Pen and Paper Games for Kids

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We love Pen and Paper Games! Their simplicity and versatility make them a favourite for Fun and Engaging play.

While Travelling, We always bring a writing pad, a few sheets of paper, and some Pens/pencils on our trips, just to play these games. They are a fantastic way to combat boredom on a train ride!

On this blog, I’ve listed 6 Paper and Pen Game ideas that we love. These are so easy to create, but I’ve also included some free printables to save you time.

Related: Animal Facts for Kids

 Paper and Pen Game for kids with Free printable

These Fun games have been a beloved pastime for generations, offering endless entertainment with just the simplest of materials.

They foster creativity, strategic thinking, and social interaction. Perfect for all ages, paper and pen games can be played anywhere—whether in a classroom, on a road trip, or at home.

Dots and boxes

Dots and Boxes is a strategic game for two or more players that involves drawing lines between dots to form boxes. It’s the most popular and our favourite pencil-and-paper game too!

Dots and Box - Paper and Pen Game for kids

Age: 4+ years

Number of Players: 2+ players

Preparation: Make an array of dots or use a grid paper. (or Print our Free Printable)

How to play Dots and Boxes? 

Players take turns drawing lines between adjacent dots on a grid, aiming to create boxes. When a player completes a box, they mark it with their initial and take another turn, with the game continuing until all boxes are filled, and the player with the most boxes wins.

Skip the preparation part, by printing the Free Printable Dots and Squares at the end of the post. They are available in 3 different sizes for you to choose. The bigger ones take more time to complete. (Approx 30 minutes)

Dot and Box game Printable

Name, place, Thing, Animal

A classic word association game that’s fun for all ages and requires very easy prep work! This Multiplayer game lasts multiple rounds.

Name Place thing animal - Paper and Pen Game for kids

Age: 5+ years

Number of Players: 2+ players

Preparation: Draw 4 columns for each category and a Column for marks (or Print our Free Printable)

How to play Name, place, Thing, Animal? 

At the start of each round, a letter is chosen. Each player must then think of a name, a place, an animal, and a thing that starts with that letter. For example, if the letter is “R,” players might write Rose, Russia, Ring and Rabbit.

When a player finishes, they count to 20 for the others to complete their lists. Players earn 10 points for each unique correct answer. If two players have the same answer, they each get 5 points. Invalid or missing answers receive 0 points.

The player with the most points at the end wins.

Each player needs one sheet to play! Preparation is easy but Skip it, by Downloading the Free Printable Name, Place, Thing, Animal Sheet at the end of the post.

Name, place, thing, animal Free printable

Categories is a very similar game in which you can choose your own set of categories, whereas the rules remain the same. A printable for this game is also included!


Young kids will enjoy Tic Tac Toe, also known as Noughts and Crosses. It is excellent for developing strategic thinking and just takes less than a minute to complete one!

However, this one can be quite boring for adults as the best moves on either side lead to a tie.

Tic tac toe - Paper and Pen Game for kids

Age: 3+ years

Number of Players: 2 players

Preparation: Make a 3 x 3 Grid (or Download our Free Printable)

How to play Tic-Tac-Toe?

Two players take turns marking the spaces in a 3×3 grid with X or O. The goal is to be the first to align three of their marks in a row, whether it be horizontally, vertically, or diagonally.

For more Convenience, download our Free printable Tic tac toe Template, There is also a Free printable for Ultimate tic tac toe.

Tic tac toe Game Printable


Hangman is a classic word-guessing game typically played by two or more players. It’s fun and can help improve vocabulary and spelling skills.

Hangman Game- Paper and Pen Game for kids

Age: 5+ years

Number of Players: 2+ players

Preparation: Draw a platform and a Stand for the hangman (or Download our Free Printable)

How to Play Hangman?

One player thinks of a word and writes a dash for each letter on a paper. Other players take turns guessing letters. If they guess correctly, the letter is written on the respective dash.

If they guess incorrectly, the letter is written somewhere else on the page, and a part of Hangman is drawn on the paper.

The goal is to guess the word before the hangman is completed (head, Body, 2 arms, 2 legs). There are 6 chances. Need more Chances? Add two eyes and a Mouth.

Hangman Game printable Free

Words Within A Word

A fun game that enhances vocabulary by encouraging players to think of different word combinations. This is great for kids above 6 years!

Word within a Word Paper and Pen Game for kids

Age: 6+ years

Number of Players: 2+ players

Preparation: No preparation is Required

How to Play Word Within a Word

Players start by selecting a longer word, such as “hippopotamus,” and then set a timer for 1 or 2 minutes. Each player then individually writes down as many smaller words as they can create using only the letters from the chosen word.

At the end, Points are awarded for each unique word, with duplicates not counting toward the score. The player who accumulates the highest number of points wins the game.

Word Ladder

Word Ladder is a great game to improve vocabulary and problem-solving skills. Enjoy transforming words and challenging your friends!

Word Ladder Paper and Pen Game for kids

Age: 6+ years

Number of Players: 2+ players

Preparation: No preparation is Required

How to play Word Ladder? 

The objective is to transform one word into another by changing one letter at a time, with each intermediate step being a valid word.

  • Choose two words of the same length, one as the start word and one as the end word. For example, “CAT” to “DOG”.
  • Players take turns or work together to change one letter at a time, forming a new valid word at each step.
  • Example: CAT → COT → DOT → DOG

The goal is to reach the end word in as few steps as possible. Think a few steps ahead to ensure you don’t get stuck.

Everyone should try at least a handful of these pen-and-paper games! Let us know in the comments, which one you already know and is your favourite.

You can download all the printables, by signing up at the end of the post.

 Paper and Pen Game for kids with Free printable

More Boredom Busters for Kids

Kid’s Travel Companions to Beat Boredom

Download the Pen and Paper Games Printable

Sign up here to receive the following Pen and Paper Games printables as a bundle for Free!

  • Tic Tac Toe Printable
  • Ultimate Tic Tac Toe Printable
  • Hangman Printable
  • Name, Place, Thing, Animal printable
  • Categories printable
  • Dot and Boxes Printable in 3 Formats

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