Help students reinforce their vocabulary, practice word recognition, and have fun. This page will introduce the Pictionary game and how it can be used in ESL and language learning classes.

Materials Needed

  1.    Whiteboard and markers / paper and pencils: For groups small white boards are great.
  2.    Small Flashcards: Prepare multiple sets of flashcards, containing the lesson's vocabulary.


Teach the pronunciation of the vocabulary using a set of large flashcards. Display them to ensure students are familiar with the words.

Divide the class into groups of 4 or 5 students. Give each group a small whiteboard and marker, or paper and pencils and a set of the small flashcards.

Explain how to play and demonstrate in front of the class

How to Play

  1. Choose the first artist: Use rock, scissors paper or another way to choose who starts.
  2. Take a flashcard: The player selected to draw (the artist) takes 1 flashcard from the small flashcards. They should look at the word without showing the other players. 
  3. Draw the word: The artist draws an image of the word or phrase on the whiteboard or paper without using letters or numbers.
  4. Guessing: The rest of the group tries to guess what the word or phrase is from the drawing. The group has a limited amount of time to make their guess (e.g., 1-2 minutes).
  5. Scoring: If a player successfully guesses the word or phrase they get a point and the artist gets a point. 
  6. Rotation the artist: Rotate the artist clockwise to the next player.


Play with 2 teams. The team's artists can draw at the same time at the front of the class. The first team to get the answer gets the point. For this it's best to have 2 teachers, one to listen to each team's answers.