7 Super Easy Pen and Paper Games That Millenials Can Play With Their Grandparents

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I woke up putting on my thinking cap today, and all I thought about was our aging (grand)parents.

Ever wondered what it really takes to find the perfect games for your elderly parents in the gaming market today? We all do understand that family game time always sound like a fun idea – but how often have you found yourself mixed up on what games would fit your elderly parents? In reality, there are many occasions that you get confused and even frightened by this new phase in the family, but I believe finding the perfect games that your loved ones would use to spend some quality time together is important.

Many people in our generation still don’t know of the available pen and paper games from the olden days that they can play with grandparents. That’s why you find many families shielding old parents from embracing the gaming culture, which has been rendered unfitting for the elderly by the modern technological advancements in recent days.

So, instead of heading to a retirement home to find what categories of games they play in there, I decided to visit a health expert. According to him, finding the perfect games depends on your parents current health functional state, age, attitude, and primarily involves discussing with experts who can evaluate their dislikes and likes. Besides, the process calls for a lot of diligence, and knowledge of your parents’ cognitive skills and abilities.

Based on my finding, here are some of the best pen and paper games for the elderly.



Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/f/fa/Dots-and-boxes.svg/392px-Dots-and-boxes.svg.png

This is a fun, interactive game that can be played by 2 – 4 people. Players take turns plotting points, the connecting the dots into line, and the lines into squares squares (the territories). The player with the most territories wins.

According to Pencil and Paper Games’ description:

“The game is played starting with a rectangular array of dots.

The two players take turns to join two adjacent dots with a horizontal or vertical line. If a player completes the fourth side of a box they initial that box and must draw another line.

When all the boxes have been completed the winner is the player who has initialled the most boxes.

The game is more complex than it initially appears, and even on a 4×4 grid there is plenty of opportunity for skilful play.”


Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/6/6e/Hangman.svg/573px-Hangman.svg.png

This game is often seen as the best to build a relationship between children and their grandparents, making it a win-win for the entire family. It is an exceptional word-recognition game that has been known to help kids boost their vocabulary and spelling, besides helping the elderly deal with dementia-related illness more effectively.

According to How Stuff Works:

“Hangman comes from the vicious time in late-19th century Britain called the Victorian era.

One player thinks of a word (or phrase) and writes blanks for every letter below an ominous-looking gallows with a rope. The other player guesses letters until the word or phrase can be sussed out. The only wrinkle is that for each wrong guess, another body part is added to the swinging rope. You have to fill in the blanks before the man is drawn in completely or you lose.”


Tic Tac Toe

Source: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/3/32/Tic_tac_toe.svg/864px-Tic_tac_toe.svg.png

Tic Tac Toe is one of ever-popular elderly games because even those with visual impairment can easily play if the squares are large enough. It can be created by using a white board (trace mark a blow up tic-tac-toe on a board) either set on a table or lap, and dividing off the squares with bright tape to make grid permanent. The squares can be very large, even four or five inches across.

According to Play Works:

“Play begins with nine spaces on a paper created by crossing two perpendicular sets of two parallel lines. One player begins (take turns being the first player) by placing an X in one square. The next player draws an O in another square. The game continues until there are three Xs or Os in a row or all squares are filled–a draw game, also called cat’s.”


Source: https://pixabay.com/p-148903/?no_redirect

After Tic Tac Toe, Bingo is one of the most popular pen and paper games in for the elderly. The game is simple and can be played by 2 or more players, where every player draws a 5×5 table, writes 1-25 numbers randomly and BINGO at the top of the table, without showing anyone else.

A nonparticipating party calls out the numbers to be cut, which results to cutting rows and columns and eventually the alphabets making the word BINGO. The game play continues and the first player to cut all the alphabets of BINGO wins.

According to Bingo Rules:

5 columns on the card correspond to 5 letters of the name of the game “B-I-N-G-O”. 24 numbers per each card are random from the limits of 1 to 75. The center of the card is an empty space. After that the game begins, and the caller selects numbers at a random and calls them. As soon as the caller calls one number, all the players mark it on their tickets. The winner is determined when one or several of the players complete the winning bingo pattern.”


Source: https://c1.staticflickr.com/7/6046/6851912728_164e8c5bc4_c.jpg

MASH is one of the ever-popular games that fits both kids and the elderly, and can be used to help kids spend some quality time with their grandparents.

It’s a game aimed at telling the fortune of the player and the fortune teller reads the players section back to them.

According to grandparents.com

“At the top of the page, start by writing the initials M.A.S.H., an acronym meaning mansion, apartment, shack, or house. Ask the player to think of four potential spouses — classmates, fictional characters, famous hunks or beauties — and write these names in the left margin of the paper. Elicit four numbers representing the number of children they will have, and write them at the bottom of the page. In the right margin record four vehicle types (bicycle, monster truck, Ferrari) the player likes.”


Source: http://www.grandparents.com/grandkids/activities-games-and-crafts/charades

How would we close this list without including Charades? Charades is one of the most popular pen and paper games for stimulating the mind for seniors.

According to grandparents.com

“The game begins when each player writes on a slip of paper a phrase that the other team will have to guess. One selected player from the first team has a limited period of time in which to convey the phrase to his teammates. That player may NOT speak or make a sound of any kind, nor may the player point to or use any objects in the room to help convey the phrase. The player may use only his body to communicate the phrase to his partners. Points are awarded one at a time if the team successfully guesses the phrase within the allotted time. The teams alternate until each team member has had an opportunity to pantomime.”

The team that guesses the most clues wins the game.

Sudoku and Crossword Puzzles

Source: https://pixabay.com/p-146860/?no_redirect

According to health experts, games that require some thinking are generally appropriate for elderly people.

Therefore, according to Our Pastimes, brain games like Sudoku and crossword puzzles boost brain power which makes them an appropriate choice for use in edifying purposes in addition to providing entertainment.

“Crossword puzzles, Sudoku-type games that require filling boxes with numbers, and symbol-decoding games are all activities that get published in newspapers as well as activity books. These are games that are appropriate for those elderly people who still have nimble minds; they also provide brain stimulation that may enhance a person’s functioning.”


A good number of elderly individuals love to play pen and paper games because these games can easily be customized to meet their desires, as far as they have fun. These games usually blend mental and physical activity that offers diverse and entertaining experience that caters for a variety of age groups too. Not for forgetting to mention different attention spans and capabilities.

Therefore, regardless of which games you choose for your family that would engage your elderly parents, its important to ensure that your parents are able to involuntarily function with the games. For instance, contingent on their mental state and activity, you may decide pen and paper games may offer more mental stimulation and enjoyment than general board games.

Generally, the big deal is to win their hearts. Whether you engage your patents alone or with other family members, make sure that they are able to enjoy the benefits of these games and the group relationships. This will continually inspire their mental inspiration, interaction and communication.

Bonus Video:

Learning how to play M.A.S.H