6 Great Pen and Paper Games to Play as a Family

Yes, it is possible to play together and have fun as a family with just a pen and paper. Don't miss this article!
6 Great Pen and Paper Games to Play as a Family

Last update: 10 September, 2020

Electronic devices, as well as social networks and the Internet make those boring moments we usually have at home much more bearable because of all the new content we can find instantly. So why should we even think about pen and paper games?

We believe that we should be using that free time when we’re at a loose end to have fun with those around us. One of the best options you should always have is to do fun activities with your family.

Without a doubt, one of the best activities we can do as a family is to play games. That’s why today we’ll be showing you some pen and paper games to play as a family. Why not take some time out from your chores and responsibilities and have some fun and laughter together.

Shall we start?

Pen and paper games to play as a family


Although this has become one of the most downloaded games on digital platforms in recent months, this legendary game started out in a pen and paper format. It consists of drawing a grid and including in it several different concepts, such as:

  • Name
  • Food
  • Animal
  • City

Secondly, you have to choose a letter of the alphabet by drawing it out of a “hat.” With the letter that comes out, you have to fill in each of the above categories with words containing that letter. When one of the players has finished they shout “Stop – for me and for everyone.” Everyone has to stop and count up the points. The person with the most points wins. The scoring is as follows:

  • 10 points if no one has repeated the word
  • 5 points if the word is repeated by another player
  • 0 points if you haven’t written any word


Without a doubt, one of the most traditional and legendary family games using only pen and paper is the game of Hangman. It consists of thinking of a word and drawing as many dashes as there are letters in the word. The opposing team or person has to guess letters.

If their letter is in the chosen word, then the other player writes it in the correct position. However, if they get it wrong, then they have to draw the different parts of a hangman and the victim. If they complete the drawing before the person guesses the hidden word, then the game is over.

Three in a row (tic tac toe)

This is one of the simplest and most fun family games using only pen and paper. The objective is to place three X’s or three circles in a row on a three by three board square.

Each of the players will take it in turn and, in addition to trying to achieve their objective, they have to prevent their opponent from getting three in a row.


This traditional game is all about boats. Although many families have the board game that has a flip-up case with counters to represent the boats, this simple game can also be played with 2 sheets of paper and pens.

The objective is to “sink” all the other player’s boats by guessing where they are. The attacking player calls out the coordinates where they want to “fire their bombs.” After that, it’s the turn of the other player to take a shot.

Each player should keep their sheets hidden. Whenever one player hits every square of one of their opposing player’s boats, the player has to tell the player which boat they’ve “sunk.” The winner is the player that “sinks” all the other person’s boats first.

Who am I? / What am I?

On a card or sheet of paper cut in half, you need to write the name of a person, animal, or object. The team that writes it must give it to the other team to look at, without one of their members seeing it. That person must place the card on their forehead and try to guess what the word is through the clues of their teammates.


This is an ideal game for children who are learning to build sentences, and trying to use the different letters of the alphabet.

The game consists of choosing a letter and creating a whole sentence where each of the words begins with that letter, except for the prepositions and the articles.

An example would be the following: “Robert rode on a red river.” In this way, children will learn and have fun at the same time. The player who manages to make the longest sentences with the chosen letter is the winner.


All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Fernández Casero, F., García Rodríguez, J. M., González Nuño, Ó., Herrero Verdura, M., Prado Pérez, A., Quiroga Alonso, P. P., … & Villarino Samalea, R. (2008). Para jugar como jugábamos: recuperación de los juegos tradicionales del suroccidente asturiano. https://redined.educacion.gob.es/xmlui/bitstream/handle/11162/2608/01720092004706.pdf?sequence=1&isAllowed=y
  • Vargas Moreira, E. M. (2016). Incidencia de los juegos tradicionales en el desarrollo de las habilidades motrices en los alumnos de 9 a 11 años de edad de la Unidad Educativa San Juan, Parroquia San Juan, cantón Puebloviejo provincia de los Ríos (Bachelor’s thesis, Babahoyo: UTB, 2016).

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.