The ultimate guessing game - Charades!

The ultimate guessing game - Charades!

What I like about the game Charades, is that that can be enjoyed by young and old alike.

Charades is word guessing game where by the performer mimes (no speaking) out a word, action or a phrase.

I have played it with primary school classes, creative drama students and with my own family at home!

Primary teachers, it makes for great transition time game while you wait for everyone to join you on the mat.

It teaches the performer:
  • Imaginative, quick thinking
  • How to use facial expression, gesture and movement
  • Ways to convey emotion non verbally
  • To interact with an audience
  • Vocabulary/language development 
 It teaches the audience to:
  • Concentrate
  • Make observations
  • Listen and respond
  • Show appreciation of a performance
  • Build their vocabulary

The Game

There are many variations of this game. With under tens I keep it simple withdrawing a card from a hat or a box. Cards typically have an animal, action or phrase written on it.

With under fives and junior primary school, I use picture cards with the word underneath.

The performer selects a card and acts it out whilst the class watches and offers their observations.

With bigger groups, its best to limit guesses to three so that you can let the next student choose a card and the game can continue.

 "Charades for Kids" is an essential for your teacher tool kit. Here are some cards I made when I couldn't find my copy of the game.

The Game for older students

  • Stop watch or egg timer
  • Basket/hat
  • Slips of paper with ideas on them (Categories can include: quotes, movies, books, songs, TV shows, Plays, People, Locations, Events, Word or a phrase
  • Pen and paper for keeping score
  • Divide into two even teams
  • Taking turns, each player chooses a card with word or phrase written on it (can be a category, see above)
  • Set the timer to indicate time frame that the player has to perform
  • No sound or lip movement, or pointing to objects to assist
  • Teams take turns until all members have had a chance to act out a card
  • Keep score if you wish!
Charades Cards offers some great playing tips:

Players can indicate category by:
  • Quote/Saying - Make quote signs with 2 fingers on both hands
  • Movies - Pretend to use an old fashioned film camera, cranking a handle to operate it and looking through the lense
  • Books - Open a pretend book with your hands
  • Music/Songs - Simulate sound coming out of your mouth with your hands
  • TV - Draw a television shaped rectangle in the air with your hands
  • Plays - Pretend to pull the ropes of a theatre curtain
  • People - Stand with your hands on your hips
  • Location - Draw an Earth with your fingers, then point somewhere in the middle
  • Event - Point at your watch (or just your wrist if you're not wearing one)
  • Word/Phrase - Similar to Quote/Saying, make quote signs with your hands
Some Non Verbal  clues can be given:
  • Think!! - point at your head and wave your finger in a circle
  • Number of words in the phrase - Hold up the appropriate number of fingers, e.g. hold up 5 fingers to show it's a phrase with 5 words
  • Which word you are working on - Hold up the number of fingers again, e.g. hold up 3 fingers to show you're working on the 3rd word
  • Number of syllables in the word - Rest one finger per syllable on your arm and show the audience
  • Which syllable you're working on - Rest the number of fingers on your arm to show which syllable you're working on
  • Length of word - Make a little or big sign with your hands as if you were measuring a fish
  • Sounds like / Rhymes with - Pull your earlobe
Inspiration for Four Categories:

Movies: Frozen, Lion King, Madagascar, Toy Story, Happy Feet, The Sound of Music, ET, Finding Nemo, Wall-E, Transformers, Jurassic Park

TV: Sponge Bob Square Pants, Pingu, Sesame Street, Peppa Pig, Magic School Bus, Care Bears, The Wiggles, Fragle Rock, Scooby Doo, The Flintstones

Locations: The beach, supermarket, ski field, Australia, movies, school, soccer game, park, pool, zoo

People: hairdresser, mechanic, ballerina, rugby star, gardener, shop keeper, mailman, artist, florist, reporter

Have fun!