5 Fun Family Games that Require Nothing but a Paper and Pencil
Long car journeys, time waiting in airports or on long flights can be challenging when you are travelling with bored or restless children.
But the solution needn’t be difficult or expensive – the Printing Report shows you simple solutions that require little more than a piece of paper and a pencil.
If you’re travelling with young children this summer, pack a notepad and pencil so you can beat the boredom of long journeys. You needn’t rely on screen time to keep the kids amused – and you’ll save on Internet connection charges and eliminate the worry of looking after expensive devices in crowded spaces.
Paper Eye-Spy Treasure Hunt
Ideal for younger children. Draw a number of landmarks or items you expect to see on your journey and give each of your children an identical sheet of sketches. For example, on a long car journey, you might draw a red car, a blue lorry, a row of poplar trees, a church spire, a tractor, etc. The winner is the first person to spot all the items sketched on their sheet of paper.
Noughts and Crosses/ Tic-Tac-Toe
This simple game is a so-obvious-I’d-forgotten-about-it solution to boredom that requires two players. One player is noughts (0). The other is crosses (X). Draw a 3 x 3 grid on a piece of paper and take it in turns to add your marker to the grid. The winner is the first person to get three in a row – either horizontally, vertically or diagonally.
Another grid-based game; this time a two-player game suited for older children. Agree the size of the grid: the more difficult you want the game to be, the larger you will need the grid to be.
We suggest a grid of 10 x 8. Label the horizontal access with letters and the vertical axis with numbers. Each player will need to draw two 10 x 8 grids on their paper – one which represents their grid of battleships, one which represents their opponent’s.
Fold the paper so the other player can’t see what you are drawing. Draw your own battleships on your own grid. We suggest two boats of 3 squares in length, three boats of 4 squares in length, and one of five squares in length.
Once you have drawn your battleships on your own grid, the players take it in turns to call out squares from the grid, e.g. A1, D5, etc. Mark off the squares on the second grid as you call them. The object of the game is to find the squares on which your opponent drew their battleships and thereby “sink” their ships. The winner is the first to sink all their opponent’s battleships.
Folding Paper Characters
Another classic game – which can have hilarious results. You’ll need at least two players to play, but it works best with more players. For each player you will need to fold a piece of paper in half widthways and then in half again. Unfold the sheets of paper so they are laid out flat again, with three folds running in parallel across the width.
Give each player a sheet of paper. Without allowing other players to see what you are drawing, draw the head of a character on the top quarter of the sheet of paper, drawing over the fold to show where the neck begins on the second quarter. Carefully fold the paper along the top fold so the drawing is hidden underneath and pass to the next player.
On the second quarter, draw the body of your character. End the waist just over the halfway line, then fold the second quarter behind and pass to the next player. Continue to draw and pass the paper to the next player – drawing from the waist to the knees on the third quarter and from just below the knees downwards on the final quarter.
When the four quarters are complete unfold the papers and see what unusual characters you have created!
The classic memory test! To play Kim’s game, you’ll need to collect a variety of different items from what is lying to hand. Ten to fifteen different items is good. Without letting the players see, arrange the items together and cover them in a cloth (perhaps a tea towel if you have one or, failing that, a jumper). The idea is to allow the players only limited time to see the items and then see what they can remember.
Divide into teams. Give each team a sheet of paper and a pencil.
When everyone is ready, lift the cloth and allow the teams to look at the items for a short period of time – perhaps one or two minutes. Cover the items again and ask the teams to write down all the items they can remember. The winning team is the team that wrote down the most correct items.