Free Visualization Game: For Improved Reading, Writing, and Memory

Posted by Erica Warren on

I recently finished a publication, Mindful Visualization for Learning,  that reviews the history and research behind visualization and then provides teachers everything they need to assess and teach this complex skill. In celebration, I wanted to share one of my favorite games, Picture This and Draw.

Dr Erica Warren's free visualization game

What is Visualization

Visualization is an internal, cognitive tool that enables student to picture imagery in their mind's eye.  Like a dream, stories, past experiences and even future events are imagined on an inner sketch pad.  

How Visualization Improves Academics

Visualization is important because it aids in memory encoding and retrieval. In addition, it is a vital tools for working memory which boils down two cognitive processes: visualization and one's inner voice. In fact, I tell all my students that it is the secret weapon to learning, and when we develop this skill, memory can be virtually a "no brainer."

boy using visualization skills

Free Visualization Sample Game

The best part about this particular game is it not only develops the capacity to visualize, but works on verbal reasoning, expressive language, visual memory, fine motor integration, spatial skills, attention to details, and the ability to follow directions. This game is one that I enjoy playing with my own students. In fact, I played it this past week. 

This sample game can also be download on the product page:  CLICK HERE 
Jenna and I went to opposite sides of the room with two pieces of paper and some colored markers. We each drew images on one piece of paper and then described our pictures in detail on the other piece of paper. We hid our illustrations and then shared our descriptions with one another.
Our next task was to recreate the images by generating our own visualizations from the words and then drawing it on a blank piece of paper. Once we finished, we compared the new drawings to the originals and analyzed the results. 

Jenna's image is depicted to the right. Please note that it is important to keep images very simple. Below you will find a full description of the game.

Picture This and Draw

  • Paper
  • Colored pencils or magic markers

Group Administration

  • Draw a simple image, with no more than 3 - 6 very simple elements. 
  • Have one student or the teacher describe the image to the other students verbally  or in writing. Use as many details as possible. 
  • Describe the size, color, number, shape and the location of the objects on the page. 
  • Next, have each student produce a drawing of his or her visualization based on the description presented. 
  • Make sure each student can not see what the other students are drawing. 
  • When all the students have finished, share the drawings with the group and discuss which student’s drawing is closest to the description. 
  • Discuss ways the presenter could have done a better job describing the image. 
  • Review each drawing and discuss what each student could do to improve his or her visualizations. 

Individual Administration:

  • You can also play this game one-on-one. 
  • Begin by going to opposite sides of the room so that each player can not see each other’s work (each player should have a set of colored pencils or magic markers as well as two blank pieces of paper). 
  • On one page, both players should make very simple drawings with no more than 3 - 6 elements, as in Jenna's image pictured above. 
  • Then, on the other page, each player should describe, in words, the image they drew with as much detail as possible. 
  • Next, the players should share with each other the description of the image they drew, while still concealing the drawing.
  • Each player reads the other player’s description and completes a drawing based upon it.
  • Finally, the players compare their images and discuss in what ways improvements could be made to the written descriptions, as well as the drawings.
This sample game can also be download on the product page:  CLICK HERE 

If you would like to learn more about the history of visualization and also access assessment materials and many other fun activities and games that will teach this needed skill, please come check out my new publication Mindful Visualization for Education as well as my two Teaching Visualization PowerPoints.

Cheers, Dr. Erica Warren

Dr. Erica Warren is the author, illustrator, and publisher of multisensory educational materials at Good Sensory Learning. She is also the director of Learning to Learn and Learning Specialist Courses.

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