How to Play Charades With Kids

How to Play Charades With Kids

The classic game of charades requires little set up and allows a child to exercise his imagination, making it a perfect game for parties or just on boring days. If you know how to play charades, adjusting the game for children is relatively easy and will provide hours of entertainment for your little ones. Letting children develop the phrases or words will ensure that the difficulty level is suitable for your child's age.

Divide players into teams. You may choose to play in teams or in a free-for-all type game where everyone guesses and you do not record points. If you choose to play in teams, you must first divide players into even groups. If you have players of varying ages you may want to provide a mix of ages in each group to keep things fair, rather than having a group of older kids competing against young children.

Write down ideas to act out on blank pieces of paper. Each group should receive the same amount of blank slips of paper. Have the groups go to separate areas where they can speak privately to brainstorm words or phrases to write on the blank pieces of paper that the opposing team will have to act out (see Tips for suggestions). Each team then places the pieces of paper into a hat or basket. If you play in a free-for-all-style, each player writes a phrase on a slip of paper. If you realize the actor is using the clue you wrote, do not solve it.

Flip a coin to determine which team goes first. The team that goes first designates one player to be the first actor and the actor chooses a phrase at random from the blank slips provided by the opposing team. The actor must attempt to act out whichever word or phrase is chosen.

Guess. As the actor acts out the phrase he chose, his team members should be shouting out guesses. The team gets only a few minutes to guess. Set an egg timer or a watch with an alarm to monitor the time. If the team guesses the phrase the actor is acting, a point is awarded to the team and play continues with the other team picking an actor. If the correct answer is not found within the time limit, no points are awarded.

Tally the scores. Count how many points each team received. Whichever team has the highest amount of points, wins.


According to the Family Education website, some common gestures exist to help teams act and guess. Players may pretend to read a book to indicate that the word or phrase refers to a book; pretend to sing to indicate the word or phrase is a song; hold up fingers to indicate the number of words in the phrase; or tug on an ear to indicate "sounds like" and then act out a rhyming word.

For children, easy words to act out include: animals such as bird, cat, dog or monkey; household items they are familiar with such as sink, vacuum or computer; simple active play phrases such as jump rope; sports such as baseball or soccer; and emotions that can be expressed with simple movements such as happy or sad.