Pictionary is a game that includes critical thinking, creativity, communication skills, and a whole lot of fun. Explore these Pictionary ideas and words for family game night to kick start the family-bonding fun.
Are there benefits for playing Pictionary for homeschooling families? You bet! Read on to learn more about Pictionary and how it can help build vocabulary skills as well as encourage critical thinking.
What is Pictionary?
Pictionary was created in 1987 by Rob Angel in France. The Pictionary board game has sold over 38 million copies in 60 different countries globally.
It was originally a board game but has become a staple of games for families across the globe – even without the actual board game. Pictionary is a guessing game where a person attempts to draw the meanings of words, and another tries to guess the word.
One player illustrates visually how the word might look or how the individual word(s) can be described with images.
What are some good Pictionary words?
Good Pictionary words depend on your end goals. There are various ways you can play Pictionary and that would determine what the good words for the game will be.
If you want to use Pictionary as an educational tool you can use vocabulary words or select words for specific lessons kids are learning at the moment. Educational categories may include history (i.e. historical figures or locations), grammar (parts of speech or action words), and science (plants, animals, etc.).
If you are playing traditional family Pictionary, then you have more range on which words will be good for you to choose. The levels of difficulty in Pictionary can be easy, medium, hard, or a mix of all three. There are some word lists and ideas at the bottom of the post.
What are the topics in Pictionary?
In the traditional Pictionary game, there are five different categories or themes. The Pictionary topics or categories are person/place/animal, action, objects, challenge, or all play.
Person, place, or animal – Here the player describes common living things or places where people go.
Actions – This topic can include movements, sports, or actions that people physically do like playing basketball, or reading.
Objects – If players can see something or touch something, then they can use that object as a Pictionary word. Some examples are car, book, cup, or spaghetti.
Challenge – A challenging topic for Pictionary is something difficult for players to guess. (i.e The Statue of Liberty, elevator, fried noodles).
All Play – In this topic of the game, the drawer can choose a word or phrase from any of the categories. Both the teams can draw from the categories simultaneously.
How do I make Pictionary interesting?
Pictionary is a fun game that gets people out of their seats and is a great way to get kids of all ages excited about words. Even the most fun games can get mundane without changing things up a bit.
Here are a few ideas to keep interested in this Pictionary game:
Pictionary for Younger Students
For your younger students, have a nursery rhyme game that uses nursery rhymes as a category for the image to represent.
Pictionary for Sports-Lovers
If your children enjoy sports, then theme your Pictionary game on different types of sports or words associated with a particular sport.
Try virtual Pictionary or virtual whiteboard, with family members around the country or world even. Set up a Pictionary game via Zoom with your child’s friends or cousins. They will love the interaction and making relationships even when they can’t visit in real life.
NOTE: Use timers for the guessing. Make sure time how long the other team or person has to guess the picture. The time limit keeps players on edge and ready to blurt out the silliest of things.
The key to making Pictionary interesting and fun every time is to use themes that your children are interested in.
Benefits Of Playing Pictionary For Kids
The goal of the game is for people to guess words. However, when playing with school-aged children the goal of the game can be so much more. The drawing game helps children practice word skills, remember words in a fun way, and more.
Here are a few more benefits of this fun game.
- Pictionary helps children learn new words.
- Children can practice spelling words.
- It increases vocabulary knowledge.
- Helps students understand the meaning of words.
- Boosts creativity and imagination as players draw the meaning of words.
- Motivates students to think outside of the box to get their team to guess words. Thinking outside of the box is a simple way of saying that it requires logical reasoning and critical thinking skills.
- Improves hand-eye coordination.
- Encourages teamwork skills.
- It’s an excellent game that makes spending time together fun and meaningful.
Supplies Needed to Play Pictionary at home:
There is one more benefit to playing Pictionary that I didn’t mention above; it’s easy to put together! Most of the materials you need to play Pictionary at home can be easily found around the house. Here is what you need for a game of Pictionary at home:
There should be at least two people to play. Having 4+ people play Pictionary is will make a better game because teams can be formed.
