Close this search box.

Engaging Way to Teach Phonics: Play Phonics Charades!

engaging-way-to-teach-phonics- play-phonics-charades

Teaching phonics is a crucial skill for young children to learn, but sometimes it can feel like a repetitive drill that just gets boring… As a teacher, you understand that instilling phonics skills in students is foundational to their reading and writing development. To make learning meaningful, you have to ensure your students are excited and engaged in learning– even with phonics. Playing charades is a super fun and exciting way to teach and review these important skills!

Why Choose Charades

First of all, playing charades is both exciting and fun! There are also so many great benefits of choosing to play charades with your students– while they are still learning all of the important foundational phonics skills.

This game encourages out-of-the-box thinking! When acting out words, children must tap deeper into their imagination to be able to express messages without using words. This also encourages creative thinking and problem solving skills. These skills are all essential for later success in school and the real world. 

(Isn’t it amazing how your instructional choices in early elementary grades teach students skills that can bring them lifelong success?!)

Playing charades also helps students develop their non-verbal communication skills. They learn to express ideas, emotions, and concepts through body language and gestures. This enhances their ability to communicate effectively in different situations and helps them practice interpreting the nonverbal messages of others!

Phonics Charades foster teamwork and collaboration too! As students work together to guess the word being acted out, they are working on better listening skills and learning to cooperate. This game also encourages students to consider others’ perspectives. This skill is invaluable for building empathy and building positive relationships with others. 

Finally, students build self-confidence skills as they correctly guess the words their classmates act out. As they see each other feeling excited, they naturally begin to cheer each other on too– which leads to heightened classroom community!

What are Phonics Charades?

Phonics Charades are an extra-interactive twist on traditional charades. Instead of having students brainstorm a list of word family words with you and then act them out, Phonics Charades takes all the prep work out, leaving only all the fun!


This resource includes 99 no-prep games to help you engage your students in learning foundational phonics skills needed for reading and writing. They will be having so much fun acting out words that they won’t even realize all of the phonics practice they’re getting in. 


These done-for-you games include words targeting:

  • Short vowels
  • Digraphs
  • Floss rule / double consonants
  • CVCe / silent e
  • Long vowel teams
  • R-controlled vowels 
  • Soft c and soft g
  • Diphthongs

When to Play Phonics Charades

Phonics Charades is a versatile game and perfect for differentiation! Play it as you teach phonics lessons, during your reading block, as a part of indoor recess, or during Morning Meeting. 

It’s also a great choice to add to your substitute plans because there’s ZERO prep for them!

How To Play Phonics Charades

You and your students can play this game in 3 easy steps! 

  1. Choose a slide with or without pictures.

    2. One student picks a card or chooses a word from the board. Then, they act out the word without making any noise or saying any words.


    3. Other students raise their hands to guess and record the correct word on their recording sheets. *Differentiate this task by having students trace or write the words independently.


    4.The child who guessed the word correctly comes up or passes, and the game continues!

There are a few different ways you can choose to play this game too! Consider the dynamics of your classroom, students’ strengths, and how much time you have to play. 

  • Word Card Charades
  • Small Group Charades
  • Large Group Charades

Word Card Charades

Cut out word cards and place them in a basket. The actor selects a card and acts out the word while their classmates guess.

Small Group Charades

Divide students into small groups and distribute sets of word cards. Each group takes turns acting out the words on their cards. 

Large Group Charades

Project word cards onto a screen for everyone to see. Read the words out loud together before each actor takes the stage. This verbal repetition ensures students are exposed to the vocabulary multiple times!


As they play, encourage students to use their phonics knowledge to decode the words being acted out. As they guess correctly, they reinforce their understanding of phonetic patterns and word recognition!

It’s important to embrace the silliness and unpredictability of early elementary students. Their interpretations may surprise you and lead to moments of classroom laughter. Remember, it’s age-appropriate and all a part of the learning process!


Hey there! ❤ Are you ready to get freebies, fun ideas & new resources sent right to your inbox?

 Leave your email below and we’ll send you these free resources right away!

Extend Play

After the charades session, give students opportunities to use the words in complete sentences with the included writing page. Some learners use one word, and some use two in each sentence. Your kids who love a challenge can usually get 3 or 4 to work in each sentence!

This extension activity reinforces vocabulary retention, promotes language development, and works with all of the included charades games!

Incorporating charades into your teaching toolkit for teaching phonics adds positive learning opportunities, fun memories, and increased classroom community. Step back and watch your students flourish into confident readers and communicators as they learn phonics through playing charades!

shop these favorites now...

Emily Yerty

Emily Yerty

I’m a teacher who believes in creating a classroom kids love and activities that keep them engaged all day!

2 Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *