3 Games You Can Play at Home with a Pencil and Paper

There are many games that you can play at home with just a pencil and paper. Today, we'll tell you about three that you can enjoy with your family.
3 Games You Can Play at Home with a Pencil and Paper
Ana Couñago

Written and verified by the psychologist Ana Couñago.

Last update: 27 December, 2022

In this day and age, most children have a multitude of games and toys in their homes to help them pass the time. However, any parent knows how fast children lose interest in these objects. It’s hard to entertain little ones in any way that doesn’t involve new technologies. 

But we want to offer some fun and entertaining alternatives… and all you need is a pencil and paper!

With so many modern toys and digital devices to choose from, we’ve all but forgotten about the most elemental activities.

And the truth is, with just a pencil and paper, children can have fun for hours. How? We’ll suggest three different games in this article that you and your family can enjoy right at home.

The activities you’ll discover below aren’t just the perfect antidote for boredom. They also help children develop several skills and abilities. Keep reading to discover more.

3 games you can play at home with a pencil and paper

1. The dot game

To get ready to play the dot game, you need to draw a grid of dots on a piece of paper. This will be your board game. You can also simply opt for a sheet of graph paper.

Once you’re ready, players (between 2 and 4) will take turns joining consecutive dots by drawing a horizontal or vertical line.

Diagonal lines aren’t allowed. Each player draws one line per turn.

3 Games You Can Play at Home with a Pencil and Paper

Any time players manage to close a square, they should write their initials inside to indicate that it belongs to them. What’s more, they get to take another turn. Once all of the squares are closed, the game is over.

Then, you count how many squares each player closed, and whoever got the most is the winner. This game boosts attention, concentration, mental agility, and fine motor skills.

2. Stop, one of the best games to play with a pencil and paper

In this game, each player will have to create a horizontal table on a piece of paper with seven columns.

Above the columns, players will write down the categories they’ve already agreed upon. For example, first names, countries, colors, animals, sports, movie titles, etc.

Then players will choose a letter from the alphabet at random. The objective of the game is to complete each category with a word that starts with the chosen letter. 

The player who manages to complete all 7 categories should yell “stop.” At that point, all players need to set down their pencils and add up their points in the following way:

  • 10 points for each correct response that no other player wrote down
  • 5 points for each correct response that at least one other player repeated
  • 0 points for incorrect answers or blank spaces

You can repeat the game as many times as you want, always using a different letter of the alphabet. Once you finish the game, whoever earned the most total points is the winner.

This game allows participants to practice graphomotor skills, memory, attention, and mental agility.

3. Hangman

This classic and simple game consists of guessing a word, phrase, or sentence based on the letters players suggest during each turn. But you need to be careful because the number of turns you have is limited!

3 Games You Can Play at Home with a Pencil and Paper

To get started, one of the players needs to choose a secret word, phrase, or sentence for the rest of the players to guess. Then, he or she will make a row of dashes – one dash for each letter.

In the case of phrases and sentences, the player should also leave a space between each word. The player also needs to draw a gallows, like the one you see above.

Then, the rest of the players need to take turns guessing different letters from the alphabet…

  • If they guess a letter that’s in the word, phrase, or sentence, then the lead player will write the letter in the correct position(s).
  • The lead player will sketch one piece of a stick figure in the gallows, starting with the head, each time the rest of the players guess a letter that’s incorrect.

One of the players needs to guess the word, phrase, or sentence before the stick figure is complete – with a head, body, arms, and legs.

This game helps to develop writing, spelling, attention, fine motor, communication, and language skills.

Did you play any of these games when you were a kid? Why not try them out with your own children now? Grab a pencil and paper and get ready for some good old-fashioned fun!

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