A version of the classic party game, the Charades ESL game is a fun way to practise many different types of vocabulary or grammar.

Students for Charades ESL Game:1+Time for Charades ESL Game:10-20 mins
Resources for Charades ESL Game:
Internet or Prepared Words/Sentences and Timer

You will need a list of suitable words/sentences for the players to act, according to your target language. If you have an Internet-connected device, the easiest way to play is to use our online Charades game, which you can configure to a variety of different target language.

Alternatively, write the words/sentences on small pieces of paper. With kids, you could even get them to make vocabulary cards as a project beforehand.

Divide the class into two, three or four teams of at least two players. It is possible to play the Charades ESL game with just one student and you as the teacher, but for a competitive game four players or more is ideal.

  1. The teams take turns playing. One student from the team (the actor) stands at the front of class.
  2. The actor tries to make the rest of their team guess what is on the screen/paper using only gestures and no sounds (or drawing of letters in the air!).
  3. The team has thirty seconds (or one minute) to guess as many words/sentences as they can. Each correct guess is worth one point. Depending on the level of your students, and how many cards you have available, you may want to allow zero, one or infinite ‘passes’ per round.
  4. When each team has had one turn, repeat with different students as actors.
  5. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.
Target Language

The Charades ESL game makes a really fun warmer or vocabulary review game. For beginner and intermediate students, it lends itself well to daily routinessports and hobbiesjobsanimals, health problems, household objects, musical instruments, and emotions/feelings. For higher intermediate and advanced levels, try adverbs or phrasal verbs
(settings available on our online game).

With a bit of creative context-setting, you can also use sentences to practise almost any type of grammar. However, you will need to be strict about making the guessers saying the entire grammatical structure in this case. One structure that works well is the combination of past continuous and past simple, as the players can act out a mini story (e.g. You were playing football when you broke your leg).

For another Charades-based game to practise the present perfect in particular, try What Just Happened.

Got a picture or video of this activity in action? How about snapping one next time you use it? We'd love to showcase your submissions- find out more here.