Pictionary is one of the easiest games to play, and it can provide hours of entertainment. It requires very few materials and can be learned in minutes. You do need a good pictionary word list though, and we're here to help!
We've collected over 100 pictionary ideas, ranging from animals to places to action verbs. We also explain different ways to play pictionary and the materials you need to gather. Will you be drawing Abe Lincoln? An igloo? Sunburn? They're all options on our pictionary word lists!
What Materials Do You Need to Play Pictionary?
A major benefit to playing pictionary is that you almost definitely already have all the materials you need. All you need for pictionary is:
- At least two people, although 4+ is better to create teams of two or more people
- Whiteboard with markers or a pad of paper with pens/pencils
- Dice (optional)
- List of pictionary words (that's where we come in!) each on their own piece of paper
How Do You Play Pictionary?
Pictionary involves one person drawing a picture based on a secret word, and others trying to guess the word correctly.
Set up the game by gathering your pictionary words. You can write each word on a card that you then stack face-down, or you can write each word on a piece of paper you then fold so no writing is visible. The point is that the person drawing shouldn't be able to see the words before choosing a card/piece of paper. You might also choose to write the pictionary category on each word card, which we discuss more in the "pictionary ideas" section. Next, set up the paper/pens or drawing board/markers in a spot where they're visible to everyone.
To start playing, divide the group evenly into teams. How many teams you form depends on the number of people playing and how many groups you want them split into, but each team should have at least two people. If you have a large number of people, you can decide if you want two larger teams or multiple smaller teams. If your group is made up of pictionary beginners, you may want to play with larger teams so that there are more people to guess the answer while everyone gets familiar with the game. Generally, the more players on each team, the quicker the game moves along.
If you only have three people, one person will be the designated drawer, while the other two take turns guessing. If you have two people, they can alternate between drawing and guessing.
Once you have your teams formed, you can begin playing pictionary. First, decide which team will draw first. You can choose this yourselves or have each team roll a die and have the team with the highest roll go first. The team drawing first will decide which member will be the first drawer. Next, designate a timer (any player from another team).
The drawer will then select a card or slip of paper with a word on it. The drawer gets 5 seconds to look at the word and think about what to draw. If you're playing with categories, they'll announce the word's category to the other players. The timer then starts the time, and the drawer gets 60 seconds to draw the word as best they can. No letters or numbers are allowed in the drawing.
During those 60 seconds, players on the drawer's team try to guess the word being drawn. If they get the answer right, they get a point. If they don't, they get no points. Once the word has been correctly guessed or the 60 seconds are up (whichever happens first), the next team gets a turn to draw a new word and guess.
Play until one team reaches a set number of points (10 is common). They are the winners!
Let everyone (not just the drawer's team) guess the pictionary phrases being drawn. The team of the correct guesser gets the point.
If the team guesses the word correctly before 60 seconds are up, continue playing additional words until time is up. The team gets one point for each word they correctly guess.
Award different amounts of points for different word categories (such as two points for correctly guessing a more challenging word).
If time runs out and the word hasn't been correctly guessed, the other team can have a chance to guess the word and get the point.
Teams go head to head. One person from each team draws the same word at the same time, and the team who guesses first earns the point.
If you have a board game with spaces to move around (such as Candy Land, etc.) you can roll a die before each round and move that many spaces if the word is correctly guessed instead of awarding points. The first team to get to the end of the board wins.
113 Pictionary Ideas
Below are a variety of pictionary word lists, organized into six categories. You may decide to organize the words by category or have the drawer announce the category before beginning to draw. Having pictionary categories will generally make the game easier because the guessers will have a better idea of what they're trying to guess before drawing begins. You can also choose to combine all the pictionary ideas to make the game trickier.
Object Pictionary Words
- Bunk bed
- Ferris wheel
- Banana peel
- Sleeping bag
Place Pictionary Words
- Mount Rushmore
- Washington DC
- Las Vegas
- Train station
- North Pole
- Disney World
Animal Pictionary Words
People (and Creatures That Act Like People) Pictionary Words
- Justin Beiber
- Alexander Hamilton
- Robin Hood
- Girl Scout
- Baby Yoda
- Abe Lincoln
- Harry Potter
- Queen Elizabeth
Verb Pictionary Words
Hard Pictionary Words
- Black hole
- Time machine
- Panama Canal
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Christine graduated from Michigan State University with degrees in Environmental Biology and Geography and received her Master's from Duke University. In high school she scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and was named a National Merit Finalist. She has taught English and biology in several countries.