Camping Charades

Gather around the campfire or the picnic table! It’s time for everyone’s favorite guessing game: Charades!

How to play

  1. Split players into two teams. Decide who will go first and lay some ground rules. How long will each “actor” have to pantomime the secret word? How many points does a team need to win?
  2. Each team chooses a secret camping word or phrase that the other team will have to guess.
  3. The starting team chooses an “actor” that will act out the word or phrase to the other team.
  4. The actor acts out the word without making any sounds or lip movements, only gestures. The guessing team attempts to guess the word or phrase based on the actor’s gestures. If the guessers say the correct word or phrase within the time limit, they win the round and get a point.
  5. The teams alternate turns, steps 2-4, choosing new actors each time. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins!

Common clues and signals

Some teams will use common gestures. Here is a list of the most common signals.

  • Person: Stand with hands on hips.
  • Location: Make a circle with one hand and then point to it. Think of pointing to a dot on a map.
  • Event or time: Point to your wrist as if you were wearing a watch.
  • Number of words in the phrase: Hold up number of fingers.
  • Which word you’re working on: Hold up the number of fingers again.
  • Sounds like: Cup one hand behind your ear.
  • Plural: Link your little fingers.
  • Past tense: Wave your hand over your shoulder toward your back.
  • Close, keep guessing!: Frantically wave your hands toward you to keep the guesses coming!
  • Stop! Starting over: Hold both arms in front of you as if saying “Stop!” and shake your head.


  • Pitching a tent
  • Rolling a sleeping bag
  • Roasting a marshmallow
  • Eating s’mores
  • Hiking
  • Bird watching
  • Swimming
  • Fishing
  • Building a campfire
  • Stargazing
  • Playing card games
  • Watching wildlife

Last updated: April 4, 2016