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What it is: Originally a board game, but it’s become a common classic, and you don’t need to buy the game to play your own version. It’s a drawing word-guessing game for groups of any age.

Best for: Group of at least 4 players.

What you need: You’ll need something to draw on, like a big pad of paper and marker, a chalk board and chalk, or a wipe-off board and dry erase marker. Or even just a stack of blank paper. You’ll also need slips of paper with words written on them and a hat or bowl to put them in. (Or, you can use my online word generator!) Optional: a stopwatch/hourglass/clock, and a piece of paper to keep score.

How to play: The game is pretty simple: players take turns silently drawing different things while their team tries to guess what the drawing is. Teams compete against each other to have the most guessed words and win the game.

The way you set up the game can vary; pictionary allows for a lot of flexibility. For this post, let’s pretend you’re going to play with a big group divided into two teams.

Before the game starts, you’ll want to come up with some things to draw and write them on slips of paper (see the end of this post for some pre-made lists). The objects can be as hard or as easy as you want. If you’re playing with little kids, easily illustrated nouns like sun or bear would probably be good; if you’re playing with teens or adults, throw in some abstract nouns like honor, some adjectives or verbs like upset or dance, or maybe some idioms like have a cow.

Once you have your slips of paper ready, fold them up and put them in a bowl or hat. Then divide your players into two teams.

If you have one drawing surface, have teams take turns sending up a player to pick a word from the hat and draw it in a pre-designated amount of time. If the team guesses the word before the time runs out, they get a point. (Or, if you want to designate hard and easy words at the beginning, you could assign different point values to different words.) Then the other team takes a turn.

If you have two drawing surfaces, you could have each team send up a player and have them draw the same word at the same time (hiding their drawings from the other team). First team to guess the word wins the round.

At the end, tally up points and announce a winner!

Variations: Instead of having a player draw one word before the time runs out, you could let team members draw as many words as their team could guess before the time runs out, if you like that sort of fast-paced action.

You also don’t have to keep score or keep time if you want. You don’t even need two teams. You could just play with a big group of people and take turns drawing, with slips of paper or with players thinking of their own words to draw. Players take as long as they need to draw. The first player who guesses correctly gets to draw next.

Printables: Want some ready-to-go pictionary word lists? Click any of the links below, print out the lists, cut into strips, mix and match, and enjoy! Or, if you want word lists you don’t have to print out, check out my word generator.

And if you really like playing pictionary beyond the occasional class or family party, I’d highly recommend buying the real game. It has a lot more words, a board, and a better way to keep score; it’s an awesome way to play. (And if you buy through that link, you’ll help support the Game Gal :))

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  1. Gina replied:

    Thank you so so so much for posting this!! It’s going to be perfect for tonight…and it was so helpful for me. I really really appreciate it!! Thanks,

    April 21st, 2011 at 5:46 pm. Permalink.

  2. The Game Gal replied:

    Glad to help! Hope you and your friends/family/guests/whoever have fun!

    April 21st, 2011 at 6:01 pm. Permalink.

  3. Natasha replied:

    Thank you so much! So many “pictionary” sites seem like pure spam filled sites, yours actually has good party games. I will use this for my husband’s party next weekend- so much fun- thanks so much!!!

    May 5th, 2011 at 12:14 pm. Permalink.

  4. The Game Gal replied:

    Glad you liked it! And hope your husband has fun!

    May 5th, 2011 at 5:41 pm. Permalink.

  5. shreeja replied:

    i luv u game gal for posting this game
    really it has helped me entertain my friends
    i m lavishly excited to meet u and give u a tight hug..!!!!
    :-) <3<3<3<3<3 lots of love
    shreeja pandey

    May 24th, 2011 at 8:12 pm. Permalink.

  6. Sandra replied:

    love love love your site :)

    May 26th, 2011 at 9:35 pm. Permalink.

  7. micheal replied:

    i appreciate playing with my residents at the nursing home and was clueless!!!

    May 27th, 2011 at 7:04 am. Permalink.

  8. The Game Gal replied:

    All, thanks so much for the comments! If you have any suggestions, let me know!
    – The Game Gal

    May 27th, 2011 at 7:31 am. Permalink.

