Students describe a word.  However, there is a limitation that makes it challenging and forces the children to think beyond the habit of their most common words.

Common Core State Standards

This game can also address the following Common Core Standards:  CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.K.4, SL.1.4, SL.3.4, SL.4.4 and SL.5.4.

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You will need a magnetic spinner*.

(If you haven’t read my full post on the winner spinner you won’t want to miss it!  It gives you a long list of game ideas that are so easy to run and super fun for the kids.  Check out the full post here.)


First, draw a circle on the white board, chalkboard or smart board.

describe a word, spin a letter

Divide the circle into 4 sections.  Fill the sections with the letters n, l, r, t and place the spinner in the middle. (You can use any letters that you want.  These are the letters that I use most often.)

Describe ANY Word

Explain to the students that they can describe ANY word.  In other words, the word that they are describing can be ANYTHING.

The Prohibited Letter

However, the words that they USE to describe their word CANNOT have the letter that they have spun.

For example, in the following image the student can’t use words that have the letter “t” in them to describe his chosen word.

Students describe words

This is confusing in the very beginning.  But once the game gets going, the kids love it and it challenges the speaker to think outside the box, to use other words than what he or she would normally use.


  1. One student stands at the front of the group.
  2. He/she describes a word that coincides with the topic that’s discussed that day (a place, a person, movie, brand name etc.)
  3. The student has to say at least 3 sentences before players can guess.
  4. The student chooses a student who is seated, quiet and has his/her hand up to guess

students describe words

5.  Whichever student guesses correctly, takes the next turn.

Print the Instructions

Here are the instructions for you to print out and use.

 Writing Activity

I turned this game into an activity sheet.  You can print it Here!

Writing Prompts

We’ve played this game after the following writing prompts:

Hot Tamales!-Journal (describing candies)

describe candy names

Never Ending Syrup Sundae-Instructions (describing ice cream flavors)

describe ice cream flavors

Festive Food-Personal Narrative (describing foods)

Exploration-an imaginary personal narrative (describing places)