How to play charades

Sep 12, 2011 at 3:00 a.m. ET

Pantomime skills are all kids need to have barrels of fun playing this classic game.

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Your kids will love playing charades, and since it is basically a game of pantomime, even younger children can participate. All you need is a clock with a second hand for timing the charade and an active imagination!

How to play

Charades can be played with any type of words or phrases. With younger kids, movie titles will work best, and they will enjoy silently acting out Pinocchio, Sleeping Beauty or The Lion King. Usually charades is played by two teams in a race against time.

Divide everyone into teams -- it's best to have an adult on each side. Think of titles to act out and write them on separate slips of paper. These titles will be given to the opposing team to act out. With young players, you can also write a player's name on the paper to guarantee that the smaller kids get easier titles when it's their turn.

Explain the basics: show them the signal (i.e., cranking an old-fashioned movie camera) to indicate that it's a movie, point at a person while nodding yes when a correct word is guessed, and cup your hand to your ear to indicate sounds like. They can also hold up fingers to show how many words are in the title that they are about to pantomime, and again to indicate which word they are acting out. Once everyone understands the signals, it's time to start playing, rotating turns from team to team.

Charades can be exciting, fun and silly. The kids will learn quickly and ask to play this game again and again!

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