Here's how playing simple, paper-and-pencil games can go beyond fun and also serve as practice for higher-level, abstract thinking.

## Game: Ghost

How to play the word-building game Ghost.

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Simple, cheap, paper-and-pencil strategy games are *fantastic* ways to practice higher-level thinking. Don't just play the games, but **encourage students to notice patterns, develop strategies, and change the rules around**.

Here's how playing simple, paper-and-pencil games can go beyond fun and also serve as practice for higher-level, abstract thinking.

How to play the word-building game Ghost.

Let’s play Tic-Tac-Toe with numbers. But instead of three-in-a-row, we’re summing to 15.

Imagine Tic-Tac-Toe if *both* players could play as both Xs *and* Os!

Let’s play the simple (but surprisingly strategic) game of Chomp!

With Sprouts, students draw a small set of dots and then connect those dots with lines. The first person who canâ€™t make a connection loses.

A surprisingly strategic game played on a simple grid.

Heaps is a lovely math-y strategy game that requires no more than paper and pencil to play.

Sure, tic tac toe is too boring for most people. But oh golly are there some fun variations!

Here’s a quick to learn but difficult to master math game. Start with some basic divisibility rules, but then feel free to extend it to any math topic.

Wanted to share another cheap, quick, and simple game that has interesting complexities and connections to math. This game is called Domineering. All you need are paper and a pencil. Graph paper would be a luxury.