Tablets and smartphones? No thanks, we play with pen and paper… 7 ideas to overcome boredom (while waiting)

How many times have we had to invent something to keep our kids entertained and to save them from dull moments? Very often, in my case… mostly while traveling, but also in restaurants or departures lounges/waiting rooms. In a previous post I drew a list of games with words that we really like, ma sometimes we also rely on “pen and paper”. The games are simple, and most likely the same old ones we used to play as kids, when tablets and smartphones did not exist.
So here’s 7 games with pen and paper…

For each game you need at least two players, ideally aged 6 or above, as well as a pencil (or a pen) and paper.

  1. Tic tac toe (or noughts and crosses):  you need to draw a grid a 3×3 grid (like this: #). Players, Xand O take turns marking the spaces. The player who succeeds in placing three of their marks in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal row, wins
  2. Words that start with…: You need to draw on a sheet as many horizontal lines as the cathegories you want to include (for example cities/countries/fruits & veggies, sticky things.. we also have swear words). You choose a letter and each player needs to find a words which starts with this letter. Each “unique” word, which nobody else wrote, is worth 10 points, if two opponents have the same word then it’s 5 points. At the end of the game, the winner is the one who has scored the most points.
  3. Hangman: one player thinks of a word and draws a row of dashes, representing each letter of the chosen word (e.g. home _ _ _ _). The guessing player(s) suggests a letter believed to occur in the word. If it does, player one writes the letter in the correct position, if it does not player one draws one element of a hanged man. When the drawing of the hanged man is completed, the guessing player(s) lose
  4. Fun monster drawing game: everyone takes a piece of paper, and folds it four parts (as if you were making a fan). Player 1 draws the head of a person or animal (use your imagination and add details such as horns, hair, antennas, etc.) without showing in to the other player(s). Player 2 folds the drawing and passes it to player 2, who draws the upper part of the body and arms. Fold and pass the drawing. Next part is the legs and the fourth part is the feet (once again, think of odd details such as fins, high heels, socks with a hole and so on). At this point, it is time for the big reveal: unfold the sheet and see your monsters.
  5. Fun sentences game: the game is the same as the fun monster drawing game, but instead of drawing a monster, you make up sentences. Player 1 writes a subject, player 2 a verb, then an object and finally a place. At the end, you will be able to read strange and fun sentences.
  6. Draw (or write about) an environment: choose a setting (ex.: zoo, desert, fridge, rec room, etc). In a minute the kids have to draw (or write the name of) as many elements as possible that belong to the chosen setting. The winner is the one who drew (or wrote) the most.
  7. Battleship: each player draws a grid. Letters go on top and numbers to the left. Together the players choose how many ships to draw, and the types. The two players take turn in trying to guess where the opponent’s ships are located (for ex. C2/B7, etc…). The player who wins is the one that has sunk all his opponent’s ships.

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