Ice Breakers

Homemade Pictionary Game

Summary: A classic icebreaker game in which the goal is to get your teammates to correctly identify something that is drawn within the time limit.

Ages: 8 and up. Recommended # of people: Teams of 3+ people. Messiness Factor: No sweat. Materials required: Several sheets or two large pads of paper, notecards, pens, a stopwatch/timer. Recommended setting: Indoors.

Homemade Pictionary

Pictionary is a classic game of drawing and guessing pictures. This game works great with large groups as an icebreaker, as well as simply a fun game to play on a lazy Sunday afternoon with friends.


In advance, a judge (someone who is not playing) should prepare several words written on individual notecards. These are the words that will be drawn, and that teammates will try to guess. Each word(s) should be labeled as one of the following five categories (or be creative and come up with other ones):

  • Person, Place, Animal – A person, place, animal, or other creature that is/was living (e.g. Tiger Woods, a bear).
  • Action – Something that can be done or performed (e.g. ballet, shooting a basketball).
  • Object – Something that can be seen or touched (e.g. a truck, a chocolate chip cookie).
  • Challenge – Something difficult (e.g. The Grand Canyon).
  • All play – A word from any of the above categories. Both teams draw simultaneously.

After the judge finishes preparing several cards, he or she shuffles the pile. You are now ready to play!

How to Play

Divide the group into teams of at least three. Give each team a name. Distribute a large pad (or sheets) of paper and a pen to each group. (Instead of paper, you can also draw on chalkboards or whiteboards). Decide which team goes first.

On a team’s turn, they choose someone to draw. The judge prepares a one-minute timer (or stopwatch) and gives the player a card. The judge says “Go!” and starts the timer. The player begins to draw a picture of the word(s). The goal is for the team to correctly guess the word (or basic idea of the word) within the allotted time limit. If the team correctly guesses the word, they receive a point. Then it’s the next team’s turn.


  • The artist may not make any hand gestures or audible noises.
  • The pictures drawn cannot have any numbers or letters.
  • After a team member successfully says part of the word(s) on the card,


  • In the original Pictionary game, if the team correctly guesses the word, they go again.
  • You can use a standard 6-sided die to determine which category a team must draw from. For example, 1: Person, Place, or Animal 2: Action, 3: Object, 4: Challenge, 5: All Play, 6: Wild (you choose).
  • Instead of having a judge prepare the clues in advance, you can have each player write a few clues in the beginning and then shuffle them all up.

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