Charades-"The Game"

Players: 10-30
Equipment: Scraps of paper (one for each player);
Pencils for all
Preparation: None
Charades is a fast and exciting guessing game that you can play in many different ways-with just a few players, with partners, with teams. One player (or more, depending on what version you play) acts out some word or phrase in pantomime while the others guess what it is. The acting-out must be done silently. Code movements can be used-ones that have been agreed on be-forehand-but the person doing the acting-out is not allowed to speak.

Divide the group into two teams, each team with a captain. Pass out paper and pencils. The team members are each to write out on their scraps of paper one of the toughest, most un-actable words or quotations or names of movies, plays, books-whatever-they can think of. Then they fold up the scraps of paper, the captain collects them and puts them into a hat or bowl or bag. The captains now trade the scraps of paper, and the race is on.

Each captain rushes back to his or her team and lets the first "actor" select a scrap of paper and proceed to act it out. Both teams may play at the same time, and the first team to guess all the words on the scraps of paper wins. Or, if you prefer, the teams can take turns.

Let's say that Gordon is the first actor on his team. He dips into the bag and pulls out the proverb, "A stitch in time saves nine." First he lets his team know that it is a proverb by a pre-arranged signal. You can make up your own signals, but usually a proverb or saying is indicated by bringing up your wrists to shoulder height and wiggling two fingers on each hand to indicate quotation marks.

"Saying!" shouts Sally, one of the players on the team. Gordon nods and points to her.
Then he lets his team know there are six words in the saying by holding up six fingers in a definite motion.
"Six words!" yells Rick, another player on the team.
Gordon nods again. His next decision is which word to act out first. He decides on "stitch." He holds up two fingers.
"Second word," Sally says.
Gordon nods again. He makes believe he is sewing.
"Sewing," Kris says.
Gordon indicates the material in his hand.
"Fabric," says Sally, "cloth-material-"
Gordon tries to indicate a very little stitch on the imaginary material.
"Hole," says Rick, "tear, rip-"
Gordon isn't getting anywhere. He waves his hands back and forth in front of him to stop them and show them that he's going on to something else. He holds up iwo fingers again.
"Second word, still," says Sally.
Gordon nods. Then he cups his hand to his ear.
"Sounds like," says Anne.
Gordon nods. Then he starts to scratch himself.
"Scratch," yells Kris, "itch-"
Gordon points to her and nods vigorously.
"Itch," says Kris, "sounds like itch-"
"Stitch," yells Rick. Gordon looks insanely happy, points to him and nods. "Stitch," Rick says triumphantly. The second word is stitch."
Now Gordon holds up four fingers.
"Fourth word," says Sally.
Gordon points to his watch.
"Watch," says Anne, "clock, wrist-watch, what time is it-"
Gordon leaps toward her and points.
"What time is it?" Anne asks.
Gordon points and waves her on.
"Time," shouts Sally.
Gordon swerves and points to her and nods.
"Uh-stitch-uh-time," Sally sums up what they now so far.
At this point, the team will probably guess what Gordon's message is. If they don't he'll probably go ahead to the last word, "nine," which is also easy to act out.
As soon as the team guesses Gordon's charade, the next team member rushes up to collect a charade and act it out.

Charade Signals

Here are some other signals you can work out ahead of time with your team. Most of them are classic signals which are used all over the world by charades players.

Sounds Like: You may have noticed this already in the example when Gordon used "itch" for the word stitch. To do "sounds like," you cup your hand behind your ear.

Book Title: Hold hands up in front of you, as if a book is lying in them.

Film: Put one fist up to your eyes so you can look through it like a camera lens and rotate the other fist in circles as if winding up a handle (like an organ grinder).

Television Show: With one finger of each hand draw a rectangle in the air to indicate a screen.

Play: Indicate an actor by placing one hand on your chest and the other out to the side as if singing.

Song Title: Starting at your open mouth, wiggle the fingers of one hand from there out to the side as if a trill is coming out of your mouth.

Indicate the number of syllables in a word by holding out your left arm and placing fingers of your right hand on your forearm. However many fingers you place on it is the number of syllables in the word.

Indicate which syllable you are going to act out by following this movement with another of the same kind-only this time, if you're acting out the first syllable, only put one finger on your arm-two for the second syllable, and so on.

Indicate small words (articles, conjunctions and prepositions) such as "the," "an," "at," "a," "if," "but," "with," "for," "so" (any small thing) by holding up your thumb and forefinger about an inch or two apart. Then the team will run through all the small words and won't stop until you point to one of them.

To show the group that the word called was correct, Gordon, in the example, nodded vigorously and pointed. Some people tap the side of the nose instead. Nodding is a more natural thing to do, though, and speeds up the game.

For ideas for charade sayings, see the Proverbs&Sayings.

Ways to Play

You don't have to have both teams playing at the same time, though it is a very exciting game if you do. But you : miss watching your opponent struggling with the charade you thought up.

If you want, you can let the teams take turns, each player taking as long as necessary to act out the charade, holding a watch on the actor and jotting down the timeon the team's score pad.

Or you can give each player a time limit and they either get it or they don't. Decide for yourself how much time to allow. Generally, 3 minutes is long enough. Use a stop-watch-or a kitchen timer.

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