Zero Waste Fun & Games

Got Some Paper and Pencils? You’re Ready to Play “Switch” 

by Rebecca Rockefeller, originally published at Rock Farmer

Looking for a plastic-free game? We’ve got one you can play without buying anything new – You probably already have everything you need right at home, or even in your backpack, briefcase, or purse. There’s no need to buy anything at all, let alone anything wrapped in, or made of, plastic.

Switch Materials

Our friends Zann and Craig Jacobrown call this game “Switch” and they taught us to play a few years ago. It’s become our go-to family game for lazy afternoons, waiting rooms, ferry rides, and after dinner when we’re full and happy and in the mood for mellow fun.

One Round of Plain Pencil Switch

What you need:

  • Two or more people. This is fun for all ages, toddler and above.
  • Players do not need to be artists or think of themselves as creative. If you can hold a pencil and doodle, you’ve got every skill you need to enjoy this game.
  • Paper with some blank space on it – We use scratch paper, the backs of children’s menus at restaurants, or whatever we’ve got on hand.
  • Something to draw with, at least one implement per person – We love to use our communal tins of colored pencils, but it’s fun with regular pencils, ball point pens, or anything that will make a line on paper.

One Round of Colored Pencil Switch

How to play:

  • Each person gets a piece of paper and something to draw with. When everyone is ready, the drawing begins.
  • At any point, anyone in the group can call out “Switch!” When this happens, each person passes their drawing to the person on their left (or right; it doesn’t matter so long as everyone passes in the same direction).
  • Drawing begins again, with each person adding to the drawing they’ve just received. There aren’t really any rules here, but it’s considered bad form to scribble all over the existing drawing so that it’s obscured. So long as you’re adding to the drawing, anything is fair.
  • Play continues this way, with drawings traveling around whenever someone feels moved to call out “Switch!”
  • When everyone tires of drawing, gather around and enjoy talking about what each drawing has become, what story it tells, and what each artist had in mind with their additions.

Switch Story Drawings: Acorn, Ocean, Outer Space

Sometimes our drawings are abstract doodles that are mostly about colors and lines playing with each other, but most of the time each piece of paper becomes a visual story. Switch is a great way to get comfortable with the collaborative creative process, to practice flexibility and acceptance, and to find your balance in fluidity and impermanence. But you won’t really be thinking about that while you play, you’ll simply be having fun.

Looking for other games to play? You can search our site for “Games” and click on “Make It” for a curated selection of great DIY games that reuse old materials for new rounds of fun.

Turn Your Trash Backwards  - Make These Games

Turn Your Trash Backwards – Make These Games

Do you have a favorite game-less-plastic? Your own version of Switch? We’d love to hear about it! You can share it in the comments below or via our “Add Solution” button here.

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Categories: DIY


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2 Comments on “Zero Waste Fun & Games”

  1. March 7, 2013 at 10:32 am #

    Fantastic idea!! Thanks for introducing me to a new activity for the kids.

    • March 7, 2013 at 1:38 pm #

      Please let me know how it goes! My kids really do love this game, and I’ve played rounds at adult dinner parties that were just as much fun as our family editions.

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