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Who doesn’t dream of being Leonardo Di Caprio or Jennifer Lawrence one day? With pantomime, one of the absolute classics of party games, that’s exactly the attraction: slipping into the skin of an actor and stepping onto the stage. And with these 7 creative pantomime ideas for variations, charade is even more fun!
Pantomime, also known as charades, always works according to the same basic rules:
The simplest variant: one of the players writes a term on a piece of paper and gives it to the next friend. This friend must represent this term. Whoever of the other players guesses it receives a point and may write down the next term and give it to another player to depict.
For 4 or more people, it is a good idea to play in 2 teams against each other. A player from team A gives a term to a player from team B, who has to represent it. All the other players are allowed to guess. The first player to guess correctly gets the point for his team.
Who determines the term and who represents it alternates within each team. You can also play the following 7 variants of pantomime in teams.
Do you know the game Whisper Mail? This popular game from children’s days works like this: you whisper a term or a sentence into each other’s ears in turn, often something completely different comes out at the end than the first player thought about.
The Pantomime Post also works exactly according to this principle, except that you don’t continue whispering the term but represent it pantomically. Pantomime post is most fun in two teams of the same size with at least 3 members.
Team A thinks of a term together – for example, chimney sweep – ,while Team B leaves the room. Then player 1 of team B is invited in and told the term. Now the second player from team B is invited in and sits down.
Player 1 from team B must now pantomime the term to his team mate. If you want, you can also set a time limit for this and stop with an hourglass or stopwatch when the time is exceeded. Experience shows that 1.5 – 2 minutes is a good time limit.
Player 2 is allowed to speak, but he is not allowed to say the term out loud. So he is allowed to ask questions and let you know when he thinks he knows the term. His additional challenge is to memorise Player 1’s representation as accurately as possible.
Finally, Player 3 from Team B is invited in. Now player 2 may pantomime the term he thinks he recognised in the pantomime of player 1. It does not matter whether he is sure he has understood which term player 1 embodied as a pantomime. Player 3 must now give a loud guess as to which term should be represented. If he is right, the point goes to his team, if he is wrong, it goes to team A.
The more players there are in a team, the longer the chain of pantomime posts will be and the funnier reinterpretations can arise!
Performing celebrities – nothing easier than that? Who doesn’t immediately recognise Michael Jackson’s iconic moonwalk? And Angela Merkel is easy to portray too: Pull down the corners of her mouth and form her hands into a rhombus – the chancellor is ready. 🙂
But in fact it is not so easy to pantomime many celebrities. Remember: the speaking part is dropped. And already Boris Becker, Marcel Reich-Ranicki, Edmund Stoiber or Verona Pooth are no longer so easy to portray.
Challenge each other: who delivers the best pantomime of a celebrity? And who can guess the right person the fastest?
Tip: Be creative in your portrayal! Celebrities are often characterised not so much by typical gestures and facial expressions as by certain features, such as their hairstyle, clothing or certain characteristics, their roles as actors etc..
Are you and your friends absolutely film-mad or literature nerds? Then this is exactly the right version of pantomime for you. There are so many wonderful titles of literary works or films that provide wonderful templates for imaginative pantomimes.
Always amusing even without sounds: when people imitate animals! These ideas make for a varied and not too simple animal pantomime.
The most fun animal pantomime is with animal names that are made up of several terms. You have to think a bit around the corner when performing them 😉
Do you know the “Tea Kettle Game”? Tee kettle-pantomime is a mixture of two of the best guessing games, so it’s a crossover game, so to speak ;-).
This kind of pantomime is about representing terms with 2 meanings, so-called tea kettles, such as the word dish. On the one hand, this denotes the meal, on the other hand, the instance of jurisdiction.
The challenge now is for the performer of the pantomime to play both meanings and for the guessers to find the matching tea kettle to both pantomime performances. You can also play it in such a way that two players of a team act out the two (or sometimes three) meanings. In our Tea Kettle Game Guide you will find many more creative game variations.
Players: 5 – infinite (preferably an odd number, as one is the game master)
How good are you as a secret agent? Can you get a secret message across to your team? And without the opposing team cracking your pantomime code?
Imagine your teams are two opposing intelligence agencies and Pantomime is your secret code. You are given an important secret message by an informant (the game leader), which you are to convey in pantomime to the other agents on your team.
The difficulty: the enemy, namely the other team, sees everything and can steal the important message before you have delivered it! So you need a secret code.
Before each transmission, the team whose turn it is to deliver their secret message may consult briefly in secret (maximum 2 minutes) and agree on one or more secret codes. This code should be well thought out so that the other team does not crack it.
The game leader must tell all players beforehand which category the term comes from, i.e. animals, professions, objects, etc.
You agree that your agent in action – the mime – will wink as often as the term has syllables. But remember: the other team will notice the wink and try to draw conclusions from it. In this variant, it is also allowed to represent letters, for example, to make a hump for U. Depending on what category the game leader has given you, you can make up content codes. For example, animals: Hand clenched in a fist means a big or dangerous animal. A flat hand means a tame animal or pet, etc..
What your pantomime code looks like depends entirely on you. The more rounds you play, the more complex your code can become, but the higher the chances that it will be cracked by the other intelligence service.
This time the principle of pantomime, that you must not use objects, is turned into its opposite: you have to include objects in the pantomime! If the term to be guessed refers to an object that is in the room, however, one may not use it.
Either you allow all objects in the room for this pantomime variation, or you place a large selection of things on a table.
A Few Tips for Suitable Terms
Pantomimic representation is also part of the popular social game Activity. You have to either explain, draw or pantomime terms. In the meantime, there are numerous sub-variants of this game on the market, e.g. at amazon*!
You can find more good games for a game night, family games and many more on the overview pages of Abenteuer Freundschaft. In general, you can browse for activities with children, friends and your partner.
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Image source title bid: pantomime by Christoph Boy at CC BY 2.0.
*There are affiliate links in this article. This means that if you order a product from amazon via one of these links, Abenteuer Freundschaft will receive a small commission without the product becoming more expensive for you.
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