5 Easy and Fun Pencil and Paper Games

pencil and paper games

Paper and pencil games can be incredibly fun for kids, teenagers and adults alike. Playing word games on paper is simple and a fantastic way to pass the time or practice vocabulary.

As a teacher, there are always those times in class when you have extra time to fill. Simple paper games are perfect as a time filler and they require no prep.

That’s why we have put together this list of our top five pencil and paper games / word games on paper. All you need for these activities are, you guessed it, a pencil and paper.

5 Fun And Easy Paper And Pencil Games

1. Connect 5

Pencil and Paper Games

This simple paper and pencil game is very easy to set up and is best played in pairs. Simply ask students to draw a large grid on the paper with many squares, or make a simple grid on your computer and print it out.

To play, one student will be ‘X’ and one student will be ‘O’. The students should take turns choosing a square and marking their shape. The aim of the game is to connect five shapes in a vertical, horizontal, or diagonal row.

To adapt this game for the classroom, you can ask students to first write the lessons key vocabulary / sentences in the squares before starting the game. And then, as they choose a square they should make a sentence / dialogue using the information in that box.

2. Hangman

Paper and Pencil games - hangman

This classic paper and pencil game is great for reviewing vocabulary and spelling, and a fun time-filler activity.

To, play one student should think of a word and write a small horizontal line for each of the letters of that word. Then their partner should try to guess what the word is by guessing letters of the alphabet.

If he/she guesses correctly, then the student should write that letter on the corresponding blank line. If he/she guesses wrong, then the students should begin to draw the ‘hangman’ picture. This is a simple stick figure drawing of a man hanging. Guess wrong too many times, and the drawing will be completed and the game is lost.

If you are teaching kids you may, like me, think this drawing is not appropriate. A great alternative is to ask students to draw a sad face, or some other simple shape. Another great alternative to traditional hangman is Games4esl’s ‘Save The Teacher Game’.

3. Draw A Monster

In this incredibly fun pencil and paper game students will work together to draw many funny monster pictures.

To play, first give each student a blank piece of paper and tell them to fold it into 3 equal sections. Then on the top section, tell students to draw the head of the monster. They can draw this in anyway they want.

Next, students should fold over the paper so they cannot see the drawing of the monster head, and then pass their paper along to the student to their left. Now, all students should have a different piece of paper.

Then, ask students to draw the body and arms of the monster, without looking at the ‘head’ drawing. Then again, students should pass the paper along to the next student, and they should then draw the legs of the monster.

At the end of this pencil and paper game, collect the drawings and then reveal the funny monster pictures to the class. This activity is great for reviewing body parts vocabulary and descriptions.

4. Battleships

You may be surprised that this popular board game started out as a simple pencil and paper game for two. This game is best played in pairs.

To play, give students a piece of paper and ask them to draw out an 11×11 grid. Then tell them to mark the numbers 1-10 across the top row, and A-J down the side. These will be used to call out the coordinates when guessing where their partner’s battleships are. Alternatively, you can ask students to write key vocabulary from the lesson in place of the alphabet and numbers.

Next, each student needs to draw their ‘battleships’ wherever they want on the grid. They must draw one ‘carrier’ consisting of 5 squares, 2 ‘battleships’ consisting of 4 squares each, and 3 ‘destroyers’ consisting of 3 squares each.

Once students have drawn their battleships, the game can begin. Students should take turns calling out coordinates as they try to find their partner’s battleships. The first student to find and ‘sink’ all their partner’s battleships is the winner.

5. Tic Tac Toe

The last paper and pencil game on our list is Tic Tac Toe. This incredibly easy and simple game is best played in pairs.

To play, ask students to draw a 3×3 grid on a piece of paper. Then students will take turns drawing their shape (usually O or X) in one of boxes. The aim of the game is to get three of your shapes in a horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line.

To make this game more language focused, you can ask students to write key words from the lesson in the boxes before starting the game. Then, when a student chooses a square, he or she must make a sentence using the word in the box.

Other Pencil and Paper Word Games

The ladder game is another fun game that you can play with just a pen / pencil and paper.

Check the above video for instructions on how to play. For more paper games, including board games, check out our printable board games page where you can download over 100 printable word games for free on many topics.

Thanks for reading.