January 6, 2015

Game Review: Telestrations & Reverse Charades

Note: This post contains affiliate links.

I wanted to showcase two games that are designed to help students practice non-verbal communication skills. Although our therapy is usually focused on verbal expression, I think being able to supplement a message with different means of communication is an important skill for someone who presents with a language delay.

Telestrations and Reverse Charades by USAopoly are games geared towards older students (middle school to adult) and provide an excellent means to practice communicating non-verbally / through alternate strategies. This makes these games a fun special activity to do with large middle or high school speech groups (think end of the year parties!). Of course they also lend themselves for private game nights at home. Keep reading below to see how each of these games plays out (no pun intended):

Get it here.


This game is recommended for 4-8 players ages 12 and up. It is kind of like playing "Chinese Whispers / Telephone", but relies on drawing rather than whispering. The object of the game is to guess a mystery object based on people's drawings.

The contents of the game include cards listing objects/phrases/actions, 8 booklets for players to draw in,  8 dry erase markers, 8 cloths to clean your booklets, a sand timer, and a die. The player booklets are laminated to allow for use with a whiteboard marker and can be erased. This ensures that you can use them over and over again without wasting paper.

To play, each player receives a booklet, each of which has 8 tabs on it (looks kind of like the picture on the box). Everyone then chooses a card and rolls the die. Each card has 6 numbered words or phrases (e.g., electrician, flat tire, camping, attic, minivan, etc.), and players find the term that matches the number on the die. This term is recorded on the first page of the sketchbook. Depending on the number of players, the sketchbook is then passed to the player on the left. This player secretly looks at the original word, flips the page, and sketches a picture of it. The book is then passed on again, so that the next person looks at the picture. Based on the picture, they write down what they think it is on the following page and pass the book on so that the next person can sketch a picture of the previous person's written guess. This goes on until the book reaches the original owner.

There is not really a winner or loser per se, and the main idea is for people to have fun. There are some alternate rules for scoring for more competitive groups.

The idea is pretty clever, and I could imagine students coming up with some hilarious ideas. It would also be interesting to discuss with groups how one player interpreted a picture differently from its original meaning.

This game has rave reviews on amazon and is the winner of multiple awards. Even though it is a little bit different from what we usually work on, I think it is a good fit for a middle/ high school speech room and would motivate students to participate in the session! And of course it would make a great game for social skills groups, as well.

Get it here.

Most everyone is familiar with the basic game of charades. Reverse Charades offers a fun and novel twist to the old way, breathing new life into the concept. This game is recommended for 6 or more players ages 6 and up (although I think it may be difficult for younger groups). There is a junior version on the market, which may be more appropriate for elementary aged students.

The contents of the game include a sand timer and 720 different words and phrases on cards. The object of the game is to guess as many actions or concepts that are being acted out by a group of players within a 60 minute period.

To play, split the group into teams of three or more. One person on the team is chosen to be the "guesser" (players take turns being the guesser). The other players on the team then choose a card that they will have to act out. The cards contain a wide variety of ideas, such as pie-eating contest, triathlon, cow-tipping, etc. The guesser has to figure out what the rest of his/her team is trying to communicate. The rules permit players to use objects (and even people) in the room to help them act out their secret word. For each guessed word, the team scores a point.

This is another fun and award-winning party game! The only downside for elementary ages is that the younger language delayed crowd probably doesn't understand what many of the words mean. I am planning to purchase the easier junior version for them.

Reverse Charades would also make a great team-building exercise (think social skills groups). This game is another great way to get middle and high schoolers involved in your session!

Even if these games may not be appropriate for your caseload, they may be just what you need for your next game night!

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