Charades is an acting game for two or more players.  One player has to act out a secret word or phrase without using any words, while the other player or players try to guess what it is.  It can seem a bit tricky at first, but it's easy once you get the hang of it.

If you're looking for easy ways to find words or phrases, or how to enjoy the game even more, click here for charades ideas.

How To Play Charades

Decide who is going first.  Let's imagine it is you.  You will need to choose a word or phrase to act out.  This can be anything, but is usually the name of a movie, or a tv show, or a song, or a book that the other players will know. 

You are not allowed to speak or make a sound, or even mouth the words.  You have to mime to communicate with the other players. 

Choose the Type of Title

First you should show the other players the type of title ...

- If it is a movie, wave your right fist around your ear like you are using an old fashioned movie camera;
- If it is a tv show, draw a square in the air in front of you;
- If it is a song, use your hand to indicate the sound coming out of your open mouth;
- If it is a book, put your hands together and open them as if they are a book.


Charade clues


The other players should say which they think it is.  Point at a player who has it right.

Show the Number of Words in the Title

Next you need to show how many words the title contains.  To do this you should hold up your fingers. 

Use one finger for each word.  For example, for five words hold up five fingers.

Again the players should say the number of words out loud so you can point and say they are right.  This is how you show players who has guessed right all through the game.

Show Which Word You Are Acting First

Now hold up the number of fingers to show which word you are acting first ... first word, one finger ... second word, two fingers, an so on. 

You can even break the words into syllables.  Show syllables by holding the number of fingers up against your arm.

Example:  You tell the group that the phrase has five words (hold five fingers in the air), that the third word (then hold three fingers in the air) has two syllables (hold two fingers against your arm), and that you are now going to act out the first syllable (then hold one finger against your arm).

If you want to act out the whole thing instead of individual words, move your hands in the air like you running them round the sides of a big ball.


Act It Out!

Act out each word (or part of the word).  Players will call out their guesses, so be ready to point at anyone who gets it right.  The other players should make sure with you that they have that word right before moving on.

If you can't think of a way to mime a word, you can pull on your ear and act out something that "sounds like" the word. Make sure that the other players have established that you are acting out "sounds like".

If the players are not getting the word, wave your hands in front of you, and choose another word by holding up that many fingers.

How To Win

The first person to correctly guess your word or phrase gets a point, and gets the next turn to mime a phrase.

Now you know the game, click here to find out how your tablet or smartphone can help you play charades.