Back-to-Back Drawing


Working in pairs, one person must describe a shape without naming it, whilst their partner must try to draw the shape they are describing to try and get as close the original shape as possible. This activity focuses heavily on verbal communication and listening skills.

Resources: Various shapes printed, paper and pencils
Space Required: Small. Indoors or outdoors.
Group Size: 6 to 16 ideally (If you have an odd number allow for a trio)

Total Time: 20 minutes

  • 5 minutes to brief and set up
  • 2 x 5 minutes to achieve outcome
  • 5 minutes to review and debrief

Back to Back Drawing Challenge Brief

Divide your team into pairs, and have each pair organise their chairs so they are sitting back to back. Give one person out of each pair a picture of a shape, and give the other person some paper and a pencil. The person who is holding the pictures is now required to give verbal instructions to their partners on how to draw the shape – they are not allowed to tell their partner the name of the shape and can only describe the picture. Allow three to five minutes to complete the picture and after, compare the shape with the actual drawing.

Next get them to discuss the exercise and review the following questions:

  • How well did the first person describe the shape to their partner?
  • How well did the second person understand the instructions and how close were they to duplicating the actual shape of the picture?
  • Did they discover any problems with the sending or receiving parts of communication and how did they overcome this?



  1. We’re a group οf volunteers and opening a new effort in our community.
    Your web site provided us with helpful information to work on.
    Our entire neighborhood is thankful to you.

    • Retha,
      We would love for you to share this.

      We ask that you give proper credit and link back to the Activity or Game on our site.

      Let me know if you have any other questions.


      • Thinking about this activity with simple pictures instead of shapes (e.g. pic of liight bulb). Do you think this would be too challenging?

        Also, great site! Will share with colleagues!

        • Jill – Yes you could use a picture and have them verbally describe it instead of having them draw it. It does however simplify the process since one participant wouldn’t be drawing it. Just reduces the complexity in communicating. Let me know how it works when it try it out.
          Thanks for sharing the site!

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