Families have played the popular game Scattergories for nearly thirty years. Originally published by Parker Brothers in 1988, when Parker Brothers was purchased by Hasbro a few years later the game was published internationally under their Milton Bradley brand. A 2-to-6-player game, the goal is to score points by listing unique names of objects within a set of categories with a given initial letter.

Scattergories offers 250 different categories, but if you play often, the categories do not last long and the words players choose become redundant. This article provides you with multiple lists so you, your family, and friends will have hours of fun play, whether you choose to purchase the game or enjoy the homemade version.

How to Play Scattergories

How to Play Scattergories

In a store purchased Scattergories game, players roll letter die and then think of words beginning with the letter shown. List cards show twelve categories and players list words attempting not to write down words duplicated by other players.

A homemade Scattergories game follows the same basic premise, except the game is played by choosing a category and then listing words applicable. The goal is to list words other players miss. One original word using the letter scores one point. If you wish, you can give two points for two words, such as “red rose.”

To make the game a bit more interesting, have players list words beginning with all the letters in the title of the category. For example, if the category is fruit, players list words beginning with f, r, u, i, and t. Alternatively, you can create categories for each letter of the category word. For example:

F – Fresh Fruit

R – Round Fruit

U – Unusual Fruit

I – Imported Fruit

T – Tropical Fruit

Some players enjoy customizing their game by adding personal categories, such as names of family members, favorite sports teams, or vacations taken. Doing so creates original games recalling fun times and making new ones.

Try playing Scattergories in teams or pairs for a fun time. Teams work particularly well for larger groups. Try pairs if your family has some younger children who could use some help and guidance. Once a child has played as a partner, they will learn the rules and build their confidence to a point where they can play alone.

You can also create variations in the lists. For example, any list can be narrowed by adding a limiter. For example, in the “Pets” category, you can limit “Breeds of Dogs” to “Breeds of Dogs That Are Brown.”

As you play Scattergories, you will think of your own variations and categories. Make sure you write them down so that you can use them in the future and share them with others.

Category Lists for Scattergories

Category Lists for Scattergories

The number of categories one has available for playing Scattergories is almost unlimited. We have divided the categories in this article into alphabetically arranged lists to help you easily locate one applicable to the group with which you are playing. Some are easy and some more challenging. When choosing a category for a game, make sure you consider the ages of your players, as well as their knowledge and preferences.


There are many different kinds of animals, both domestic and wild, that live in a variety of habitats. Since types of animals are one of the first things young children learn to identify, younger players do well when these lists are used.

  • African Animals
  • Amphibians
  • Animal Homes
  • Animals That Are a Certain Color
  • Animals That Hop or Jump
  • Animals That Live Underground
  • Arctic Animals
  • Birds
  • Cat Breeds
  • Dangerous Animals
  • Dog Breeds
  • Farm Animals
  • Fast Animals
  • Fish
  • Mammals
  • Pets
  • Reptiles
  • Slow Animals


Another category that takes some knowledge on the part of participants, only the Color category will work for very young children.

  • Colors
  • Famous Artists
  • Famous Paintings
  • Photography
  • Equipment
  • Terms
  • Types of Art (i.e. Fine, Abstract, etc.)


The jobs we educate and train ourselves for are a major part of our lives. Every job has terminology specifically applicable to it. Some of these list work very well for a business meeting where everyone has the same profession.

  • Medical Terms
  • Diseases
  • Medicine Names
  • Nursing Terms
  • Legal Terms
  • Office Items
  • Sales Terms
  • Teaching Terms
  • Areas of Study
  • Teaching Tasks


The clothes we wear every day, for special occasions, and for the activities we participate in provide some excellent Scattergories lists. If you are playing with a group composed of those who wear the same clothing, such as all women or men, this category works especially well.

  • Clothing Worn by Cowboys
  • Men’s Clothing
  • Women’s Clothing
  • Baby Clothes
  • Styles of Shoes
  • Under Garments
  • Entertainment

People spend their downtime enjoying a variety of entertainment. These categories are sure to bring back memories of times spent viewing favorites.


From its beginnings in the 1950s until today, television has affected almost every area of our lives, even more so with the advent of satellites and cable.

