Holiday Charades

By Goldie Patrick, Poet, Playwright and Performer

rita_charades_31What happens when your favorite holiday song meets up with a quirky game of charades? A game of guessing has never been as fun as holiday charades. This simple take on the classic charade game will not only have your home full of laughs, but it will also make sure your kids are using some of their thinking skills while their on their break. The game works best when four or more people are playing.

Categories: Creative and Maker Play, Imaginative Play

Target age: 8 and up

Skill level: Beginner

Materials: Stuff you probably have at home

Prep time: 1 to 30 minutes

What You’ll Need

  • index cards
  • list of popular holiday songs
  • pencils


The Activity

Similar to a normal game of charades, everyone gathers around to play. Except this time there are some differences. Talking is allowed, and the person who’s “up at bat to act” will have an index card as their guide to tell them what to act out. You can time it or not, it depends on the comfort of the kids acting out the scene.

This take on charades will help kids use their creativity, write, imagine and read a bit. It’s also a great way of helping them stretch those cognitive skills to connect pieces together and even add new pieces.

  • Pass out the index cards to everyone participating

    This is a game that can start at the kitchen or dining room table and then move into the den or family room. This may even work as a game that’s prepared throughout the day and played after dinner. Make sure your pencils are available and that there are enough index cards for mess-ups.

  • Take the list of popular Christmas songs out for everyone to look at and choose

Use a list of the most common holiday songs or even songs that are tradition in your family. You may want to also include the lyrics to the songs. Don’t fret; most all songs are a simple web search away. It’s even a part of the prepping that your kids can help with. A simple search with the name of the song and “lyrics” is sure to produce the song in its entirety.

  • Let each person playing pick a holiday song, but tell them to make sure they DON’T tell anyone the song they picked

  • Have everyone use the index card to write out what they think happened to the characters in the song right before the story in the song starts

For example, “Frosty the Snowman” starts with Frosty the Snowman/Was a jolly happy soul.” Someone can tell us the story of what happened right before the Frosty came to life:

“It hadn’t snowed in the town for weeks. Everyone was sad and afraid there wouldn’t be snow for Christmas. So all the kids decided to wish as hard as they could for lots of snow. The next day everyone in town was surprised to find it started snowing and didn’t stop for a day.”

Tip: Make sure they write out full sentences describing what happened before. They should describe the setting, the characters, and most importantly describe how we get to the beginning of the song.

  • Have a volunteer go first to act out the scene on their index card

They can talk while acting out the scene, but they shouldn’t say the title of their song in their skit.

  • When someone guesses the right song, make sure they can sing the song for the full point

  • Continue playing until each person has a chance to act out their song, and there are no cards left.

Whoever has the most points wins! You can also skip the scoring and make it more of a cooperative game.

More fun: Continue the game with similar versions, such as “what happened after.”


Share a photo and win!

Share a photo of your family doing this activity in the comments on our Facebook post or on Twitter with #31DaysofPlay! Every Friday we’ll choose one photo from the week to win a Toca Boca Play Kit full of swag, stickers, and a $15 iTunes Gift Card.

About the Author

Goldie Patrick, Poet, Playwright and Performer

Poet, playwright and performer Goldie Patrick has worked for more than 15 years with schools, students, foundations and nonprofit organizations to show the many ways theatre is valuable for students.