Sunday, 1 November 2015

Dots and Boxes Game

I love playing games with the kids, but I needed a break from Uno and Checkers, so thought I'd teach them how to play Dots and Boxes - a simple pencil and paper game, so nothing to buy.

How to play Dots and Boxes - a simple pencil and paper game ~ Threading My Way


We used to play Dots and Boxes when we were kids and it's just as relevant today. I keep reading about the need to limit screen time for kids. It's important that children realise that games can be played without a computer / iPad / phone, etc. And, it's absolutely essential that they learn to play games they can play with their peers (not on a screen).


All you need to play Dots and Boxes is a piece of paper, and two different coloured pencils, crayons, pens - whatever the kids like to draw with.


Depending on the age of the kids, an adult might need to mark rows of dots on the paper. You can have as many, or as few as you wish. Don't know why, but I always stick to 10 x 10, which will give a total of 81 boxes.

If you want to use the template I've done by hand, right click on the picture above, save and print. Alternatively, I'm sure if you do a search you'll be able to find computer generated grids.


To start, each player takes turns drawing single lines between two dots. The lines can be drawn between dots anywhere on the paper.

Whenever a player draws the fourth side of a box, they win that box, colouring it in, or filling it with an initial to show who has won it. 

After winning a box, that player draws another line. As the game progresses, players may win several boxes on their turn. No matter how many boxes are won, the player needs to finish their turn by drawing a line that does not finish a box.


In the photo above, if Little Mister draws a line where his pencil is, he'll allow me to finish two boxes. It would have been easier to see if we'd chosen different colours. Little Mister is brown and I am pink.


Using the same photo, I've drawn a line in green (on the computer), to show you what would happen if Little Mister chose to draw his line where the green line is. It would give me four boxes, if I was paying attention, that is.


Keep going until all the boxes are drawn. Add them up and see who has the most.

I'm on the lookout for more paper and pencil games to play with the kids. Noughts and Crosses (Tic Tac Toe) is another. Have you played any other paper and pencil games, either as a child, or with your kids?

... Pam


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13 comments:

  1. I'd quite forgotten this game Pam. Thanks for the reminder. My girls love playing Battleships with pencils and paper. I even made them special battleships folders to slip the papers in and fold up to 'hide' them from each other when they're playing. I also found a while ago a pencil and paper version of mastermind (the one with the 4 coloured pegs) - it's called Bulls and Cows when played with pencil and paper!

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  2. My kids all loved dots. My older son asked if I had the Dots app recently. They're still playing it albeit at more advanced levels. Hangman was also a popular paper and pencil with my kids. Difficulty levels grew as they grew.

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  3. My little grandson is really getting into games like this. I can't wait to play this with him.

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  4. Ha! We used to play this - totally forgotten!

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  5. LOVE this game!! I used to play it all the time when I was kid! Good memories :)

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    1. The kids and I are having fun playing it. Brings back memories of school days for me.

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  6. OMG I use to love this game. I think you can also play it on computer (but then again you can play everything on the computer).

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  7. I had completely forgotten this game. It used to one of our favorite pastimes. I have to play this with my daughter now :)
    Love your template.

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  8. Fun! We must try this. Thanks for sharing!

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  9. LOL I don't remember seeing this post come through my blogreader, but it just got posted to Totally Tutorials, so that's how I found it :D I've never heard of that game but now I want to play it - what fun! Paper and pencil games - how about Mad Libs? I used to play that with the kids and we'd just about kill ourselves laughing at some of the replies :D

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  10. This is one my favorite go-to games to play with anyone. They are firstly amazed at how much fun a piece of paper is, then how competitive they become.

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  11. Venetia loves this game, it's one of our favourite travel games! Sometimes simple is best.

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