The Successful GAME PANTRY to Make Quality Family Time Easy

I’m a huge fan of creativity, minimalism (except for when it comes to my board game closet, ha!), and frugality. So I love coming up with new games using the same objects over and over again. When you have a basic stash of go-to products—what I like to call a “game pantry”—you’re just a quick minute away from an evening of fun. I like to think of these staples as the flour, eggs, and sugar of quality family time, and they’re good to always keep in your game pantry (or cupboard or cart or drawers).

These are some of the essentials* I think should be in any game pantry:

• Empty paper towel rolls

• Empty toilet paper rolls

• Dice in several colors: It’s also fun to have a few large foam dice from the Dollar Tree on hand (not available online). 

• Ping-Pong balls: I’ve tried the huge packs of colored balls, too; I bought some years ago that work great, but the ones currently online don’t seem to bounce straight or high; I’d spend a couple more dollars on this type.

• Bouncy balls: or Know that you may be shorted a few in the pack (I was), but they’re still a great price. You may wonder if you really need that many bouncy balls, but when you're playing games where balls are bouncing everywhere, you'll appreciate needing to stop to pick them up every few minutes instead of every 10 seconds. ;)

Bouncy balls

• Chopsticks: These are wonderfully sturdy, and I LOVE the colors.

• Clear plastic cups (9 oz. or more): I would actually purchase the Great Value cups from Walmart. But if you want the convenience of Amazon, try these (they're just not quite as thick, and they're a bit pricier): I have a set of cups designated just for games so I can use them over and over. Keep them after you play to save money!


• The Ultimate Letter Card Game Deck: If there's one letter card game deck that can rule them all, this is it! With seven colored decks, multiple cards for popular letters, and a scoring system built into the cards, you can use this letter card deck for any word game! We created this perfect downloadable card deck and will use it for a lot of games on the site.

The Ultimate Letter Card Game Deck

• Cardstock for our downloadable games: This is what I use, but find whatever works best with your printer.

• Your homemade Family F.E.D. binder (read more in step 1 in this article) full of game ideas. ;) If it’s convenient to buy it through Amazon, try this one: But you can save a couple dollars buying a binder at Walmart (just look for a 2" D-ring binder so you have room to store game boards and pieces in page protectors without hassle).

• Amazon Prime membership: Each week, you may need a few additional (but inexpensive) products for activities, but I try to make sure to use items from the game pantry as often as possible to save you money. I’ll give you a heads up of what those additional items are in our weekly newsletter, so you can have them delivered in time for family play the next week if you have an Amazon Prime membership or so you have time to pick them up at your local store, just like ingredients for your meal plan for dinner. You can also try Amazon Prime free for 30 days here:


You may also want to have a good paper cutter and basic paper punches handy. These are the ones I use:

• Paper cutter: It’s a little pricey, but I’ve used mine frequently for over a decade and it still works amazing! I’ve never even replaced the blade.

• Circle punches in four sizes:



Organization Tip: I find it’s easiest to store each set of items in its own stackable clear container or removable drawer, so you can quickly grab what you need, bring it to the table, and then have it cleaned up right after play so your house stays clean.

Note: Some of the links here are affiliate links—you won’t pay any extra for the products by using the links. In fact, I regularly search for updates to find you the best price for quality products! (Our goal is to make quality family time easy and inexpensive for you.) It just means that I’ll make a small commission if you buy through the links, which helps me continue bringing you daily activity ideas for free on the site.

Happy playing!