How Many Squares? A Simple Art Game That Helps You Talk with Your Kids about Goals and Growth

How Many Squares game by Family FED

You have an object to draw. Can you draw it in 30 squares? 20? Maybe even 10 or 5? Just don’t estimate too low in this name-that-tune–style game!


Download a PDF of this activity’s “recipe” to add to your family activity binder.

Instructions for How Many Squares? game by Family F.E.D.


What You’ll Need

Free downloadable graph paper by Family F.E.D.-- 

How to Play

  1. For each game, choose a host and split other players into two teams.
  2. Each round, teams select one player to draw. The host shows those two people the name of an object to draw. They decide how many squares on a grid-ruled notecard or paper it would take them to draw the word. Whoever bids lowest draws with that number of squares. The other team does not draw. All squares used must be filled in completely (like pixel art).
  3. If the drawing team guesses the word within 30 seconds, they get a point. If not, the other team gets a point. The non-drawing team gets a second point if they can identify the drawn shape within 5 seconds after the other team’s time expires.
  4. The first team to seven points wins.

Draw objects just with boxes in graph paper; color in the full box.



Have both teams draw at the same time while their teammates guess in whispers. When their team guesses the word, the artist stops drawing. When both teams are done, the team with the least amount of boxes filled in gets the point.

Try playing where both teams play How Many Squares? drawing at the same time.


Conversation Starter

You can often do so much more than you ever thought possible (like drawing a cat in 11 squares instead of 29)! Try challenging yourself, and have faith in what you can accomplish. What goal could you accomplish faster or better with a little more creativity?


Why This Activity Matters

Setting and achieving goals is an important but careful matter. We want our family members (including ourselves) to aim high! Doing so helps all of us grow and helps us achieve things we didn’t know might be possible! Yet pushing too hard or too fast can result in unmet expectations for goals. Often, beautiful growth happens when we evaluate the situation, push ourselves a little, yet still allow for step-by-step growth along the way to larger goals. This game provides a great parallel! If we try to draw every item in just 4 or 5 boxes, we’ll usually fail every time. If we try to draw everything in 30 or 40 boxes, we likely won’t get any points either (in this case, the other team will likely bid lower and earn them all). Yet if we identify a realistic number of boxes to draw in, we can build up our score point by point until our score is quite high over time. What parallels to goal setting and growth do you see with this game? How can you use this activity to help strengthen your family’s growth? Leave a comment below to share with other families!

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