  • Cooking Shows
  • Music Programs
  • Nickelodeon
  • Prime Time TV
  • Reality TV
  • Sit Coms
  • Cartoon Characters
  • Classic Commercials


Drive-Ins, local cinemas, and 3D all provide windows into imaginative worlds filled with memorable characters. Choose a single movie everyone is familiar with or any of the following categories. Children excel in remembering their favorite Disney movies and characters.

  • Actors
  • Actresses
  • Blockbusters
    • Star Wars
    • The Hunger Games
    • Twilight
  • Classic Movies
  • Comedies
  • Disney Movies
  • Fantasy
  • Horror Movies
  • Love Stories
  • Science Fiction


Watching and participating in sports are activities enjoyed by many in their spare time. Test of knowledge of your favorite athletic pastime with the following.

  • Teams – Football, Basketball, Baseball, etc.
  • Terms – Golf, Tennis, etc.
  • Famous Players – Football, Basketball, Baseball, etc.
  • Sports Played Outside
  • Sports Played Inside
  • The Olympics
  • Water Sports


Everyone loves to eat and has their favorite foods and beverages, so this category is fun one for every age and group composition. We have included many list choices, but you can probably think of others.

  • Beverages
    • Alcoholic Drinks
    • Beer Brands
    • Cold Drinks
    • Hot Drinks
    • Carbonated Drinks
  • Breakfast Foods
  • Candy
  • Chinese Food
  • Condiments
  • Dairy Products
    • Types of Cheese
  • Desserts
    • Cakes
    • Cookies
    • Pies
  • Fast Food
    • Fast Food Restaurant Names
    • Pizza Toppings
  • Gourmet Foods
  • Ice Cream Flavors
  • Italian Food
  • Junk Food
    • Chips
    • Types of Donuts
  • Meats
    • Meat Cuts
    • Types of Meat
  • Mexican Food
  • Sandwiches
  • Spices


For those who love to grow things, this category calls for remembering a variety of information. You may wish to limit some of the categories, such as “Types of Beans,” “Squash Varieties,” etc.

  • Flowers
    • Annual Flowers
    • Flowers by color
    • Perennial Flowers
    • Flowers That Are a Certain Color
    • Fragrant Flowers
  • Gardening Tasks
  • Growing Vegetables
  • Trees
    • Fruit Trees
    • Ornamental Trees
  • Vegetable Garden Plants


The world is a vast and fascinating place. Test your knowledge of where things are and what they are called with this challenging category.

  • African Countries
  • Asian Capital Cities
  • Canadian Provinces
  • Cold Places
  • Countries
  • Country Flags
  • Country Names Beginning With a Particular Letter
  • European Capital Cities
  • European Countries
  • Hot Places
  • Lakes
  • Mountain Ranges
  • Oceans
  • Rivers
  • Seas
  • South American Countries
  • United States Capitals


Another academic area that can prove challenging, those who remember historical events and dates have the advantage here.

  • Decades
  • Dictators
  • Politics
    • Elections
    • Presidents
    • First Ladies
  • Wars
    • American Civil War
    • Vietnam War
    • World War I and World War II
      • Airplanes
      • Countries Involved
      • Major Battles

Holidays and Celebrations

Every culture has special days set aside to celebrate people, events, and things. Create your own category for whatever country or culture you wish.

  • Celebrations Where Gifts Are Given
  • Christmas Carols
  • Holiday Songs
  • Holidays
  • Holiday Activities

Home Furnishings

Our homes are our refuge and express our personalities. We use color, wall coverings, and styles of furniture to create an environment in which we are comfortable. Of course, all of what we use work for game categories.

  • Bathroom Accessories
  • Floor Coverings
  • Furniture by Room (i.e. bedroom, kitchen, etc.)
  • Furniture in This Room
  • Furniture You Sit On (or At)
  • Kitchen Appliances
  • Wall Coverings
  • Window Coverings


A vast number of Scattergories lists can be compiled from topics related to languages and their use. If your group took high school Spanish or French, choose a category such as French Nouns or Spanish Colors. See how much you remember from your high school language classes.

  • Parts of Speech
  • Contractions
  • Possessive Pronouns
  • Pronouns
  • Superlative Adjectives
  • Words That Can Be Used as Conjunctions
  • Punctuation


Vocabulary and our use of words provide an interesting category for college students and adults.

