The classic game of charades is easily played with children. We are all learning to adapt to new situations as our normal schedules can be changed at the last minute due to social distancing.
We are here to make sure you always feel prepared by continually coming up with ideas for you and your family no matter the physical distance. Charades is a great activity that you can do with your kids anywhere including a video visit using your phone or tablet.
This classic game is easy to play and can have a positive impact on your child’s well-being. Studies show that while children play they are learning. You may find that playing games increases your child’s social skills. Playing a game is also a way for you and your child to reduce stress which is good for your overall mental health.
Keeping things simple and being silly is a great idea for creating humor with your child. Studies suggest that children can learn and develop their sense of humor. We all want to find more joy in our everyday lives. Being silly combined with slapstick comedy is a sure way to start the giggles.
This traditional party game is played using gestures and pantomime clues to get the other players to guess a word or phrase. We have some suggestions below.
Once you understand how the game is traditionally played you can simply modify the game to play with your children. We have ideas for a variety of age levels. You can find these strategies further in this article.
How to Play Traditional Charades: You start by creating teams. The teams do not need to be equal in size. You can play against a child or a team of several kids. The game is finished whenever you are done playing. The flexibility of how long you can play this game is just one thing that makes it a great activity.
Choose a player to start the game. If your child is learning the game it may be best to go first.
The player thinks of a word or a short phrase such as a book title, public figure, or movie.
The choices should be something that all the players are familiar with. Often a designated category like sports or famous mystery characters is selected by everyone before you start.
When it is your turn you use gestures for the word or phrase to try to clue your choice to the other team. You are mute and do not use any sounds or verbalize any part of the idea you are demonstrating.
If you are keeping score, a correct guess from the other team earns them a point. The team with the most points when you are done playing is the winner.
- Book Title: Pretend to read a book by opening your flat hands and exaggerate reading your hands.
- Song Title: Gesture singing by holding a pretend microphone while gently swaying and lip singing.
- Movie Title: To indicate a movie, pretend to crank an old fashioned movie camera.
- Idea Length: To indicate the number of words, hold up that many fingers.
- Associated With: For words that rhyme you can tug on your ear to say “sounds like.”
Charades is a game that is easy to learn. The younger the child the more you speak helping them understand your movements and bring them closer to the answer.
The younger a child is the more you may want to consider using props and toys when it is your turn. As your child learns the game they will be able to have more ideas of their own when it is their turn.
Adding sounds when it is your turn will help your child to problem solve your actions. Often younger kids have a shorter attention span and sounds can help them stay engaged in the game. Children can have a hard time waiting for their turns.
Kids tend to mimic our actions. As they learn how to give you clues back to you they may just tell you what the answer is. Just remind them that this is a guessing game and clue them with a shush motion. Do they want to try again or should you go next?
Keeping up with older siblings can be hard. You can watch for body language that suggests the game is moving beyond the comfort level of everyone playing.
Increasing The Fun Factor
Extra clues can increase the pace of the game keeping a fun atmosphere full of giggling memories.
Limiting the list of what the child is going to guess is a great way to play this game with young children. For example, are you planning to be a rabbit or dinosaur? The differences between the two make it easier for the child to distinguish.
You can also choose an idea that a child can’t get wrong. For example, you can ask “I’m a bug. What color am I?”. If they answer a blue butterfly or a yellow bee they are correct.
- Repeat an idea from last time
- Use animals like chicken, cat, or monkey
- Tying shoes, stacking blocks, eating a banana
- An airplane, rolling a ball, walking a dog
- I’m a small bird. What kind am I?
- What fruit am I eating?
The older a child is, the fewer verbal clues are needed. It may be in the best interest of fun to start with easy ideas. You can always use fewer verbal clues and sounds as the game goes on.
As everyone gets better at the game you can start to verbalize the traditional gesture clues.
You can help facilitate your child’s play by writing ideas on strips of paper for them to pull out of a hat. If you are using a video-call app, such as Caribu, you can have the caregiver or grandparent with them do this for you. Of course, that will make the game a little more interesting for you.
Pictures or flashcards are a good choice for children who are not yet reading.
Types Of Movements
Large exaggerated movements work best. You can pretend to be holding a large hose and make the noise of water gushing out of the hose for a firefighter.
Keep Things Simple
If you are not sure if your idea is part of your child’s daily life try starting with an idea you think would work for a much younger child. You can increase the level of difficulty as you play the game and at the same time create a sense of accomplishment.
- Ice cream cone, gum, or elephant
- Playing the guitar, drums, or climbing
- Enjoying a car ride, sleeping, or laughing
Learning the Game
Studies suggest that children have an amazing capacity to learn while they play. The better your child understands the game the more you can transition to the traditional way the game is played.
More Complex Ideas
- Family event-related, wedding, baptism, or barbecue
- Fireworks, Snowflake, or Thanksgiving turkey
- Hula hoop, roller skating, or basketball
- Playing video games, emotions, or titles of books
- Pinocchio, Harry Potter, or Cookie Monster
You Can Also Use a Broader Theme:
- Characters from Winnie-the-Pooh
- Comic book heroes
- Summer activities
- Fun things to do while it is snowing
Children interested in drama may already know that when pantomime has historically been used for entertainment the gestures were accompanied by music. Once your child is proficient at the game of charades you may want to consider mute playing and adding some background music during your game.
Your Child’s World
How do you start thinking of ideas that will make your child laugh? As a grandmother wisely said, “You start by stepping into your child’s world.” Think about what they are interested in. Are they learning their colors? How about a favorite story or characters? Sometimes it is as simple as choosing science fiction or butterflies.
Importance Of Play
Research supports that children learn simply by playing. You can enrich their environment and bring joy to their day. The enjoyment when playing with your kids supports both you and your children’s well-being.
We know you know your children best. We’re here to arm you with lots of ideas so that you can find the best activity for you and your child.
Let the Giggles Begin
Playing charades can be a great way to get the wiggles out. This is an entertaining and fun activity to do as you spend time with your kids.
Starting a game at a moment’s notice is easy with an interactive app. Caribu has a wealth of games, activities, as well as books with your child’s favorite characters ready for you to enjoy.