Photo: milkos via 123RF

People have played the game charades in the United States for nearly a decade. Unsurprisingly, this act-it-out game has kept its popularity for so long. It doesn’t require equipment, can be played at any time or place, and works well with various ages and different-sized groups. It encourages creativity, utilizes teamwork, and is a ton of fun—and often results in uncontrollable laughter!

Today, there are several variations on the game-themed options, board games, and even apps to keep it modern and new. Each can provide engaging family fun during this stuck-at-home season.

How to Play

In case you’ve forgotten or (gasp) haven’t ever played, here are the basics of charades. Break into teams, then write things for the other team(s) to act out on small pieces of paper (you can discuss the level of difficulty, or various ideas like movies or zoo animals beforehand.) Take turns acting them out, without speaking. Try to get your teammates to guess the correct answer within a limited time. Check out this link for more ideas on how to play this game with the kids!

Why Play as a Family?

There are a lot of fun moments and laughs to be had while playing charades, which can help increase your family bond. It also helps with non-verbal skills, uses tons of creativity, and innovative team building. Learning how to act out words and phrases takes time – remember patience and lots of encouragement!

Fun Variations to Keep the Game Feeling Fresh and New

  1. Charade Whispers combines the concept of charades with the Telephone Game. Make a straight line with your team, then each player acts out the clue for the person next to them. This happens one at a time until the last person in the line has to take a guess. Make sure that other players aren’t watching until it’s their turn! As you can imagine, this version is hysterical to watch and rarely ends with the correct answer.
  2. Fast Charades, as you might have guessed, is played faster. Teams have a pile of clues and try to get their teammates to guess as many answers as possible within a time limit. The team with the most correct answers wins that round.
  3. In Themed Charades, the clues are limited to a specific topic or theme, like actions, food, or a favorite movie. Narrowing down the subject area is helpful for kids first learning to play.
  4. Emotions Charades plays the game with just feelings words. This is a great way to help your child identify and express various emotions and help encourage healthy social and emotional development.

Tip: Search Pinterest for free printable Charades words. You’ll find fun themes such as holidays, seasons, and your kid’s favorite shows or movies.

Photo: milkos via 123RF

Board Games for Charades

Playing charades as a board game has a lot of advantages! It comes with instructions, a timer, and often a board to help determine the winner. Chuckle n Roar Family Charades is a board game for the classic version of charades, made especially for families. Guesstures is another version that’s a fun, speedy game!

Acting Out Famous People

Several charade-like games involve acting out famous people or pop culture references. Try this version with your older kiddos or a group of friends over Zoom. Time’s Up is a hilarious celebrity board game with three rounds – in the first round, you can say or do anything, in the 2nd round, you can only use one word, and in the third, gestures only! In Head’s Up, which is available as an app or board game, players wear their clues on their head and try to guess what famous person they are from their teammate’s clues.

Simon Says as an Introduction to Charades

Have young kids and aren’t quite ready for charades? Try playing Simon Says with future charades games in mind. Give your child instructions to act like different animals or people. “Simon Says, hop like a bunny.” You can start building more complex concepts like, “Simon Says, act like it is raining out.”

Charades Long Distance

Is your family gathering smaller this year? Play charades on Zoom! Do this easily with an app or word generator.

Whether you play with a board game, app, or your own clues, try adding a tradition of Charades to your family gatherings and holidays! Not only will you find out who in your family has a hidden acting talent, but you’ll also be sure to bond between your fits of laughter!