Game of the Week: Animal Charades

Charades is a quick, fun game you can play to break up your homeschooling day.


  • paper
  • pencil, crayon, or pen
  • scissors
  • hat or basket


  • Cut up your paper into 8 or more pieces
  • Write on each piece of paper different animals
    • Animals: cat, dog, bird, pig, cow, horse, lion, monkey
      • Variation with non-readers: draw pictures instead of words
  • Fold the papers in half
  • Put papers in a hat or basket



  • 5-10 minutes of prep, depending how quickly the names of animals are written
    • Then save the slips of paper for future use, and save time next time!
  • 5-10 minutes of play


  • One person pulls out a slip of paper from the hat/basket. Don’t let the others see what it says!
  • The person who has the slip acts out the animal. Everyone in the audience tries to guess. You can make the animal noises as a clue, but do not use words.
    • If you are playing with older children, the rule is no noises/talking.
  • The oldest child can go first and be an example to the youngest.
  • To make sure everyone gets a turn, then rotate from youngest to oldest.
  • Everyone claps when someone guesses correctly!


Education Goals:

  • Children will learn how to play a game and follow specific rules. This is an easy game to play with friends in the future. It’s a gift to teach your children games that they can play when they are with friends.
  • Children will learn how to cheer on others. Tell them, “We are clapping for the person who guessed correctly, and for the one who acts!” This helps the children think about others and be encouraging.
  • Children will think about the category of animals and be able to express them. Especially for younger children, is is a good “category” to learn about as they continue to develop their language skills. When writing down animals, if a child writes down butterfly and bee, it’s a teachable moment to explain that they are insects, not animals.
  • Children will practice spelling animal names. Check the spelling and correct it, as needed, before starting the game. This is an opportunity to use written language in a practical way.
Briefly work on spelling.

We played animal charades today. The kids LOVED it. I tried to look at my watch, and I think we only played for 5-8 minutes. It helped brighten the kids’ mood for the afternoon, and it was a blessing to be together playing a game. That’s hard to do with ages 3, 6, and 8!

This game could be played with tweens or teens, too. For older children, they can announce the general category, but otherwise, they should not talk or make noises.

This game is quite flexible, inexpensive, and easy to play. Charades can be adapted to each family’s unique makeup of ages and abilities.


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