  9. Katie replied:

    I’m having a birthday party tonight with 10 people and was looking for this exactly!! Thanks!!!

    June 10th, 2011 at 10:25 am. Permalink.

  10. Gina replied:

    LOTS OF THANKS :) Doing a last minute party and your site really is very helpfull. Thanks for taking the time to put it together, and not asking for anything in return. Its a blessing, may God Bless You

    July 21st, 2011 at 3:36 pm. Permalink.

  11. Kathleen replied:

    Super fun! Just played easy and medium words with my 7-year-old son. Great way to get him reading and drawing.

    August 6th, 2011 at 3:39 pm. Permalink.

  12. gloria replied:

    Thanks for your work on this website you were a life saver!

    September 17th, 2011 at 8:04 am. Permalink.

  13. Jenn replied:

    Thanks! This will be great for my 4th graders!

    September 23rd, 2011 at 5:11 am. Permalink.

  14. La Soñador » Blog Archive » Family Game Time replied:

    [...] [...]

    October 14th, 2011 at 2:33 pm. Permalink.

  15. Cindy replied:

    What a great help you are!! Thanks so much! Big group of 13 year olds coming over! You are a life saver!

    October 21st, 2011 at 9:59 am. Permalink.

  16. Judy replied:

    Thank you so, so much for the list of words.
    This will be such a great help with our church get to gether on Saturday, thank you, very kind of you

    October 26th, 2011 at 3:24 pm. Permalink.

  17. Nan Carney replied:

    Thanks! Am using in a community college child development class. It will be a great way to combine the chapters on intelligence, creativity, & socialization (as well as fun too!).

    November 9th, 2011 at 6:53 pm. Permalink.

  18. Ebioni replied:

    Im cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the first time and I have a LARGE extended family and needed an inexpensive way to entertain … Thank you so much for this site !

    November 16th, 2011 at 10:11 pm. Permalink.

  19. Amy replied:

    Thanks for posting this. This is great for my students after exams.

    November 18th, 2011 at 7:19 am. Permalink.

  20. Tammy replied:

    I can pretty much copy and paste what Ebioni replied. Lifesaver. Thank you.

    November 19th, 2011 at 8:01 am. Permalink.

  21. Carol Lynn replied:

    Thanksgiving will never be the same at my house! Thanks to you for helping out in this economy! Awesome job, five gold stars for you Game Gal!

    November 19th, 2011 at 8:14 am. Permalink.

  22. The Game Gal replied:

    All, I’m so glad to help! Thanks for your comments. It makes me feel glad knowing that this can help some people out. :) Have fun and enjoy all your festivities!

    November 19th, 2011 at 8:33 am. Permalink.

  23. Jen's mom replied:

    Thank you so much for posting this word list for Pictionary. I waited until the last minute to plan a party for tonight and this was a LIFESAVER!!!!

    November 19th, 2011 at 10:40 am. Permalink.

  24. Turkey Man replied:

    Thanks for posting. You just saved Thanksgiving. All the best to you and yours.


    Turkey Man

    November 23rd, 2011 at 5:12 pm. Permalink.

  25. Kari replied:

    Thanks a ton! I just used the idioms with my middle school advisory. It was a blast!

    November 30th, 2011 at 1:06 pm. Permalink.

  26. Barry replied:

    Hi, thanks for the lists – We used them in a little school in a place called Wycheproof in Victoria, Australia – town population 700, school population Year 1-13 is 130. Our students found some of the movies to be almost impossible – but that just added to the fun! We had a great – but very raucous, session.

    December 11th, 2011 at 9:34 pm. Permalink.

  27. Liz replied:

    This was the first site we found that had legit words to use. It was really helpful! The idioms were my favourite, and I know they will be tons of fun for our youth tonight! Thank you.

    December 31st, 2011 at 2:52 pm. Permalink.

  28. Danielle Harris replied:

    Thank you so much for this. My children and I are enjoying our “Family Home Evening” thanks to you and your awesome site!

    January 4th, 2012 at 9:38 pm. Permalink.

  29. The Game Gal replied:

    Danielle, that’s awesome! I love Family Home Evening! A lot of the memories I have of playing the games on my site are from my family’s FHEs growing up. Hope I can help!

