around an obstacle course and have my patients collect the checkers

Occupational Therapy/ Fine motor reasons:

  • The obvious one is that the checkers can help patients work on various grasping techniques
  • You can practice stacking the checkers
  • Can practice reaching towards a target and releasing the checker into the slot
  • Can work on planning an activity out and strategizing to match 4 checkers in a row with older patients
  • The new version of Connect 4 also has a knockout part of the game, where you can poke out the bottom row of checkers, which can work on pointing ( you can see that in the game on the Right above).
  • You can also hide the checkers in various textures to work on textural sensitivities, such as hiding it in play-dough  which also works on hand strength to dig the checker out.  You can also hide checkers in rice or pasta or sand.

Play skill reasons:

  • Game can help work with learning colors and matching colors
  • Can work on counting checkers
  • Can work on memory by hiding them and looking for the checkers
  • Can work on learning rules by trying to play by the various rules of the game
  • Can work on cleaning up by placing everything back in the boxes since there’s only 2 big pieces and the checkers
  • Can work on copying plans/patterns by having preset patterns and trying replicate them
  • Works on sharing and taking turns

Are there any other ways you like to play Connect 4??

Categories: Toy Talk

Tags: ,

3 replies


  1. Toy Talk- Let’s Go Fishin’ « Beyond Basic Play
  2. The In-Home Pediatric Physical Therapist’s Toolbox « Beyond Basic Play
  3. The In-Home Pediatric Physical Therapist’s Toolbox | Beyond Basic Play

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