Keep kids engaged on plane rides and in the car with fun and simple games that only require paper and pencil (or a couple colored pens). These games will challenge kids and keep them entertained for hours.
- Dots and Boxes. Remember the time it took to form an array of dots across the page? To play Dots, you need a square of dots on the page (start with 6x6 and challenge your kids to go up to 30x30 or more). Once the square is created, players (2 or more) take turns with a different color pen creating line segments between dots. When a player forms a square with their line, they may put their initial in that square and play again. The game continues until all the lines between the dots have been drawn.
- Tic Tac Toe. The simple game of tic tac toe is a two player game of Xs and Os. Play begins with nine spaces on a paper created by crossing two perpendicular sets of two parallel lines. One player begins (take turns being the first player) by placing an X in one square. The next player draws an O in another square. The game continues until there are three Xs or Os in a row or all squares are filled--a draw game, also called cat’s.
- Sim. Draw six dots in a hexagon. Two players take turns drawing line segments between each dot in their own color pen. The object of the game is to avoid drawing a triangle in your color pen.
- Pictionary. Players secretly write down common phrases on pieces of paper and fold them up. The first chosen artist randomly picks a phrase then must draw and get the others to guess the phrase without talking or drawing letters or symbols. Once guessed correctly, a new artists is picked. Variation: instead of common phrases, write books, characters/celebrities or films.
- Paper Telephone. Three or more people each begin with a piece of paper. At the top of the page, they all draw a picture and pass the paper to the next player. With this new piece of paper, each person writes a caption sentence below the picture then folds the top of the paper over so only the sentence can be seen. This piece of paper is then passed to the next player who will draw a picture to go along with the sentence. Each player again folds the paper, now so only the picture can be seen and passes it along. The game continues until there is no more room and every player can open up the paper and be amused!
- Bulls and Cows, Sprout, Battleship and more fun games! Here’s a great resource with more pencil and paper games to play: http://www.papg.com/.
What are your favorite paper and pencil games?
Here are more fun games to play with just a piece of paper.