Tic-tac-toe, Dots and Squares, Name-place-thing-animal, word building. All these games have one thing in common (actually two things!). #1 All these games involve using paper and pencil ( okay pen also). #2 No child or adult hasn’t played these games. What is it about these games that make them so popular and nostalgic? To the point that we want to teach them to our children as well.
These pencil and paper games need no expensive tools or set-up. One pencil and any kind of paper and you are good to go! These two things are forever available anywhere and everywhere.
If you don’t have them in your bag, no one creates a fuss in lending them to you.
Some of these games (Pictionary, Battleship) have board game versions as well, yet they are as popular as pencil-paper games.
Any idea why?
Because they are SUPER-DUPER FUN TO PLAY!
Whether it’s your home, a restaurant, an airport, a train or a Doctor’s waiting room, you can play them anywhere and entertain yourself.
No complicated rules, no preparation needed. You can even entertain a preschooler with these pencil-paper games.
A parent can play it with their child. God knows I have every time I wanted them away from the screen.
Children can play them with each other.
Two adults can play them.
Are you convinced yet? Need I go more! haha.
Here’s the list of pencil-paper games that I think children should play and what their importance is.
There’s always science and a lot of thought behind the fun games that we play.
Games make us feel that they are only meant to pass time but there are so many skills and child developmental areas that are building while we are at it.
Pencil and Paper Games That Should Always be Played
Every language has made this game their own.
जीरो कांटा in Hindi dialect.
The name above is the American version.
Noughts and Crosses in Britain.
There are many variations of this game – the online version, another one with tiles and objects.
The most popular one is in pencil and paper.
Such is the reputation of this game. Children don’t even mind if their Maths teacher uses it to teach them Multiplication tables.
Even MIT students have learnt concepts through the game of Tic-Tac-Toe.
This game comes from ancient Egypt.
People have gone on record to say that this game is hard to lose. Unless of course, you’re not paying attention.
Skills that your child is developing while playing the game
- Strategy – how to block the square for your opponent.
- Observation – It’s impossible to lose the game if you’re paying attention.
Click here to download Tic-Tac-Toe template for FREE
2. Word Building
How to play
This game is for 2 players. You have to make a grid on paper. On that grid, one player starts with writing one letter. Another player adds to that letter and makes a word.
Players can go Horizontally, Vertically or Diagonally on the grid.
A No-fuss game, right?
The child is engaged (the game can go on hours without feeling bored) thinking of words from the letters available.
You get one point each for every letter in the word you make.
For eg: if the child makes the word LOG – they get 3 points.
The person who makes the most points wins the game.
Click here to download Word Building Game template for FREE
How to play
Players choose a letter and everyone has to write a name, place, thing and animal from that letter.
This process is done on a timeline. As soon as the first player finishes writing, the clock starts and everyone has to finish on the count of 10.
If the Letter of choice is S
There’s another variation of this pencil paper game. Where you can write a boy’s name, girl’s name, colour with the letter decided.
For eg: If it’s the letter ‘A’ then one has to write a boy’s name, a girl’s name and colour with the letter ‘A’.
Needless to say, this game engages and stimulates the child. They also to learn to think and write faster.
Click here to download Name-Place-Thing-Animal Game template for FREE
4. Pictionary (Pencil and Paper Game)
Played amongst 2 children at home on a small notepad with a pencil.
Played at grownup parties with 10+players on huge sheets of paper and markers.
Works well in both scenarios.
People like being challenged and made to think.
Pictionary does that.
Creating meanings and words out of pictures (most of the pictures are so poorly made). It’s intriguing how the human mind works.
Even though the board game version of this games exists, nothing beats the excitement of this pencil-paper game.
From naming objects to movies – all versions of this game are fun.
How to play
This pencil-paper game starts by drawing dots on a piece of paper. One player then makes a line from one dot to another – then makes a dot in the middle of that line.
The line can go any which way – it can also be a curve but the rule is each dot should only have 3 lines emerging from it.
The player to draw the last line is the winner.
By the end of the game, the paper starts looking nothing more than an abstract piece of art.
Try it, to know what I am talking about.
Click here to download Sprout Game template for FREE
6. Dots and Squares
This is my favourite pencil-paper game of all time. I play this game to date with my children.
How to Play
3-4 players can play.
Draw small dots like you would in a grid.
Then players start by drawing one line each to make a box. The player who closes the box writes their initial inside the box. The game continues until there are no boxes to make.
The player who makes the most boxes wins.
Click here to download Dots and Squares Game template for FREE
7. Connect 4 on Paper and Pencil
Everyone is aware of the board game version of this game.
It works well on pencil-paper as well.
How to play
The same principle applies – the player has to make a line of 4 dots or circles. Vertically, horizontally, diagonally with a pencil/pen.
One has to block/obstruct the other player from making their sequence.
A 2 player game. Builds on a child’s logical and quick-thinking skills.
When playing with smaller children, one can use 2 crayons or colour pencils to make it appealing.
This is such a great game and 100%, a giggle-creator.
How to play
This game works for 2 players or a playdate of 5-10 children.
Make a picture on a piece of paper. Fold it over and ask the next child to write a line on what that picture is.
Fold the paper over and pass on to next, to add another line on what they think the previous child has written. You can then repeat the process until each child gets their turn.
In the end, unfold the paper and read it out loud.
The story that comes out, in the end, is so whacky and funny and the children love it.
This game takes creative writing to a whole new level.
Click here to download Fold Over game template for FREE
Why do I feel that these games should always be played and remembered?
Having a good time should come without a price.
To engage in an activity for hours, one doesn’t need to spend absurd amounts of money.
Moreover, doing an activity that’s NOT ON A GADGET brings the ability to focus, an important skill indeed.
Pencil-paper work does not stimulate the mind into hyperactivity. It brings calm and peace.
Such games do bring families together. It involves meaningful exchange and not to forget, making memories.
I have written a blog on how to choose the correct pencil for your child. Click here to read.
Do you and your family play pencil-paper games?
If yes, then which ones? Do let us know in the comment section below.