play cranium non readers

Do your kids like to draw? Do you ever play drawing games?

If you’re looking for a fun drawing board game to play with non-readers, I’ll walk you through how we did this with Cranium.

A little background

The other day my kids and I were cleaning out the garage. Well, really it was me while they loitered, moved things around, and made a lot of noise.

My 3-year old found an old, but never-before-opened game of a Cranium. She adores opening new packages and ran into the house for a pair of scissors.

Once the box was open and she was done exploring its contents, she asked if we could play. I love how open-minded and full of enthusiasm children can be.

If you look at the packaging I think it recommends this game for age 18 and older, so it wasn’t exactly age-appropriate, but we played a version that she enjoyed and I think it could work in some capacity for kids of all ages.

drawing games preschool

I searched through the deck of cards for something that she had some chance of drawing (and understanding). Which meant “no” on Devil’s Food Cake, Card Shark, and Wicked Witch of the East, and “yes” on Mermaids, Bubble Bath, and Potty (short for Potty Training).

How to Play Cranium with Non-readers

I pulled out a card and read it to her while she looked on (and maybe picked up on how letters form words). Then she drew it to the best of her ability.

This part was the most fun for me, and in some cases frustrating for her. In the picture above, she was challenged to draw a mermaid and asked me if she could look at a picture of one. I pulled up a drawing of Disney’s Little Mermaid, she gave it her best effort, exclaimed that it looked nothing like a mermaid, and this exercise ended with, “it’s your turn.”

Then I drew one (a potty) while she guessed what I was drawing. Despite years of drawing classes, my drawing barely looked like a potty and it took her forever to make a correct guess. I think it helped her to see me struggle, showing that we can’t always create the things that our brains envision. At least I hope that’s what happened.

Back to her…she got to draw bubble bath…

drawing game preschool

Again, I was so curious to see how she would tackle this challenge. She chose a blue crayon….

drawing game preschool

Drew some water along the left side of the paper and bubbles on the right side. Ah, a bubble bath! We played a total of about 5 drawings before she was done.

If I were to do this again, I’d make my own cards with words of things that are in her drawing vocabulary: flowers, people, rockets, and rainbows. And I’d include a few things just outside of her drawing ability: house, bike, tree, bunny.

But venus flytraps and Hawaiian shirts may have to wait another 15 years.

More drawing games

Art Dice: A fun tool for creating randomly-created art. Also good for teaching shapes, colors, lines, etc.

Slide Drawing: A roll of paper and some crayons turn a slide into more than a downhill ride

Drawing Shadows: Play with sidewalk chalk on a sunny morning or afternoon

Organic Shape Monsters: You just need some string, a drawing tool, and a big imagination.

Challenge Drawings: Cut out shapes of paper and see what you can turn them into (The Artful Parent)

Pick and Draw Art Game: A deck of drawing cards reviewed by The Chocolate Muffin Tree

A simple way to learn how to Draw Circles from Lessons Learnt Journal

Stuck in a waiting room? Save this fun waiting room drawing idea (Mama Smiles)

Do you have a favorite drawing game or post about a drawing game?



    • It’s a great way to help kids see things through a new lens. Thanks to the great MaryAnn F. Kohl (and Jean Van’t Hul), once again!

  1. Fun! Yesterday morning when I was letting Little M in on the plan for the day I tried drawing a library. I have not taken drawing classes but I was still a little surprised that I could not draw a recognizable book! 🙂  we are going to need to practice drawing for mommy’s sake!

    We started playing a drawing game that we made up when the kids were pretty little.  We call it the Line Game.  http://amomwithalessonplan.com/2011/05/10/simple-waiting-games-the-line-game/

    • Isn’t it weird how hard it can be to draw the simplest things? The good news is that kids are very forgiving! thanks for sharing the line game — I love it!

  2. No but my husband has been playing one on his phone lately!  Thanks for the idea!

    • Ha! Ann, he’s most certainly not alone! 

  3. We love drawing games! Thanks for giving us more to try out. 

    Here’s one of our favorite toddler drawing games.  http://inspirationlaboratories.com/2011/11/drawing-games/

    • It can be hard to find drawing games for toddlers and I appreciate the link. Look forward to checking it out, Trisha!

  4. I need to look over my games and see which ones I can make simpler for my guy.

    • That’s a good idea! Kids have a wonderful way of inventing their own rules, don’t they? I’m sure you’ll come up with something great — look forward to hearing about it.

Comments are closed.