Musical pictionary

music-pictionaryWhat it is: A version of pictionary where you draw and get other players to guess song titles instead of just regular terms.

Best for: Any group of people, from 2 to more than 20. Pictionary is very adaptable.

What you need: You’ll need a drawing surface, like a whiteboard and dry erase marker, or a chalkboard, or a big pad of paper and marker.

How to play: You basically play just like pictionary (visit that post for in-depth instructions) but with song titles! So how does this change the game? First of all, they might be harder to draw than regular Pictionary terms. Let’s take an example. “I Just Can’t Wait to Be King” from The Lion King. How would you draw that song title so that your friends would guess it? You could draw a singing lion cub with a speech bubble and a king’s crown inside it. You could draw a bunch of African animals all dancing around like in the scene from the movie. You could draw a clock with a slash through it (for “can’t wait”) and a king’s crown. However you want to! Possibilities are endless. The point is, it might be a little more involved than regular pictionary, and that’s all part of the fun.

Because phrases might be harder, it’s nice to allow a longer time limit, maybe a couple of minutes. Or maybe don’t play competitively and don’t have a time limit at all!

And then I think you should totally assign bonus points to someone who can not only guess the song, but starts singing it as well. :)

Variations: I have a free printable word list below with Disney song titles. But you could play any number of variations. 90’s music, oldies, country, musicals…there are all sorts of categories of music out there! You don’t need a list to play, either. Just have players think up their own song titles to illustrate.

As for variations on pictionary, there’s pictionary telephone and pictionary charades. You can also play pictionary with any group of words. It’s a great game for holidays. On my printables page, I have free printable word lists in all sorts of categories, including for most major holidays.

Printables: And here’s the list of Disney songs! I won’t say it’s comprehensive, but it’s pretty long. There are some obscure ones on there. So if you’re not a Disney song know-it-all, just skip the ones you don’t know. Enjoy!

Printable-markerDisney Songs List


Hot lava

hot-lavaWhat it is: The wonderful game every child thinks he or she invented.

Best for: A small group, or a group to fit however big your playing area is.

What you need: You’ll need a place to play. For me and my siblings and cousins, this was always an indoor game, played in a large living room or bedroom (much to our parents’ chagrin). You could easily play outside as well. A playground would be ideal.

How to play: There’s one rule. THE FLOOR IS LAVA! Don’t touch it!

Ah, this is such a fun game. Kids just love to climb and jump, and pretending the floor is hot lava gives you an excellent excuse to do so. So jump from couch to couch, throw down couch pillows to use as stepping stones, step on the coffee table, just don’t touch the floor!

If you play outside, you can make the grass lava, or the concrete, or whatever you want. You can have some spots of ground be safe spots.

Too bad this game, when played indoors, always makes grown-ups so mad. It’s so fun! I remember playing with my siblings and cousins at my grandparents’ house all the time. We played in the upstairs kids’ room, a room with four sets of bunk beds and couches and a chair: a truly perfect setup for hot lava. But if we were too loud as we leapt from furniture to furniture, our parents would hear the banging downstairs and tell us to stop. Once I remember playing in college (you’re never too old for the classics) in our dorm common room, where we took off couch cushions and made paths across the floor, until a resident assistant told us to stop. So much fun!

Variations: Lava monsters are a great variation to have. Either start with one or two at the beginning of the game, or make any player who accidentally touches the lava become a lava monster. The goal of a lava monster is simple: drag other players into the lava, mua ha ha! (This can be literally dragging, or a simple one-hand tag will do.) When players are captured by the lava monster, they become lava monsters, too!

I know you played this as a child, so do you have any variations to share? Or favorite experiences playing? I’d love to hear; leave a comment!

Murder: Hand-squeezing version

What it is: A group game where one player, the murderer, squeezes people’s hands to “kill” them, trying to kill as many as he can before his identity is discovered. So, whereas the other murder game is all about your eyes, in this one you use your hands.


Best for: A group of about 10, though a little more or less is fine.

What you need: A way to pick a murderer: either a deck of cards or slips of blank paper (or something else you come up with).

How to play: This is another fun variation on the murder game theme (in time for Halloween!). To start, you need to choose a murderer. If you have a deck of cards, pull out one card for each player. Make them all non-face cards, except for one. Shuffle and have each player pick a card, face down. Whichever player draws the face card will be the Murderer. You can do the same thing with slips of paper. Just draw an X on one and fold them all up.

So now one player should be the Murderer, but only he or she knows. To everyone else it’s a secret. Now have all your players sit in a circle on the ground, cross-legged. Then players all hold hands to form a circle, but it’s important that players hide their hands, to the best of their ability, behind backs or under legs. You don’t want your hands just sitting on laps where everyone can see them.

Then announce the start of the game, at which point the Murderer can start in with the dirty work, mua-ha-ha.

