The Categories Game

How To Play The Categories Game – A Super Fun Activity For Your Class

If you’ve ever played the popular board game Scategories, then you probably know how to play the categories game. The categories game is a fun and versatile word game that can be played in various settings, like parties, classrooms, or family gatherings. The basic concept is to think of words that belong to a specific category.

In this post, we will detail how to play the categories game and provide you with a big list of categories you can use with this game and other category games. Let’s get started.

How To Play The Categories Game

  1. Divide the class into teams: Make two or three teams depending on your class size. If you have a small class size, you can also play with individuals rather than teams.
  2. Choose 5/6 Categories: Once you have set up the teams, choose 5/6 categories and write them as headings on the board. If you’re stuck for ideas, you can check out the list of categories in the next section of this post.
  3. Choose A Letter Of The Alphabet: Next, choose a letter of the alphabet for the first round.
  4. Start The Game: Now the game can start. Each team must write one word from each category beginning with the letter you chose as quickly as possible. The teams can write their answers on a piece of paper, or you can use this categories game worksheet.
  5. Stop The Game: The first team to write down a word for each category should clap their hands twice and put their hands on their heads. At this point, all other teams should stop writing. This team is the winner.
  6. Check Answers And Award Points: Next, it’s time to award points. Check the answers of the winning team, and if all 5 words are correct, award them 5 points. Then check the other teams’ answers and award a point for each correct category word they have written down.
  7. Start Another Round: Play again, but this time change the letter of the alphabet that the words must start with. After a few rounds, change the categories.

List Of Categories

Categories List

Coming up with fresh category ideas for this game can be a bit challenging, especially if you play this game regularly. That’s why we have put together this big list of categories you can use with this game and other category-style games.

  1. Countries in Europe
  2. Breeds of dogs
  3. Popular sitcoms
  4. Types of fruit
  5. Movie titles
  6. Car manufacturers
  7. World capitals
  8. Elements on the periodic table
  9. US states
  10. Famous authors
  11. Animals that fly
  12. Foods that are spicy
  13. Items found in a supermarket
  14. Musical instruments
  15. Clothing brands
  16. Body parts
  17. Sports equipment
  18. Famous painters
  19. Olympic sports
  20. Video game titles
  21. Vegetables
  22. Things in a kitchen
  23. Musical genres
  24. Birds species
  25. Cartoon characters
  26. Types of flowers
  27. Things you’d pack in a suitcase
  28. Types of fish
  29. Items in a school classroom
  30. Comic book superheroes
  31. Drinks
  32. Book genres
  33. Things found in the ocean
  34. Desserts
  35. Mobile apps
  36. Space-related terms
  37. Famous landmarks
  38. Things you’d find in a garden
  39. Kitchen utensils
  40. Famous scientists
  41. Fast food restaurants
  42. Things that are red
  43. TV game shows
  44. Pizza toppings
  45. Things you can read
  46. Words with double letters
  47. Things found in the sky
  48. Reasons to celebrate
  49. Types of weather
  50. Things that make noise

Why Play The Categories Game?

Playing category games with students, particularly English language learners (ELLs), can have several benefits. One of the most obvious benefits is that it helps learners to expand their vocabulary. By playing the categories game, students are encouraged to recall and use a variety of vocabulary words that pertain to the specific category. Not only will this activate students’ existing knowledge, but they will also encounter new words that their classmates come up with while playing the game.

In addition to vocabulary acquisition, playing this category game also helps students develop their cognitive agility as they are forced to think quickly and come up with words as quickly as possible. This can also help students improve their memory recall skills and help them to remember new words and concepts.

Finally, one of the biggest benefits of playing the categories game is that it is a lot of fun! Students, especially kids, learn best when they are having fun, and that’s why playing games in class is so important.

Games Similar To The Categories Game

There are a number of games similar to the categories game that are equally fun and educational. Here are a few:


This is a commercial game that’s very similar to the categories game. Players are given a list of categories and a letter, and they must come up with an item in each category that starts with that letter.

20 Questions

In the 20 questions game, a player thinks of a word, and the other players take turns asking yes or no questions to try and guess what it is.


In this game, players have to describe a word to their teammates without using a list of “taboo” words. This game encourages creative thinking and synonyms usage.


This is a classic drawing game where players must communicate a word or phrase to their teammates by drawing it.


In this game, players act out a word or phrase without speaking while their team tries to guess what it is.


This word game challenges players to find as many words as possible in a grid of letters in a limited amount of time.

More Classroom Games

Thanks for reading! I hope your students have lots of fun playing the categories game. Before you go, don’t forget to check out the many more fun and engaging games we have here at Games4esl, including ESL Classroom Games, Printable Board Games, PowerPoint Games, and Online Quizzes.

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