Do you remember playing Tetris as a child? The game of stacking pieces had seven shapes, each constructed from four squares. Those pieces are called “tetrominoes” and they are the basis for this printable challenge.
In the original video game, random pieces dropped from the top of the screen. The player had to fit them in the best way possible, leaving no gaps. In this version, players pull pieces from a bag and fill in the printable game board from the bottom to the top.
It’s a little like going back in time as you play and plan out the best building process possible!
What You Need
- Tetris Challenge printable template (download here)
- Opaque zip pouch or bag
Print the tetrominoes PDF on the card stock and cut out the pieces. You’ll want to have all the pieces from both pages of the file so you can play a complete game.
Place all the tetromino pieces in the pouch and mix them up.
To play in the style of classic Tetris, reach inside…
…and pull out your first piece. Try not to feel around for the piece you want because it’s a better challenge if you get a random piece.
Place your piece along the bottom of the board. Remember, you can play the piece wherever you want, but it does need to rest on the bottom, as though it has dropped from the top of the playing area.
Reach into the bag and pull out the next piece. Again place it on the board following the same guide as above, rotating as you wish.
Keep doing this as you fill in and build up the stack of tetrominoes.
If you played Tetris, you may remember that it gave you the ability to slide pieces over to fit in a gap once they reached the bottom. You can apply that same rule here if you want so that you can fit things in better.
Some of the pieces will look a little sad when they’re upside down, but don’t worry. They’re still happy to help fit on the board in the best possible way!
Unlike Tetris, the lines of pieces won’t be disappearing as you fill them in. That means that the challenge gets extra tricky as you reach the top.
At a certain point, you won’t be able to place a piece. There just won’t be room for it! In the example above, a yellow piece would have fit in that line of four squares, but all of them were already on the board. This means the game is over.
Count up the empty squares on the board. This is your score, and in this case it would be 8. The goal of the game is to have the lowest score possible, so play again to see if you can get a lower score!
For a two-player version, print two sets and battle each other for the lowest score. You could even up the challenge by selecting the next piece for the opposite player. Each player will need to use strategy, both in choosing a piece for their opponent and placement of the piece they receive.
In addition to the game, you can also use the tetromino pieces to create mosaics or other designs. It’s especially fun to try and make them symmetrical. Just start at the center and make patterns that work their way out.
You might also see if you can use the pieces to form a larger shape, such as a 4×8 square rectangle, a staircase, or the longest 2 square high line possible.
If you want to make the game a little easier, you can leave the pieces out of the pouch. This lets younger children choose the pieces they want to use.
Extend this even further by attaching magnets to the back of the pieces so you can play on a refrigerator or magnet board!