The Murderer “kills” people by squeezing the hands of the players next to him. So let’s say Aaron is the Murderer. To his left is Kate, and to his right is Juliet. Aaron might start by squeezing Kate’s hand three times. Then Kate would “pass” the squeeze to the player on her other side by squeezing his hand two times. That player would pass it on by squeezing only one time. And the player who receives one squeeze…is dead.

Which brings us to: optional dramatic deaths. The game gets extra fun if, whenever you “die,” you die a dramatic death: fall on the floor, gasp, shout out your famous last words, etc. Adds in an element of humor and drama. :) At the minimum, just announce you’re dead and leave the circle.

That’s basically the only game play. The Murderer squeezes hands of the people next to him, both to his right and to his left, and the squeezes get passed around the circle, going both directions, and any player who receives only one hand squeeze dies and leaves the circle. So the circle keeps getting smaller and smaller. The Murderer can kill as quickly or as slowly as he wants.

As for the other players, their objective is to guess who the Murderer is before they all end up dead. Players do this with a simple accusation: “Kate, are you the Murderer?” Since Kate’s not the Murderer in this game, she shakes her head no, and then the player who made the false accusation has to leave the circle. Figuring out the Murderer is trickier than you might think, because players have no idea where the hand-squeezes originate from, and when you watch a player die on the other side of the circle, you might not even know from which direction the killing strike came.

The game ends when someone correctly accuses Aaron as the Murderer, or when Aaron kills everyone else. Whew!

Variations: Have you tried the winks version of murder? There’s also mafia, a game with a similar theme.

Would you rather

What it is: A hypothetical talking game where players choose which of two scenarios they’d rather do.

Best for: Any number of players. It’s a great two-player game.

What you need: Nothing! Aren’t those games the best? It can be nice if you have a pre-made list of “would you rather” scenarios. Guess what? I made one! You can download it for free below.

How to play: Basically players take turns asking each other questions starting with “Would you rather…” and ending with two different scenarios. Like, “Would you rather have to wear ski goggles for the rest of your life…


…or have to wear a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle mask?”


(p.s. is Donatello your favorite?)

As demonstrated, the questions are usually a little wacky/silly/absurd. (In some variations, they’re also gross/weird, but I don’t like those questions as much.)

Some other examples of would you rather questions:

  • Would you rather live to be 90 with great health or live an extra ten years past 90 with not-so-great health?
  • Would you rather live off of bread only or live off of anything but carbs?
  • Would you rather be respected but feared or laughed at and loved?

The questions can be thoughtful, silly, or completely hypothetical. It’s fun for players to think up their own questions, too.

Once someone asks a question, everyone else must answer the question. Then another player gets to ask a question.

Another variation for a large group is to have one player draw a question (like from the list I made below) and answer it alone. Then another player draws another question and answers it for themselves, and so on. This could work well if you have so many people, it’s hard to have everyone answer each question.

Printables: Here’s the list of Would you rather questions I came up with. It’s two pages long, so not a ton, but definitely enough to get you started or get you thinking of ideas. Once you get playing with a good group, the ideas usually start coming to players. It’s a fun talking game to play.

Printable-markerWould you rather

Categories list

What it is: A very flexible game with lots of adaptations.

Best for: A group of about 4 to 10.

What you need: You’ll need a list of categories (I’ve provided one below) and possibly a timer and pens and paper.

How to play: Basically the challenge is to try and think of as many items in a category as you can. An example category would be fast food.


And items in the category? Chicken nuggets, tacos, hamburgers, hot dogs, French fries, McDonald’s apple pies, chicken sandwiches, and on and on. How many things can you think of?

Variations: There are many different ways you could set up your game. Here’s a few to get you started.

Like the game Scattergories, you can name as many items in a category that start with the same letter. Choose a letter from the alphabet, draw a category, set a timer, and go! For example, if the category were male names and the letter were C, you could write any of these:

  • Carson
  • Caleb
  • Cole
  • Christian
  • Connor
  • Carter
  • Cameron

You can play on teams, individually, or as a whole group. At the end of the game, everyone takes turns reading all their answers aloud, where questionable answers can be submitted to the group to see if they’ll be allowed or not. (For example: “Camille? That’s a girl’s name!” “But I totally knew a guy named Camille once!” “OK, fine, we’ll allow it.”) If you’re playing against each other, the person who writes down the most names wins. (One variation is to have everyone cross off any name that someone else wrote down, too. That way the person with the most unique answers wins.)

You could also play the above version, but without the restriction of a letter of the alphabet. Any boy name, for example, would work for the above example. Then follow the same rules for the rest of the game.

Another variation which works really well for car rides or killing time can be played one word at a time. In this variation, you pick a category and then take turns saying something from that category, one player at a time. The first person who can’t think of a word that hasn’t already been said is out of the game, and you start a new round with a new category. (The game first letter, last letter is an even more challenging variation of this.)

You could of course use your list of categories to play the pool game categories or a similar game.

What other rules or variations can you come up with?

Printables: Here’s the list of categories! It’s a few pages long, so hopefully it gives you lots of categories to choose from for all of your game-playing needs. :)