Draw and Describe: Monsters

Young learners love to draw creatures such as monster or aliens. If you celebrate Halloween at your school, your classroom walls should be filling up with scary, creepy, and silly creatures by now. Here’s a fun activity to get your students into the Halloween spirit. It will also help your students practice listening, speaking, and giving instructions. You don’t have to tell your little monsters that they are also learning prepositions of place!

My Monster
1. Invite all of your students to draw a colorful monster or alien on a blank sheet of paper. They shouldn’t show any of their classmates. (Have them open up a big book around their drawing to make a little secret cave as they draw.) Tell your students they should use as much detail as possible. (See vocab list below.) If you have some spooky music, play it while the kids draw. The “Monster Mash” is a fun song to put on. If you want to speed up the drawing portion of this activity, tell students they have to put their crayons or markers down as soon as the music ends.

Your Monster
2. Put your students in pairs or small groups. They should bring their secret drawing hidden in a book or behind their back. They must not show their partner.
3. Give all of the students another blank sheet of paper. Tell students to take turns being the artist and the describer. They will take turns describing their monster or alien to their partner.
4. As Student A describes the monster or alien, Student B listens and tries to draw it. Student A should try not to look at Student B’s drawing until it’s complete. (The little monsters will likely sneak a peek.)
5. When the first description is finished, Student B should show Student A the monster or alien he/she drew. Student A will then show Student B the original monster or alien.

Our Monsters
6. Have students compare the “original” art to the “imitation/knockoff”.
7. Make sure that students switch roles so that both get a chance to be the artist. Have them compare their original monsters as well. How do their monsters differ? How are they similar?

Useful words and phrases to write on the board:

Nouns (for monsters and alien body parts)
polka dots
googly eyes

Adjectives (for describing monsters and aliens)

Prepositions and phrases (for giving drawing instructions)
on the right
on the left
at the side
in the middle
on the top
at the bottom

My monster has two horns on the top of his head.

Verbs (for giving drawing instructions)

Add two horns at the side of its head. Give the alien a moustache.

Comparing words (for comparing monsters/aliens)

Your monster is bigger than mine. | My monster’s ears are uglier than yours.

Example artist instructions

Draw a big purple circle in the middle of your paper. Draw a smaller blue circle on top. Put two red, googly eyes in the small circle. Make a squiggly red mouth under the eyes. Put blue antennae on top of the alien’s head. Add two long blue arms at the side of the big circle. Give the alien huge brown boots. Write the word “Boo” on the right side of the alien.

If your students like this activity, check out Sprout English’s Drawing section in the Project Depot. We hope you’ll also try our activity of the week!

Find Sprout English’s featured resource in the Games Room – Board Games.


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Just for fun
Have you seen these artists? They make stuffed animals out of children’s drawings! Check out the adorable monsters and aliens. ~Tara

Tara Benwell

Tara Benwell is a freelance writer and editor who specializes in materials and articles for the ELT industry. She is the media director and head writer for ESL-Library, and a contributor to its sister site Sprout English. Tara is the author of an iPad storybook series for kids called Happy Campers Books. Her debut novel, The Proper Order of Things is available on Amazon and in the iBookstore.

7 Responses to “Draw and Describe: Monsters”

  1. Tanya Trusler

    Great article, Tara! I love this kind of listen and draw activity—it’s always a hit with my students. They end up listening closely, and they focus on using grammar to speak clearly. If their partner can’t understand them, they realize they have to try to express themselves in another way.

  2. Tara Benwell

    Thanks, Tanya. I’m going to see if some of my online learners will try this activity. They’ll have to do it this way:
    1) Draw a monster or alien.
    2) Pick an online partner.
    3) Record instructions or describe via Skype.
    4) Upload the image of the original.
    5) Invite their partner to upload their image.
    6) Compare and contrast by commenting on each other’s images.

    I’ll let you know how this activity goes in an online community!


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