These days, kids are likely to have their eyes focused on screens for entertainment. But there is something so satisfying about playing good, old-fashioned paper games. Step away from the devices and really connect with some games that will bring on plenty of laughter and bonding. These ten games make for perfect family fun and require little more than a sheet of paper, a writing utensil, and working brains!
Fun and Easy Paper Games for Small Families
Just because your family is tiny doesn't mean you can't have big-time fun with paper games. These entertaining and straightforward ideas will keep two siblings occupied or make an excellent idea for some quality parent-childing bonding time.
Dots and Boxes
Need a quick and easy game made just for you and your kiddo? Dots and Boxes, also known as The Dot Game, is simple enough for younger kids to learn how to play, can be made into shorter or longer versions, and is simply played with few materials.
You will need a sheet of paper, two pens, and two players to play. You can either create dots on the paper (trying to make sure the dots are as evenly spread apart as you can) or use pre-dotted paper. Use the printables above to simplify the preparation. The first person draws a line from one dot to another. The second player does the same. The goal here is to create a box by connecting dots. If a player draws the final line that creates a box, they put their initials in that box.
Players continue to draw lines and initial boxes until there are no more dots to connect. At this point, the paper will be filled with plenty of boxes and initials. Players receive a point for each initial they have on the paper, and the person with the most initialed boxes wins.
Everyone has heard of tic-tac-toe, but that game goes by so quickly! Take the concept of tic-tac-toe to a whole new level of fun with the game SOS. You can play this game with two people or create a tournament-style game where partners of two play each other, and then the winners face off!
Players start with grid-like paper, like the printables above. They take turns writing either an "S" or an "O" in the boxes. If a player completes a three-box sequence that reads "SOS," they put a line through it in their specifically colored marker. The game continues on like this until no more boxes are free to write a letter in. Players then add up the number of "SOS" sequences they have, and the person with the most is the game-winner. This game is played with two players and can be played with small grid paper or large grid paper, depending on how long you prefer the game to last.
If you have a few teens in your family, introduce them to the MASH game (remember playing this on the school bus with your middle school friends)?
To play MASH (which stands for Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House), create categories that might represent your future. You can make any categories you like (except for housing, since those are listed in the game's title.)
- Number of children you will have
- Types of pets
- What country or city you'll live in
- Mode of transportation
When choosing items for each category, be sure that one is really unappealing and one is a dream option. This will make the game far more entertaining!
One person is the fortune teller. They start with the "M" in MASH and then count through five of the category choices. The fifth word gets crossed out. Continue counting through the listed options, always crossing out the fifth choice. When one single choice is left in a category, circle it. The game continues until you have something circled in every category. Kids will think it's hilarious to finish the game and have their "future" read aloud to them.
To play Sprouts, you need two players, two differently colored pens, and a sheet of paper. One player begins by drawing two to six dots on the paper and then connects two dots with a line. The line can be straight, or it can wind around. Player one then places a dot somewhere on the line they just drew.
Player two then takes their turn. They draw a line between two more dots and then add a dot to the line they drew. This way of play is continued until no more moves can be made. Players must remember that:
- Lines can never cross each other or intersect.
- One dot may have up to three lines connecting to it, but never more than three lines.
When a player cannot make any move on the paper, they lose the game.
Paper Games for Big Broods
You might have a big, bustling family, but you don't have to turn to intricate and complicated games to satisfy everyone's entertainment needs. With loving company and a few pieces of paper, there are plenty of games you and your family can try out.
Paper games do not have to be all about the competition. You can have fun with papers and crafts by diving into origami. Gather your gang and learn the art of origami. Create origami tulips, frogs, or a throwing star. Before starting this game, be sure to purchase special origami paper.
Unscramble is an easy game to play for large families who have older children capable of reading and spelling long and challenging words. Every player receives a sheet of paper and a pen. On each sheet of paper are words, but the words are not in correct letter order. A timer is set, and players have to unscramble and correctly spell as many words on their paper as they possibly can. The person with the most words unscrambled wins.
This is another challenging and entertaining game for large families or groups. Players need to have a solid understanding of vocabulary to be contenders. Players first create a six-by-six grid (36 boxes total). The group playing agrees on five categories. A time is decided on (try ten minutes to begin.)
Players must think of items for each category for each letter of the word. For example, if a category was "food:"
FOOD: fruit, oats, octopus, donut.
The game is fairly straightforward, but click here for more in-depth rules on how to correctly play this fun family game.
Pictionary is a classic game that makes for a hilarious family game night. You need ideas of items to draw and large paper and a marker to draw with. Break the gang into two teams. A person from team one selects an idea out of a hat or basket. They must draw the item without using any words or gestures. The other players on their team guess the word. There is typically a time limit given per turn, and if the team guesses the item drawn, the drawer moves quickly onto another mystery item. The number of items guessed is the number of points that team earns.
Fortune Teller is a fun game that incorporates some origami folding skills and luck of the draw. Once you fashion your fortune teller origami item, add different colors to the outside flaps and numbers one to ten on the inside of each flap. Each number correlates with a "fortune."
To play, put a thumb and index finger in each of the four flaps. The person not holding the fortune teller chooses a color. The color is spelled out, and with each letter, the "teller" or person holding the paper fortune teller moves their thumbs and fingers back and forth, opening and closing the flaps. When the spelling of the color is complete, a number is revealed. Move the paper fortune teller to correspond with the number chosen. Behind the numbers are written fortunes. See which is revealed!
This paper and pen group game is hysterical, and the more people you have to play, the funnier it is. Everyone playing has a piece of paper taped to their back. The person at the end of the line draws something on the back of the player in front of them. That player has to redraw what they THINK was drawn onto their back onto the paper in front of them. This continues until the first player in line draws their version of what they felt drawn on their back. Check out the initial drawing and the last drawing. It is so funny to see the transformation from paper to paper.
Simple Paper Games Make the Best Games
Spending time playing games with your family is priceless, and it can be simply done! You don't have to go all out to create fun with the fam. These simple paper games prove that you can have hours of family fun with paper games as long as you have a sheet of paper, a pen, and wonderful kin.