Describing people and describing physical appearance in English is one of my absolute favorite lessons to teach. There are plenty of fun games and activities about describing people that students really enjoy. In this post, we have put together a list of our favorite games and activities to teach descriptions and describing physical appearance in English.
Describing People Activity 1: Who Am I?
This first game to teach descriptions in English requires little to no prep. In this game, each student should write a short description about themselves, without including their name. For example, a student might write “I am tall. I have black hair and brown eyes. I wear glasses.”, etc.
Once students have written a short description describing their physical appearance, they should fold up their piece of paper and give it to the teacher.
Then, the teacher would mix up the descriptions and then choose one and read it out to the class. The students should listen to that description and then try to guess who the teacher is describing.
This is a great game for reviewing lessons about describing appearance and students of all ages really enjoy it.
Describing People Activity 2: Draw A Monster
This next activity is a fun game to teach descriptions to kids. To play this game, give each student a piece of paper and a pencil. Then, show the above video. The students must read the sentences which are describing the appearance of a monster.
After reading about the monster’s physical appearance, pause the video and ask the students to try to draw the monster based on that description.
Once students have finished their drawing, press play on the video to reveal what the monster looks like and compare the students’ drawings to the monster in the video.
Kids really love this game and will be laughing out loud when they see the strange monster drawings they made.
Describing People Activity 3: Guess Who
This next game is inspired the classic board game ‘guess who’. In this classroom version of the game, the teacher would invite one student up to the front of the class and ask them to turn around / close their eyes.
Then the teacher will point at one student in the class to be ‘it’. After choosing one student, the student at the front can open his/her eyes.
Next, the other students in the class must describe the appearance of the student that the teacher chose, and the student at the front must guess which student they are describing.
For example, to describe the student they might say, “He has blonde hair.”, “He is wearing a red jacket.”, “He is short.”, etc.
Once the student at the front guesses who the students are describing, then it’s another student’s turn to go to the front of the class and close their eyes.
If this game is too easy for students, another great way to play this descriptions game is to get the student at the front of the class to ask questions to figure out who is ‘it’.
For example, the student might ask “Does he have glasses?”, “Is he wearing a red jacket?”, “Is he tall?”, etc.
Describing People Activity 4: Drawing Dictation
This descriptions game is great for describing appearance and for introducing description words to kids and beginner English language students. In this activity, the teacher will be drawing a person on the board based on the students’ descriptions.
To start, review parts of the body and face with students. Next, the teacher should ask the students how he/she should draw the person on the board by asking them to describe the different parts of the body.
A great place to start is with the eyes. Ask students, to choose, “big eyes or small eyes?”. Then, ask them about the nose. “Big nose or small nose?”. And so on, until you have drawn the entire person based on these descriptions.
This is a great game as students, especially kids, find it really funny when you draw a silly drawing on the board.
After playing one time, you can give each student a piece of paper and give them a chance to draw a person as you describe the appearance of a person.
Describing People Activity 5: Walking Dictation
This last activity to for describing appearance is based on the esl game, ‘walking dictation’. But rather than dictating what to write, the students will be describing the appearance of what the teacher showed them.
To play, divide the class into teams and provide each team with a piece of paper and a pencil. Next, invite one student from each team to come to the front of the class. Show these students a picture of a person or a monster/animal, etc.
Next, these students must go back to their team and describe the appearance of what they saw. The other students in the group must then try to draw the picture as accurately as they can.
After five minutes or so, ask students to stop drawing and to hold up their pictures. The team with the most accurate drawing is the winner.
Describing People – Related Resources
Here are some related resources for teaching descriptions / lessons about describing appearance that are currently available.