  • Compound Nouns Formed With “Time”
  • Compound Nouns Formed With “Life”
  • Compound Nouns Formed With “Light” (Flashlight, Spotlight, etc.)
  • Words Beginning With a Particular Letter
  • Words Beginning With the Prefix “-Mis”
  • Words Beginning With the Prefix “-Un”
  • Words with Double Letters


Whether the last book you read was in school or you make a regular weekly library visit, try one of these categories to test your knowledge of the written word.

  • Authors
  • Famous Characters
    • Genres
    • Drama
    • Horror
    • Poetry
    • Romance
    • Westerns
  • Mythology
  • Reference Books


A category suitable for many different ages and group compositions is mathematics. Choose one of the simpler categories for very young children, one a bit difficult for middle and high schoolers, and a more challenging one for college students and adults.

  • Areas of Mathematics Study
  • Math Terms
  • Math Functions
  • Units of Measure
    • Metric Units
    • Units of Length
    • Units of Weight


Whatever your favorite type of music, you probably know all of the songs and artists associated with the genre, including many of the words. If so, this category puts you ahead of the game.

  • Bands with One-word Names
  • Boy Bands
  • Children’s Songs
  • Classical Music
  • Eighties Music
  • Female Singers
  • Folk Songs
  • Love Songs
  • Male Singers
  • Movie Theme Songs
  • Musical Instruments
  • Nineties Music
  • Nursery Rhymes
  • Rappers
  • Seventies Music
  • Sixties Music
  • Songs with a Name in the Title
  • T.V. Show Theme Songs
  • Theme Songs


Some category lists take some expertise and this is especially true of those related to science. If you paid attention in your science classes you may enjoy this category; otherwise, beware.

  • Chemicals
  • Constellations
  • Bones of the Body
  • Disciplines – Biology, Zoology, Etc.
  • Gems
  • Insects
  • Internal Organs
  • Metals
  • Minerals
  • Periodic Table Elements
  • Types of Rocks
  • Weather
    • Terms Referring to rain, snow, etc.
    • Things Associated with a Particular Season of the Year


We live in a technological age, and this category covers all the latest gadgets. Don’t forget to add additional lists as new “toys” become available.

  • Internet
  • iPhone Apps
  • Nintendo
  • Online Games
  • Video Games
  • Websites

“Things That . . .”

A fun category with many variations, “Things that . . .” requires some creative thinking. However, you may be surprised how well very young children do on some of these.

  • Are Cold
  • Are Flat (Coin, Paper, Floor, Etc.)
  • Are in a Medicine Cabinet
  • Are in a Park
  • Are in the Sky
  • Are Made of Glass
  • Are Made of Plastic
  • Are Made of Wood
  • Are Naturally Round
  • Are Naturally Yellow, Blue, Red, Etc.
  • Are Sticky
  • Are Square
  • Are Terrifying
  • Burn
  • Cost a Lot
  • Do Not Break When Dropped
  • Found at a Circus
  • Found in a Park
  • Have Spots
  • Have Stripes
  • Have Wheels
  • Have Wings
  • Jump or Bounce
  • Make You Itch
  • People Lose
  • Smell Bad
  • Smell Good


Many people use tools both at home and on their jobs. Tasks require specific tools for success. Listing tools for various jobs provides an interesting category.

  • Carpentry Tools
  • Cooking Utensils
  • Office Tools
  • Desk Accessories
  • Plumbing Tools
  • Mechanic’s Tools

Toys and Games

An awesome category for kids, use these lists for a family game night and see who knows the most games and toys.

  • Action Figures
  • Board Games
  • Building Toys
  • Children’s Games
  • Classic Toys
  • Dolls
  • Hobbies
  • Types of Toys


Whether we are going to work, school, or traveling across the ocean, we need to use different methods of transportation to get there. Here is a category with something for everyone on the go.

  • Automobiles
    • Car parts
    • Models
    • Road Signs
  • Airlines
  • Cruises
  • Train Travel

Whichever category you choose for your game of Scattergories and whether you choose to purchase the game or play a homemade version, we guarantee our lists will provide unlimited fun for you, your family, and anyone else with whom you play. Play on!