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Pantomime is one of the most popular party games.

4. August 2016 - Alexander Schmidt

Best Pantomime Ideas and Games – Get Ready for Your Star Performance!


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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 – The Basic Rules

  • Players: 2 – infinite
  • Accessories: slips of paper and pens

Pantomime, also known as charades, always works according to the same basic rules:

  • One person, the mime of that round, performs a term using only gestures and facial expressions. One or more other people (his team) have to guess the term.
  • Speaking is expressly forbidden for the performer of the pantomime.
  • Deliberately evoked sounds that could give a hint (for example, whistling a melody, animal sounds, etc.) are also not allowed.
  • The mime may not use any objects for representation and may not point to any. However, he/she may point to him/herself or to parts of his/her own body.
  • The mime may not draw or point to any letters with his fingers! (In strict variants of the game, he is also not allowed to give any clues about the length of the word or sentence, for example by hinting that the term is composed of two words. However, this rule is handled differently).
  • The guessers are allowed to give hints and ask questions at any time, which the mime is allowed to answer, e.g. by nodding, shaking the head, deliberately turning the hand in the case of an answer that goes in the right direction, etc. The mime is not allowed to give hints.

Playing pantomime alone or in a team

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.

7 Ingenious Pantomime Ideas and Variations

1. Pantomime Post

  • Players: 6 – infinite (even number)
  • Accessories: slips of paper and pens, 2 separated rooms

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.

This Is How Pantomime Post Goes

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!

Further Suggestions for Terms

  • Zookeeper washing an elephant
  • Acupuncture treatment
  • Cook making pancakes
  • Big game hunter on safari
  • Cleaning lady who is frightened by a mouse

2. Celebrity Pantomime

  • Players: 2 – infinite
  • Accessories: slips of paper and pens

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?

A Few Suggestions

  • Udo Lindenberg
  • Lady Gaga
  • Paris Hilton
  • Manuel Neuer
  • Donald Trump
  • Sigmar Gabriel
  • The Pope
  • The Dalai Lama
  • Angelina Jolie
  • Paul McCartney

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..

3. Pantomime With Film, Book or Song Titles

  • Players: 2 – infinite
  • Accessories: slips of paper and pens

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.

Our Suggestions

Films

  • Play Me the Song of Death
  • The Invisible Third
  • They kissed and they beat him
  • Fruits of Wrath
  • Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
  • Fear eats the soul
  • Jaws
  • Gone with the Wind
  • Two Glorious Scoundrels

Books

  • Aladdin and the magic lamp
  • The Three Musketeers
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • War and Peace
  • The Unbearable Lightness of Being
  • The Magic Mountain
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea
  • The Pit and the Pendulum
  • The Little Prince
  • The Tin Drum

Songs

  • Smells Like Teen Spirit (Nirvana)
  • Like A Virgin (Madonna)
  • The House of the Rising Sun (Animals)
  • Octopus’s Garden (Beatles)
  • Stairway to Heaven (Led Zeppelin)
  • …Baby one more time (Britney Spears)
  • Paparazzi (Lady Gaga)
  • Another Brick in the Wall (Pink Floyd)
  • Bridge over Troubled Water (Simon & Garfunkel)

4. Animal Pantomime

A great variation of pantomime is to guess animals.

Scott playing charades by Scott Skippy at CC BY-SA 2.0

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 😉

Animals for Pantomime

  • Anteater
  • Great spotted woodpecker
  • Goldfish
  • Hammerhead shark
  • Grasshopper
  • Spider monkey
  • Tree frog
  • Guinea pig
  • Rhino
  • Robin
  • Sabre-toothed tiger
  • Seal
  • Ibex

5. Tea Kettle Pantomime

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.

6. The Pantomime Code – The Variation for James Bonds Fans

The pantomime code: what is this man trying to tell us?

Andy playing Charades by Scott Skippy at CC BY-SA 2.0

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.

Example

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.

7. Mime With Objects

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

  • Picture book (so no picture book may be taken, but pictures and a book)
  • Confessional
  • Couch potato
  • Light bulb
  • Degree meter
  • Hovercraft
  • Ground glass
  • Oil carpet
  • Turntable
  • Fried egg
  • Tuning fork
  • Hourglass
  • Sugar cane

Purchase Variant of Pantomime

*

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.
Never miss out on more tips and ideas from Abenteuer Freundschaft by simply following us on Facebook and Instagram and subscribing to our newsletter 😉

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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