How to Play Vocabulary Charades

Games can motivate your child to learn while she's having fun. According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, children learn in a variety of ways. Some of these learning styles, such as the kinesthetic style used in a game of charades, are not often emphasized in schools. If your child is struggling with reading or vocabulary, a game of vocabulary charades might be just what she needs. Whether you play with just the family, or a group of her friends, focus on the words she needs to learn.

Write the week's vocabulary words on index cards. Encourage your child to do this herself, which can help her practice writing and spelling the word.

Decide whether you want to play in teams or as a group. If you want to play with teams, divide everyone into two teams. If you want to play just for fun, though, one person can act out the word while everyone else guesses as a group.

Select a person to go first. This person chooses one of the index cards and looks at it without showing the card to the other members present.

Watch as the person acts out the vocabulary word. He'll will do his best to demonstrate the definition. In doing this, he must not only read the word, but be able to understand its definition. As a family, you can decide whether it's acceptable to use props.

Shout out guesses as to what the vocabulary word is. This is easier if you already know what the vocabulary words of the week are. To make it more challenging, add to your word pile every week so you're constantly reviewing previous vocabulary words.

Score a point for guessing right. If you're not keeping score, cheer the guesser and the actor for their smarts.

Repeat this process with another person taking a turn to choose a word. The game can go on until you've used all of the index cards or until the players are simply ready to stop.


If you're playing with young children who can't read or who might need a reminder about what the vocabulary word is, try draw a picture next to the written word. If the person acting out the word is having trouble reading the word or understanding what it means, she can ask for help from a parent or she can chose a new card. Use this game to practice foreign language vocabulary as well.