Tuesday, 25 October 2016

ESL Drawing Games

Beetle Drive

Age/Level: Young learners     Time: 15 minutes     Players: Small teams     Preparation: Dice, paper and pencils

Aim: To draw parts of the body

Here is a fun drawing game for teaching parts of the body.


Divide the class into small teams.

Give each student a sheet of paper and a pencil.

Write the following on the board: 1 = body, 2 = head, 3 = eyes, 4 = legs, 5 = antennae, 6 = wings.

Then, give each team a dice.

Tell the students that they are going to draw a picture of a beetle by rolling a dice and then drawing the part of the beetle associated with the number.

The catch is that the body must be first, so students can’t start drawing until they throw a one. Students must also draw a head (two) before they can draw the eyes and antennae.

The first student in each team rolls their dice. If they get a one, the student draws a beetle’s body.

The next student then rolls the dice and so on.

The aim is to be the first team to complete a drawing of a beetle.

Beetle Drive.PDF


Don't say a word!

Age/Level: Any     Time: 20 minutes     Players: Groups of 5 to 6     Preparation: Write ten words or phrases on a piece of paper and make copies

Aim: To draw and guess words or phrases

This is a good drawing game for practicing or revising vocabulary and phrases.

Before class, write a set of ten words or phrases on a piece of paper. Make one copy of the set for each group. Cut the words/phrases into slips.


Divide the class into groups of five or six.

Give each group a set of slips and ask them to place the slips face down.

When you say 'go', the first student in each group takes a card and has 60 seconds to draw the word/phrase on a sheet of paper.

The students are not allowed to speak or use any words or letters in the drawing.

While the student is drawing, the other members of the group try to guess the word or phrase (They must say exactly what is on the card.).

When the time limit has been reached, shout 'stop', and ask each group if they guessed the word or phrase correctly. Give them one point if they did.

Then, it's the next students turn to take a slip and so on.

The team with the most points at the end is the winner.

Don't say a word.PDF


Draw the Sentence - Present Continuous Game

Age/Level: Elementary and above     Time: 25 minutes     Players: 2 teams     Preparation: None

Aim: To guess what people are doing in a picture using the present continuous tense

This is an imaginative ESL drawing game for teaching the present continuous tense. This game can be played with students of all ages.


Individually, students write down two sentences using the present continuous tense. The sentences must start with 'He', 'She' or 'They'.


He is playing football.

Split the class up into two teams (A and B).

One student from Team A comes up to the board and draws one of their sentences. The student is not allowed to write words or letters, and cannot speak.

Team A has one minute to try to guess the correct sentence. If they cannot guess correctly after one minute, Team B can try to answer.

One point is awarded for each correct answer.

Then, a student from Team B comes up to the board and so on.

The first team to ten points wins the game.

Draw the Sentence.PDF


Age/Level: Any     Time: 20 minutes     Players: 2 teams     Preparation: Pictures of target vocabulary

Aim: To draw and guess target vocabulary

This drawing game is ideal for introducing or revising vocabulary.

There are two possible ways to play this game. The first version is better for younger learners. The second version works well with older students.


Version 1 (Younger students)

Separate the students into two teams and have them sit in two circles.

Put a plastic hammer in the centre of each circle.

Draw a picture on the board.

If a student knows what the picture is, they hit the floor with the plastic hammer and call out the answer.

One point is given for each correct answer.

Play until all the vocabulary is revealed or time is up. 

Version 2 (Older students)

Put the students into two teams.

A student from each team comes to the front of the class.

Show the two students a picture of the target vocabulary.

Each student draws the picture.

The first team to say the word wins a point.

Play until all the vocabulary is revealed or time is up.



Quick Draw

Age/Level: Any     Time: 15 minutes     Players: Teams of 5 or 6     Preparation: Write words from a chosen area of vocabulary on small cards

Aim: To identify and guess words from a drawing

You can use this drawing game to help students practice or revise a variety of vocabulary and categories of words such as adjectives, animals, verbs, sports, etc. You can also use this game to revise any vocabulary you have been teaching your students.


Divide the students into teams of five or six.

Invite a student from one team to come to the front of the class and take a word card.

The student then has ten seconds to draw what’s on the card on the board. 

The student’s team then has three attempts to guess what they think the drawing represents.

If they are correct on their first try, the student’s team gets three points. If they are right on their second try, they get two points. If they guess correctly on their last attempt, they get one point.

The team must call out exactly what’s written on the card to win.

If the student’s team fails to guess the word after three attempts, the other teams can race to answer. The other teams are allowed one guess each.

If another team manages to guess the word, award them with one point.

Then a student from the next team comes to the front and takes a word card and so on.

If you want to make this game easier, tell the class which topic they are dealing with, e.g. adjectives.

Quick Draw.PDF


The Drawing Game

Age/Level: Elementary and above     Time: 20 minutes     Players: 2 teams     Preparation: None

Aim: To guess the name of a famous film, TV show, book or person from a drawing

This fun drawing game will motivate your students to speak English.


Separate the class into two teams.

Take one student from each team out of the classroom. Give the two students a marker or chalk. Then, tell them the name of a famous film, TV show, book or person.

The two students then go back into the classroom and start drawing clues on the board.

The first team to answer correctly wins a point.

The next two students are taken out of the classroom and so on.

This game can also be played using vocabulary sets, e.g. animals, food, furniture, etc.

The Drawing Game.PDF


The Picture Game

Age/Level: Any     Time: 15 minutes     Players: Groups of 4     Preparation: Copies of a picture

Aim: To accurately describe a picture

This drawing game is suitable for any level. Choose simpler pictures for lower-level students and more complicated pictures for higher-level students. You may also want to decide on the vocabulary relating to the picture before starting the game.


Divide the class into groups of four.

Half the students are 'speakers' and the other half are 'drawers'.

The drawers sit facing away from the speakers.

Give the speakers in each group a copy of the chosen picture.

The speakers then have to describe the picture to the drawers.

The drawers cannot look at the picture, but they can use English to ask questions to help them draw a more accurate picture.

Give the groups a time limit of 5 to 10 minutes, depending on the kind of picture they are drawing.

The group that can draw the most accurate picture wins.

The Picture Game.PDF

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