Pictionary is a classic game which you can use in the classroom to practice vocabulary‏.

The basic premise is simple: draw a picture to represent a word. This can be very easy to do with basic concrete nouns‏‎ where students can draw a picture of, for example:

  • a cat
  • a computer
  • a tree

and so on. But things get more difficult when it comes to more abstract nouns‏‎ such as:

  • love
  • envy
  • jealousy

And then they can become more difficult still when it comes to concepts and ideas such as:

  • sharing
  • return address
  • art

and so on.


Write the vocabulary you want to practice on a flashcards‏; over time you can collect these for use in different lessons and with different classes. The words should be related to previous lessons and used to practice what the students should already know.

Words can be grouped in different ways such as semantic fields or parts of speech‏‎ and so on. In the original board game (see below) words are grouped into the following categories:

  • person/place/animal
  • object
  • action
  • difficult (i.e. words which are difficult to represent visually)


There are different ways to play the game and run the activity, but this works well.

Divide the class into two (or more) teams. One student from each team comes to the board and chooses a card at random; they then have 1 minute to draw the word on the board while their own team guesses what it is.

If their team can guess the word within a minute, they get a point. After a minute the drawing stops and the other team get 1 try to guess the word for a point.

If neither team can guess the word correctly, you the teacher get the point!

Original Game

The original game was designed by Robert Angel and first published as a board game in 1985 by Seattle Games Inc. Since 1994 it has been published by Hasbro who have produced a number of versions.

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Posted in Lesson Plans & Activities.

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