Charades is a parlor game that's been popular since the 16th Century; it's not only an entertaining pastime, but it's also a great way to build your child's imagination. Pretend play can inspire creativity, foster language development, and it's tons of fun! We have a huge list of charades ideas for kids, plus fun variations of traditional charades game play that your kids will get a kick out of trying.
Animal Charades Ideas for Kids
The animal theme is an easy charades idea for kids of all ages. If you've never played the game before, this can be a great place to start.
Kids' Disney & Pixar Movie Charades Ideas
This set of ideas is best suited for older kids, tweens, and teens who have had the chance to watch these Pixar and Disney classics.
- Sleeping Beauty
- Star Wars
- 101 Dalmations
- Little Mermaid
- Snow White
- Mary Poppins
- The Lion King
- Finding Nemo
- Pirates of the Caribbean
- Kung Fu Panda
- Peter Pan
- Toy Story
- The Incredibles
Holiday Charades Fun for Everyone
This is another charades for kids theme that is great for all ages! It's especially fun to play in the fall when most of these words and phrases are on their mind.
- Gingerbread House
- Snowball Fight
- Opening Presents
- Decorating the Christmas Tree
- Haunted House
- Valentine's Day
- Easter Bunny
- Easter Egg Hunt
Outdoor Charades Ideas
This can be a fantastic topic for everyone. Families will get a kick out of the different outside activities each person is acting out.
- Jumping in puddles
- Flying a Kite
- Digging for Diamonds
- Building a Sandcastle
- Rock Climbing
- Horseback Riding
- Star Gazing
- Ice Skating
- Canoeing / Kayaking
- Bird Watching
- Mountain Biking
Sports Charades Ideas for Kids
Your little athletes will love this category and may even find new pastimes they'll want to try.
- Water Skiing
- White Water Rafting
Famous Movie Charades Ideas for Kids
The cinema charades for kids theme is another category tailored towards a slightly older crowd. It can be a great option for the holidays when there is a mix of kids of all ages.
- Indiana Jones
- Sherlock Holmes
- Harry Potter
- The Wizard of Oz
- The Karate Kid
- The Addams Family
- Cool Runnings
- Jurassic Park
- Charlotte's Web
- Home Alone
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
- Back to the Future
- Dr. Strange
- Power Rangers
Career Charades Ideas for Kids
Every kid aspires to be something great! This is a great way to learn about your little one and even introduce potential careers.
- Dog Walker
- Life Guard
- Police Officer
How to Play Charades for Kids
Before starting your charades tournament, go over the rules of the game and what you can and can't do. You'll also need to decide if you are going to be on teams or if this will just be a fun group activity.
For smaller crowds, it might be better to make the guessing a group effort. If you have a large family gathering, consider splitting into teams to help prevent too many people from talking over one another. Then just follow these steps and let the fun begin!
Basic Rules of Charades for Kids
- The person giving the clues can't talk or make any sounds. They must act out their clues.
- The person giving clues can let the group know how many words they need to guess by holding up the appropriate number of fingers.
- The person giving clues can let the group know what word they are acting out by holding up the number using their fingers again.
- If the group gets a part of the phrase correct, the clue giver should point at their nose.
- If the group guesses the word "large" and the word they need is "larger," the clue giver can act as if they are stretching a rubber band to signal that the guessers need to expand the correct word.
- If you're playing on teams, select two team captains to choose the members of each group. If no one wants to volunteer or you have too many volunteers, roll a pair of dice. The two highest scorers get to be team captains.
- Decide on a time that each player gets to give clues. Standard play usually allows for two to three minutes, but for younger crowds, more time can prevent meltdowns and make it a more enjoyable experience.
- If a player doesn't know a clue, then move on. They want to go through as many cards as possible in their time.
What You Need to Play
- Kids charades cards
- A bowl (to draw from)
- A timer
- Pen and paper (if you plan to keep score)
It's easy to DIY your own charades cards; just write out ideas on slips or squares of paper. This can help kids practice reading skills too. For team play, non-readers can partner with a parent or sibling on their team that can read. You can also DIY charades cards for non-readers with simple drawings, stickers, or pictures cut our from old magazines.
1) Select a Main Category
This can make the game easier to understand and more fun for the littler members of your family. For instance, if you choose the animals category, it's much more plausible that a six-year-old could guess that you are trying to be a lion verus if they had no context to go with the clues.
2) Choose a Person to Start & a Time Keeper
Just like with selecting team members, you can roll dice to see who gets to start the game. Then, designate a timer. If playing with teams, this will be someone on the opposing team.
3) Start Play!
As soon as the clue giver looks at their first card, start the countdown. The clue giver wants to go through as many clues as possible in their allotted time. For teams, the clue giver will give the clues to their own team members and the other team will observe play.
Once the time runs out, the players have to stop guessing and clue giving should cease and you can add up how many words and phrases the team got right. Each team will take turns giving clues and guessing the word or phrase. Once you're out of topics, tally up your scores and see who won!
Alternate Versions of Charades for Kids
While the traditional version of this game is always fun, kids sometimes need a little variety to keep them engaged. Here are some alternate charades ideas for kids.
Telephone Game Charades
If you've ever played a game of telephone, you know how hilarious the result can be, but for those unfamiliar, here's how to play this entertaining version of charades for kids.
- First, have everyone line up in a row with everyone facing in the same direction. The clue giver should be the last person in the line.
- When the game starts, the person in front of them will turn around and face the clue giver.
- Just like in normal charades, the person will act out the clue. Once the guesser thinks they know the word or phrase, they become the clue giver. They will tap the next person in line to let them know to turn around and they will act out the word or phrase.
- This will continue until the last person receives the clue. Once they think they know the answer, they will announce their guess!
This variation has the same rules and premise as the original charades for kids, except there will only be one person guessing and everyone else has to give the clues as a group!
This is great for movie topics and big picture ideas that require a bit more context than what one person can provide. Each person gets a turn being the guesser and the person with the most points at the end wins.
This version of charades gives maximum points for getting the answer right with the least number of clues and teams are required.
- Unlike normal charades, the clue giver has one shot to give their best clue to their teammates. Time is not a factor.
- Once the clue is given, the group consults with one another and offer their best guess. If they are right, they get five points. However, if they need another clue, the number of points will decrease to four.
- This trend continues with three clues equaling three points, four clues equaling two points, and five clues equaling one point.
- If they can't guess the right answer, they lose the round. Then, the other team takes over.
- Once every player has given the clues, add up your points to see who won.
Kids Charades Games Can Bring Hours of Fun
When selecting topics, choose themes that matter most to your family. This means if your family loves to read, consider coming up with a collection of your favorite book titles. The world is your oyster! However, if you have kids who are seven and under who want to participate, consider using printable options or easy DIY ideas that also include a picture. Then even if they can't read yet, they can still take part in the fun.