If your students or children are learning vocabulary, why not try creating a monster for fun? Vocabulary lessons, especially for basic words, can become boring drudgery if not made interesting. Fun, participatory lessons will make it easier for students to learn and remember new words. Because monsters are made up, children and adults alike can have fun inventing crazy features for them to have.

Introduce different body parts in the language you’re teaching. Monsters can have the usual body parts that people have, like faces, feet, arms, ears, hands, and heads. They can also have animal body parts like antennae, fangs, tails, wings, and fur. Especially if you’re working with kids, don’t forget the fun parts, like belly buttons and eyelashes. Basic-building-blocks

Basic building blocks.

Talk about different colors. Body parts on fanciful monsters can come in all kinds of different colors. Red-hair-and-green-fur

Red hair and green fur.

Discuss what monsters wear. Some monsters have terrible fashion sense.


A monstrous wardrobe.

Mix in some other adjectives. Monster parts could be scary or funny, sharp or round, curly or straight, big or small. Be creative, and think of a variety of different adjectives. Brainstorm adjectives together with the class.
Add prepositions if the class is ready for them. Does the monster have blue fur on its big belly? Does it have sharp teeth in its mouth? What does it have in its pockets or up its sleeve? Do-you-know-where-your-monster-is

Do you know where your monster is?

Give students paper and crayons or colored pencils and have fun creating monsters of all sorts.

Have them label the defining features of their monsters. Take turns presenting the monsters to the class.

Turn the activity around. Have everybody write down the description of a monster in words, then trade descriptions and draw somebody else’s monster. Or, have students team up and describe (but not show) a monster they drew. See which team can describe their monsters most accurately to each other.


  • Don’t grade too heavily on art if the point is to be creative and learn some vocabulary.
  • Don’t make the monsters too scary- the point is to educate, not frighten.
  • Include numbers. Does the monster have five eyes or ten arms?
  • Make a modular monster. Create various monster parts out of colorful paper or felt. Students can go to the board, clip or tape on one more leg, and say, “Now the monster has six legs” and so on. This works especially well for the classroom part of the discussion.
  • To extend the lesson, talk about the monster’s habits. What does it eat? What does it do for fun? Does it like to dance with other monsters or just chase them off?
  • If you like, have a vote for the best monster, the scariest monster, or the craziest monster.
  • Show off your monsters. Hang them up around the classroom.
  • Have fun!
  • This activity can be expanded to other subjects. For example, a vocabulary time with crazy cars could discuss the parts of a car (hood, trunk, tires/wheels, fenders), where a car drives (parking lot, garage, highway, road), etc. A vocabulary time for fashion design could discuss not only clothing but the parts of clothing (shoe = tongue, heel, sole, arch), specialty color shades (teal, magenta, scarlet), fabrics (suede, calico, velvet), etc.