Pencil and paper games to play at home

March 17, 2020

Note: this is the second in a series of support emails for all the sudden homeschooling families out there.

I’m going to try to keep a steady stream of ideas going out in these emails, with free games & lessons to keep you and your families playing and learning in these crazy times.

It’ll be slow and steady – too much at one time, I find, is overwhelming.
But there’s always more at

Stay healthy!

(Free) Paper and Pencil Games

I’ve always been a fan of pencil and paper games. You need almost nothing to get started, and you can play again and again. Here are some favorites, with rough grade guidelines. Don’t be afraid to play “younger” games with older kids – these are all gems.

Kindergarten & Up

2nd Grade & Up

3rd Grade & Up

And More

There has been an outpouring of ideas and support for homebound kids from around the internet. (This set of activities collected by Leslie Yeo stands out.)

I particularly wanted to highlight this post from our friend Anela Deisler, on how to get the most out of the school closures. It’s a particularly beautiful take on the current situation.

It helps that she’s a professional photographer ????

And always fun to see Tiny Polka Dot in the mix.

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3 years ago

I so appreciate Math For Love’s emails and game ideas. Tiny Polka Dot game “21 or Bust” has been a favourite with my group of unschooled children. Thank you.

Michael Bauers
Michael Bauers
3 years ago

I sometimes play Taxman at work during meetings. Write out some numbers, say 40. Choose a number. Taxman gets all the factors ( you must choose a number with some factors not yet chosen or claimed.) Repeat until you have no more moves. Taxman gets remaining numbers. Some bookeeping, which can be assisted with a calculator. And practice factoring. One strategy is to try to allow taxman only one number each time. The best first choice is almost certainly the largest prime, giving the taxman 1. An optimal strategy may require an exponential time search. But there are heuristics I… Read more »

Last edited 3 years ago by Michael Bauers