    January 6th, 2012 at 10:37 am. Permalink.

  30. Cameron replied:

    Thanks! These lists are awesome!! You’ve just made my party-planning SO much easier. :D

    January 6th, 2012 at 11:52 am. Permalink.

  31. Mista replied:

    Thank you so much for compiling these lists! With the recent popularity of Draw Something, my students love to play our own version whenever we have down time. Your lists add impartiality when it comes to which words I give the teams. I, and my students, thank you!

    March 27th, 2012 at 10:48 am. Permalink.

  32. Nana replied:

    We put a 4×8 outdoor chalkboard on our fence. The little ones love it. These words will allow us to play Pictionary. Love it.

    April 20th, 2012 at 3:14 pm. Permalink.

  33. The Game Gal replied:

    Nana, the chalkboard sounds like a great idea! That’s so fun! Hope you enjoy!

    April 20th, 2012 at 8:00 pm. Permalink.

  34. Mr. J replied:

    Thanks for the great pictionary word/phrase ideas! We loved ‘em in my AP Stats class after the AP test was over. :)

    June 1st, 2012 at 2:39 pm. Permalink.

  35. Michelle replied:

    I printed out the easy, medium, and hard words, cut them out, and tossed them into an empty square tissue box to play with my language exchange partner. She learned so many new things! You made not owning actual Pictionary not so bad. :) Thanks!

    June 1st, 2012 at 6:20 pm. Permalink.

  36. Steve-O replied:

    What a hit! I bought an economy white-board and stand from Staples. Then with your word lists we had a great night of PICTIONARY FUN!

    Thank you soo much Game Gal! YOU ROCK!

    August 16th, 2012 at 1:36 pm. Permalink.

  37. The Game Gal replied:

    Steve-O, sounds like a hit! I’m glad it was fun. Thanks for the kind comment.

    August 16th, 2012 at 7:45 pm. Permalink.

  38. Rita replied:

    Wow thank you so much Gal for the variety of words. ive been playing this since 1999 and i have never got bored.

    God bless you. Can you add some nice adult activity park games, should be a decent ones.

    Thanks again,

    September 29th, 2012 at 5:26 am. Permalink.

  39. The Game Gal replied:

    Rita, thanks! If you use my “Search for the perfect game” feature at the top of the page and check “Grown-ups” for the age, it will bring up all the posts I have that adults could play. They’re all suitable for teens or children as well, though; I don’t have any games that are exclusively adult. Hope this helps!

    September 29th, 2012 at 2:25 pm. Permalink.

  40. simon rees replied:

    super site, thank you, i work as a volunteer with a stroke group and we are always looking for new things, have had to merge pictionary and cherades as each person has different difficulties and we have to meet all. great though, thanks again, sim.

    October 10th, 2012 at 9:41 am. Permalink.

  41. The Game Gal replied:

    Simon, wow, it sounds like you do have some particular needs to meet! What you do sounds so interesting. I hope that the lists helped. Good luck with your volunteer work!

    October 10th, 2012 at 7:45 pm. Permalink.

  42. Carrie replied:

    This game sounds so fun and we plan on playing it at our corporate christmas party (we do games every year) We have a group of 20, How would you suggest we play the game with 5 teams of 4 (or 4 teams of 5) in a way that keeps everyone involved at the same time?

    October 16th, 2012 at 6:47 pm. Permalink.

  43. The Game Gal replied:

    That sounds like a great party! If you’re playing at Christmas, check out my Christmas pictionary word list. And then as far as how to play with your group, you could always have 4 or 5 small white boards or paper pads on easels, one for each team, and just have each team send up one person to draw at a time. Give all the artists the same word to draw. Then have the 4 or 5 people drawing, with their team members guessing, and whichever team guesses the word first gets the point. Then a new set of artists comes up. I’ve never played with that many teams at one time, but if you have that many easels, it could definitely work! If you’re not set on having 4 or 5 teams, I would say a great way to play with 20 people would be to just have 2 teams of 10. Then play the same way, but you don’t need as many drawing surfaces. Either way, good luck and let me know if I can help any more!
    -The Game Gal

    October 17th, 2012 at 8:03 pm. Permalink.

