You don’t need a cupboard full of craft supplies to get your kids creatively thinking and having fun! These 10 simple games require just pen and paper, great for on the go or while waiting at a restaurant:
Let’s start with one which is great for children to play with family or friends. Each person takes a piece of paper and has it in such a way that their drawing is hidden from the other players. Taking it in turns, one person gives an instruction (for example, “draw a circle”) and everyone else then follows their instruction and draws on their piece of paper. As each player gives an instruction, art works start to form!
After several turns (however many you like!) reveal your drawings to each other. Each will look completely different, as everyone will have interpreted the instructions differently.
This game can be played by choosing objects rather than shapes and lines too. For example, “draw a book”, “draw a hat” – to create complete scenes.
Get ready to create art with minimal fuss. All you need to do is draw a random squiggle all over the page (with the line creating intersections) then colour in the shapes it makes. Your children can colour it randomly however the moment takes them, or they could try to make an image within the scribble, perhaps a character or animal shape?
How about bringing a story to life with paper puppets? Simply fold up a piece of paper and add eyes, hair, facial features, clothing – whatever you want to give them character. If you’ve got scissors on hand you can bring even more detail to your creations.
This draw-and-fold game is a hilarious family favourite. Take a piece of paper, the first person draws a head, folds the head away and then passes on the paper. The next person draws the body, and folds. The next person draws the legs, and folds… etc. After drawing the feet, it’s time to unfold and reveal your monster creation.
Find the dot
This one works well in an already used notebook or pad – we played it when our drawing book was full on our last holiday. To play, simply draw a tiny dot somewhere in the book and challenge another player to find it. It doesn’t have to be a dot, it could be a tiny star, ladybird… whatever!
Rip up your piece of paper into smaller pieces and write clues on each which lead to something around your house – a favourite teddy, a truck, a yummy treat etc. Lay another piece of paper and clue at each treasure item so it takes them on a complete trail collecting things along the way.
Let’s not forget the classics too – noughts and crosses, hangman, squares – they’re all games every child should learn and enjoy.
A bit like the fun grown-up game ‘Pictionary’, I-spy can be played through illustrations too. Look around and pick something in mind before drawing it on paper. Other players must guess what it is as you draw.
Drawing in the dark
For another fun pen and paper game, try drawing in the dark! Each player closes their eyes, one person decides on an object and everyone must try to draw it without looking. Then compare your masterpieces… or muddles, whichever the case maybe.
Do-odle it again
Pick a category of item (eg, leaves, cats, houses, arrows, flowers) and see how many different variations you can doodle. Simple yet surprisingly captivating.
Do you have any other favourite pen & paper games your kids love?