How To Play Charades

Group of friends playing charades

by Puzzles HQ |
Updated on

Charades is a traditional parlour game, perfect to play with firm friends or new acquaintances. Here are the basic rules:


1. Optional materials

If not making them up off the top of your head, have some pens and paper to write down suggestions which can be picked during gameplay.


1. Select a player

The first player is chosen at random or by drawing lots.

2. Choosing a word or phrase

The player picks a word or phrase to act out.

3. Acting it out

The player must then act out the word or phrase. They can use gestures, facial expressions, and body movements to convey the meaning. No verbal communication is allowed.

4. Hand signals

Charades includes some established hand gestures to help players relay information.

For the topic:

  • Book - Unfold your hands in front of you as if opening a book.

  • Film - Pretend you are operating an old-fashioned camera.

  • Person - Stand with your hands on your hips in a pose.

  • Play - Illustrate the shape of theatre curtains with your fingers.

  • Song - Pretend to sing.

  • TV show - Create a rectangle with your fingers to represent a television screen.

  • Phrase - Make quotation marks in the air.

For the words:

  • Number of words - Raise your hand in front of you with the correct number of fingers.

  • Number of syllables in a word - Place the relevant number of fingers on your wrist.

  • Small word - Put your thumb and forefinger together leaving a small gap.

  • Big word - Stretch your hands far apart in front of you.

  • All the words at once - Create the outline of a large circle with your hands.

  • Sounds like - Hold your earlobe.

  • ‘A’ - Make the letter A using your fingers.

  • ‘The’ - Make the letter T using your fingers.

  • ‘I’ - Point to the corner of your eye.

  • To indicate a correct guess - Place your index finger on your nose and point to the person who guessed correctly.

Four words, first word, two syllables. The beginning of Beauty and the Beast, perhaps?

5. Getting it right

If someone guesses correctly they take a turn in acting a word or phrase out.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us