A: Word and Image

These activities are also available in Romanianro_ro and Dutch .

Goal: familiarize people with the idea that spoken language (words) can be converted into images on paper. People can then discover that the objects or situations in their drawings can also be represented by letters. The ultimate goal is for people to discover that spoken words can be written.

A1: Draw a Word

Goal: To create awareness that ideas can be put on paper.

Needed: a sheet of paper and colored pencils for each person.


  1. Talk with the group about a topic, for example spring. Discuss things related to the topic. For example: lambs, crocuses, playing outside without a coat on, playing ball, etc. Adapt the examples to the local culture.
  2. Have each person think of a word related to the topic. Everyone whispers this word in the ear of the person sitting or standing next to them, so that the others cannot hear what he or she is saying.
  3. Then give everyone a piece of paper and have them draw a picture of the word they heard. Make sure everyone has a word and can draw something.
  4. When the drawings are finished, people can tell each other whether their ‘neighbor’ heard correctly what word they whispered to him or her.
  5. Alternately, you can write the appropriate word on the drawings afterwards.

A2: Which Flower

Goal: Practice good listening and watching.  Participants learn that there can be similarities between what you see and what you represent, both verbally and on paper.

Needed: a vase with flowers, twigs and bows. For each person, a sheet of paper with an empty vase drawn on it, and colored pencils. Tailor the game to the daily experience of the people. If a vase of flowers is foreign to them, use a basket full of fruits and vegetables, a bowl with several shells in it, etc.


  1. Show the well-filled vase and discuss its contents. Encourage the group to describe the shape of the flowers, the colors, how many leaves there are on each twig, the length of a stem, etc. Make sure everyone has an opportunity to say something.
  2. Divide the people into pairs and give them a drawing assignment. One describes exactly what needs to be drawn (the example is in the vase). The other listens and draws what the first person describes: a flower, a branch or a bow. The one drawing will use the example in the vase.
  3. When the drawing is finished, the roles can be reversed. The one who described, now draws and vice versa.

Online variation: This game can also be played online. Then have one person describe what needs to be drawn and all the others draw it. When they have completed a drawing, it is someone else’s turn to describe something from the vase, and the others draw it.

Small group variation: This activity can also be played in a small group of just two, three or four people.

A3: Draw a Character

Goals: practice listening, putting ideas on paper, describing, and telling as well as thinking up stories. People experience something positive when they make up stories on their own. The story is more person. Having ownership of the story motivates people to learn something new. This activity also practices using and learning different words and different types of words (nouns, adverbs, verbs).

Needed: a sheet of paper and colored pencils or markers for everyone, possibly a toy doll.


  1. Draw the figure of a person and talk about it with the group. Describe it. What’s it wearing? What does the hair look like? (Make sure your drawing is at the same level as the participants’, otherwise they’ll get discouraged and think, “I can’t do that!”)
  2. Discuss with each other what kind of clothing can be worn.
  3. Then tell and draw what the person is carrying. For example, he carries an ax and a saw. Let the people guess what he is going to do. Maybe he’s on his way to an old, damaged tree that needs to be cut down.
  4. Then discuss what else a person might have with them: a fishing rod, a boat, a ball, flowers, a bucket, a horse, and so on.
  5. Have everyone draw their own figure of a person, with the things it is wearing and carrying.
  6. When they are ready, they can take turns standing in front of the group and telling about their drawing.

Variation 1: Divide the people into pairs. One describes a little person that he makes himself, the other draws it. When the drawing is done, the roles are reversed. This can also be played online.

Variation 2: Collect the drawings and descriptions from everyone. Put them together into a booklet for the group.

 A4: Drawing Dictation

Goal: Word = image. This activity will help people discover this. It also helps develop fine motor skills, learning to listen to the group leader or teacher, and concentration.

Needed: colored pencils for everyone and a number of sheets of paper, each divided into two halves.


  1. Give a dictation, where the people do not write, but draw. Name one by one eight words or situations. Instead of writing down the words, as in a spelling dictation, the people draw the word or situation. They draw one situation on each half sheet of paper. They can use the paper on both sides.

For example:

  • a tree
  • a man on a horse
  • a small child on the roof
  • an apple
  • a car with 15 children in it
  1. Everyone shows their drawings. Have them name what they have drawn by coming up with a title for their drawing or describing it. If necessary, as leader you can write the title or description on the drawing so that the people can see the connection between their drawing and the text written on it.

Online variation: This game can also be played online. Then let one person describe what needs to be drawn, or do this as the activity leader. Everyone else makes the drawing. When they finish it, it’s someone else’s turn to describe a word or situation, and the others draw it.

Small group variation: This activity can also be played in a small group of just two, three or four people.

A5: Chalk on shoe sole

Goal: Learn to recognize letters, practice the sound of a letter and make words with it.

Needed: chalk (or post-it notes) to write (or stick) on the soles of the shoes. A poster or chalkboard with the alphabet written on it.


  1. Put a different letter on the sole of each person’s shoe, either by writing it with chalk or sticking on a post-it note. Give each person a different letter.
  2. Start with just one person. Have everyone look at the letter on one person’s shoe sole and take turns saying which letter they think it is. If someone is incorrect, help them discover which letter it is.
  3. When everyone who wants to guess has had a turn and the people know which letter it is, have the group look at the letter on someone else’s shoe sole and take turns saying which one they think it is. Go around the entire group, looking at different letters, until everyone has been looked at or until the group can no longer concentrate.
  4. If the group knows know the alphabet, let them look at the alphabet on the poster or blackboard to help guess which letter it is. You can use list of letters to give clues such as ‘it’s a letter further back in the alphabet’ or ‘it’s a letter further on in the alphabet’ to help them discover which letter the person in question has on the sole of their shoe.
  5. When all the letters on the soles of the shoes have been ‘guessed’, have the people come up with a word that starts with one of those letters. Help them with this if necessary.

Note: First check whether it is acceptable within the local culture to show the bottom of ones shoe. If it is not, a good alternative might be to put a post-it note on everyone’s back.