  44. Carrie replied:

    Thanks for the help, We are really trying to decide how to have an individual winner?

    October 18th, 2012 at 8:49 pm. Permalink.

  45. The Game Gal replied:

    Ooh, that one’s trickier. ;) Well, when you assign points to a team for drawing and guessing a word correctly, you could also sign an individual point to the artist. Keep track of both team and individual points throughout the whole game, and then at the end you could have an individual winner: either the person on the winning team with the most points, or just the person from any team with the most points overall. If there’s a tie, you could have one more quick round of pictionary as a tiebreaker. Would that work?

    October 19th, 2012 at 2:41 pm. Permalink.

  46. Carrie replied:

    I think so. Thanks for your help

    October 20th, 2012 at 8:55 am. Permalink.

  47. Sunaiyana replied:

    Hey…thx thx thx so much!!! Perfect words list for my kid’s bday!!

    November 14th, 2012 at 3:39 am. Permalink.

  48. The Game Gal replied:

    Carrie and Sunaiyana, glad to help! Thanks for the comments!

    November 15th, 2012 at 4:51 pm. Permalink.

  49. betsy replied:

    Thanks for saving me from another fight over politics at my in-laws this holiday….

    November 22nd, 2012 at 7:32 am. Permalink.

  50. The Game Gal replied:

    Betsy, haha, glad to help! Hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving!

    November 29th, 2012 at 11:20 am. Permalink.

  51. JennHillier replied:

    Thanks. I’ll be using some of these in my Special Education class today. :)

    November 30th, 2012 at 5:56 am. Permalink.

  52. The Game Gal replied:

    Jenn, glad to help! Hope it all goes well!

    November 30th, 2012 at 3:24 pm. Permalink.

  53. josh replied:

    thanks so much for posting these! especially the idioms!

    January 23rd, 2013 at 9:20 pm. Permalink.

  54. msjune replied:

    Thanks a lot..very useful :)

    April 3rd, 2013 at 6:49 am. Permalink.

  55. Maria Estella replied:

    WOW – THIS SITE ROCKS!! I’m excited to play this evening with my family – My kids will get the list of “Easy words” (ages 9, 8 & 6) and my husband will get the “Medium Words”. Kids against parents tonight ;o) CAN’T WAIT!!

    June 22nd, 2013 at 1:26 pm. Permalink.

  56. The Game Gal replied:

    Thanks, Maria! :)

    July 3rd, 2013 at 7:11 pm. Permalink.

  57. Emily replied:

    Thank you! I love that you have the word lists organized so that it is easy to print, cut up to put in the bowl, and then just play! Here’s a twist too: try playing “Pictionades”: pick a word out of the bowl, then flip a coin. Heads = silently draw the word to be guessed; Tails = silently act out the word to be guessed.
    Much Love!!!

    September 13th, 2013 at 4:53 am. Permalink.

  58. Emily replied:

    Thank you for your well-written site,
    especially the print-cut-and-play word lists :)

    September 13th, 2013 at 5:36 am. Permalink.

  59. Cecilia replied:

    Thanks! Tomorrow I celebrate student’s day with the pictionary cards published!!!

    September 19th, 2013 at 8:49 pm. Permalink.

  60. Amy replied:

    Do you have a fall list by chance. I will be leading a classroom of 6th graders and I was going to do Boys vs. Girls on the white board. The school does not allow Halloween themes but fall themes would work great.

    October 1st, 2013 at 11:34 am. Permalink.

  61. The Game Gal replied:

    I actually do have a fall list! Here it is. I was going to wait until I drew a picture and put a new post up, but since you asked I’ll go ahead and put it on the printables page. You can now find it under the Holidays heading.

    October 1st, 2013 at 1:07 pm. Permalink.

  62. 50 Fun, Free Ways to Have a Great Time With Friends replied:

    […] the inability to draw is part of the fun. And you don’t even need the official board — all you need is a word list and a few […]

    March 17th, 2014 at 12:52 pm. Permalink.

  63. Aurora replied:

    thank you game gal!!! I am having a birthday family game night this weekend and now I am more excited about this game! wish us luck, we are very competitive! :)

    August 4th, 2014 at 11:50 am. Permalink.

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