- Whiteboard with whiteboard markers or a large paper with pens/pencils to place on a wall or visual display.
- Timer or stopwatch
- Dice (optional)
- Written scorecard
- Pictionary words are written each on their own piece of paper or index cards (facedown, of course)
- Hat, bowl, or box to put the words in
It’s pretty simple to play Pictionary. Divide the group into teams and the first team chooses what to draw from the five topics. the other team draws what the first team chose.
Set the timer or stopwatch and one person yells “Go!” to start. If the guessing team members (with the artist/player’s drawing) guesses the word or phrase correctly within the allotted time (usually one minute), they gain a point.
There are certain rules that the teams need to follow. Here are the most common rules for Pictionary:
- The pictures should not have any writing that includes numbers or letters.
- The person drawing (artist) can NOT make any hand gestures or audible noises – at all.
- After a team member successfully says part of the word(s) on the card, they go again until they can’t guess a word.
Here are some fun ideas for Pictionary words that you can use to play Pictionary with your kids.
Simple Pictionary Words
- swimming pool
- ice cream
Medium Difficulty Pictionary Words
- watering can
- United States
- soda can
- rain clouds
- salt and pepper
- music notes
- truck driver
- apple seed
- car seat
- flag pole
Hard/Difficult Pictionary Words
- zero (remember now letters or numbers)
- snow top
- foot rub
- pocket protector
- scrambled eggs
- face mask
Famous People Pictionary Words
- Harriet Tubman
- Simone Biles
- Elvis Presley
- Dora the Explorer
- Alexander Graham Bell
- Harry Potter
- Albert Einstein
- John the Baptist
- Tony Hawk
- Neil Armstrong
- Annie Oakley
- Ben Carson
Sports Pictionary Words
- Super Bowl
- World Series
- World Cup
- track and field
- ping pong
Pictionary Words from Cartoons
- Scooby Doo
- Blues Clues
- Paw Patrol
- Little Mermaid
- Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer
- The Incredibles
- Power Puff Girls
- Peppa Pig
- Winnie the Pooh
- Charlie Brown
- Bugs Bunny
- Mickey Mouse
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Tom and Jerry
Pictionary Words from Movies
- Paddington Bear
- Home Alone
- Men in Black
- Star Wars
- Jurassic Park
- The Sound of Music
- The Lord of the Rings
- The Wizard of Oz
- Schindler’s List
- Black Panther
- Avengers, Endgame
- Free Guy
- Mary Poppins
- How to Train Your Dragon
- Pirates of the Caribbean
Pictionary Words for Food
- French fries
- chocolate chip cookies
- apple pie
- mashed potatoes
- sugar cane
- birthday cake
Emotion Pictionary Words
Action Pictionary Words
Geography Pictionary Words
- North Pole
History Pictionary Words
- Boston Tea Party
Pictionary Word Generator
Our family uses Pictionary Word Generator for Kids, ESL Pictionary Word Generator, Random Pictionary Words, or Word Generator if we want to randomly select words just for a fun game on family game night.
Here are some random words we have picked up from the sites. The random word generators are a good choice as a classic party game tool or for an icebreaker game in small groups.
- light bulb
- hot dog
- one way
- movie tickets
- hot-air balloon
Things to Keep In Mind About Pictionary
Remember that the person drawing can’t speak words, write letters or numbers, and they can’t make gestures. Other than these don’ts, there is a lot of fun and learning to be had.
Children can practice their vocabulary words, spelling words, communication skills, drawing skills, and create fun memories that will last a lifetime.
Jeannette is a wife, mother and homeschooling mom. She has been mightily, saved by grace and is grateful for God’s sovereignty throughout her life’s journey. She has a Bachelor in English Education and her MBA. Jeannette is bi-lingual and currently lives in the Tongan Islands of the South Pacific. She posts daily freebies for homeschoolers!