The Picture/Caption Game

Here’s a great game for all those boring travel moments. All you need is a few pieces of paper (or receipts or envelopes or old boarding passes) and a few pens, pencils, crayons, or Hello Kitty Multi Color Pens — whatever you’ve got. Adults enjoy it, kids enjoy it, pre-literate people can play too, and it teaches non-pedantically about parts of speech.

This game (which needs a better title, I know), is a variation on Exquisite Corpse. It works like this:

~ Someone writes a phrase at the top of the paper. I like to play that people write an adjective and a noun — Hungry Cat, Misunderstood Umbrella, etc. Pass it to the left.

~ The next person draws a picture of the phrase. This gets especially fun if the phrase was kind of abstract. Then they fold over the phrase so that only the pictures shows and pass it to the left.

~The next person writes a adjective/noun caption for that picture. They fold over the picture and pass to the left

~ The next person draws a picture for that caption, and so on until the paper is full.

Then you open the paper and look at how the Misunderstood Umbrella became a Groovy Manta Ray, which became a Talking Leaf etc. Pre-literate kids can be positioned so that they always draw. And those older folks who cringe because they “can’t draw”? Tell them that’s an asset in this game, like mumbling is in Telephone.

Another fun version is to write full sentence captions instead of a two-word phrase. This version is especially good for older people who can make the sentences weird and abstract instead of descriptive. It’s much more fun (and challenging) to draw “Maybe no one speaks Umbrella said the umbrella” than “There is an umbrella with a frown in a corner.” And after all, the whole point is to have fun writing.

(And if you try this one out and come up with a better name for it, please let me know!)

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