Improv games not only bring out the creativity within you but is also a great hobby. This blog covers 20 such game ideas that can keep large groups entertained.
These improv games, exercises and activities will not only help you bond with your group but will also make you think on the spot.
How exactly do these games work? Improv activities require you to think on the spot and act out a particular situation. They enhance your intuitive and quick-thinking skills.
At a workplace, improv games can act as great icebreakers for team members to open up and get to know each other better. Improvisation games are also effective for enhancing team building and employee engagement at your workplace. A few examples of these games include Two Truths and A Lie, the 21 Questions game, Thought-provoking questions game, and much more.
In this article, we will cover:
If you want to engage kids in a classroom or in a group, then the following games can act as fun brain boosters for them. Let us have a look at some improv exercises for kids. Some of these activities can also be used as amazing improv games for teens.
This can be an apt improv warm up game for kids who are just starting out with improvisation games. Make all the kids stand in a circle and give them a word. For example, if the word is ‘fast food’, then each of them needs to say one word related to the main word. The next kid has to speak out a word that connects well with the previous word. People watching the game should get the feeling of listening to a story (connected to the main word) with each kid giving out a different word.
Freeze games are pretty popular within improv games. This game can be tried by both kids as well as adults. For this game, two kids come forward and start enacting a scene. At any moment, another player behind says ‘freeze’ and chooses one kid to freeze in their position. The player from the back line comes in, taps them on the shoulder, and takes over their position. Then the new player must do a new scene inspired by that position.
This is another game that amplifies the kids’ energies. Position the kids in a circle and make them squat down. Each of them takes turns calling out a number from 1-10. But here comes the fun part. As they climb up the ladder, they are expected to raise from their initial squat position slowly. Also, the voice would be very low for 1 (squat position) and it would be highest for 10 (standing position) to make their energy explosive.
If you are on the lookout for any improv games for teens or any improv games for middle school, then this could be a good one.
Every player gets a random number. Each participant is allowed to speak words equivalent to the number. Say if someone gets the number 4, then the player needs to say out just 4 words. Set a time limit of 5 or 10 seconds for each participant and the one who overshoots the time loses out. To add a twist here, the kids can be given a central word and need to frame words that link to the main word.
So these are some improv exercises that kids can try out. In the next section, let us have a look at some improvisation games for beginners.
If you are introducing newbies to the concept of improv activities, you may want to give them some simple tasks to perform.
If you are looking for an easy game, then this is not so tough. However, you need to be quick and agile here. Hence, you can include this one as an improv warm up games that can get you ready for a bigger one.
All of us must have played the “Simon Says” game during our school days. Well, this is based on similar lines, just that you need a partner to depict the correct action being called out.
A moderator should be assigned to call out the commands of “Knight”, “Horse” and “Cavalier”. The game goes on as follows:
So, “Questions Only” is a game where the participants are expected to converse with each other in the form of questions only. Now you may wonder, how can one converse just by way of questions? Of course, it is very much possible.
Player 1: Did you check out the new Walmart store?
Player 2: Where is this?
Player 1: Have you seen the pizza corner towards the end of this street?
Player 2: Yes, so what about it?
Player 1: Then how come you haven’t noticed the new Walmart store right opposite the pizza corner?
Player 2: Do you ever notice anything around you while feasting on a pizza?
This can be a very good improv game for teens. PLaying with multiple players can make this game more interesting and fun. If you intend to play this game, then check for how long you can keep your “questionnaire conversation” going.
This game is totally non-verbal and relies on synchronization skills. Players need to work in pairs here. A moderator is assigned to supervise the game. Make two players face each other and one player has to copy or mirror their partner’s reaction at the same time. Onlookers should get a feel of two players performing exactly the same act at the same time.
The moderator can decide to change the leader at any random moment. It only means that the player who was mainly performing the act earlier needs to do the copying act now.
The mirroring game is an excellent improv warm-up game apart from being a good theatre improv game.
In this game, all one needs to do is guess the lie embedded between two truths. Well, it may not be so simple if the statements are presented and twisted in a manner such that participants need to rack their brains hard to guess the lie. However, this is a very good game for beginners who want to try and check their level of smartness at improv games.
Improv activities can be performed in smaller and larger groups. While certain games could fit well within a huge group of participants, it may not be feasible for a smaller group of players to play the same game. In this section, let us go through a few improvisation games for small groups of players.
When we talk about theatre improv games, then this one is really good. Your acting skills should seem real. A minimum of 4 participants are needed for this game. One participant acts as the boss, and the other three members are the employees.
The situation is something like this — one worker gets late for work. The other two workers explain the situation to the boss as to why their friend is late for work. When the late worker arrives, the boss questions the reason for being late. The other two workers stand behind the boss and pantomime to the worker who checks in late.
The late worker tries to decipher the act enacted by the other two colleagues and explains the situation to the boss. If the reason matches the one provided by the other two employees earlier, then the person is allowed to work. Else the boss says “You’re fired!” to the worker who turned in late. The game can be continued by switching roles.
This can be a very interesting improv game for adults. People who are associated with theatrical activities would be able to carry this out beautifully.
If you are hunting for improvisation games for a huge group of people, then you could probably check these improv ideas.
Apart from being good for a large member group, the Cow, Alien, Tiger is also a very good improv game for teens.
Make all the players stand in a circle. On the moderator’s signal, each of the players decides to become any one of the three-a cow, an alien, or a tiger.
This can also be a very good improv game for middle school students.
Some people can be really good when it comes to spreading rumors in real life. But how well can anyone generate rumors as a part of an improv activity? Well, you can find out through this act.
For the rumor game, make all the participants stand in a circle. Now one player starts by saying “Did you hear about _____________”. To which the next person adds something in connection to what the previous player just said. After this, the entire group bursts into peals of laughter. Then the second player again starts by saying “Did you hear about__________” to the third player who in turn generates another rumor. In this way, the game goes on and on till all the players have gotten a chance to generate a rumor.
To explain this better, let us check out an example below.
Player 1: Did you hear about Jane’s pet cat who has given birth to pink and blue-colored kittens?
Player 2: Yes and I also heard that one kitten has stripes all over its body resembling a tiger.
Although this game can be played with a small group of people, more players increase the excitement of the game by adding more rumors and multiplying the fun.
This is a perfect example of a theatre improv game. It’s time to host and call for a party. One person is chosen to be the host and he is asked to be out for a while. The other people act as guests and they are given out certain characters to enact by a moderator or an audience.
Now all these guests enter the party one at a time. For instance, the first guest enters and interacts with the host for about a minute. During this time, the guest tries to imitate the character assigned to them. Then the next guest enters within a minute. In this manner, all the guests enter the party and start interacting with the host and with each other. The host needs to identify the characters played by the guests.
The party characters could be anything like:
More guests would obviously add up to all the fun.
Players need to play this improv game with their eyes closed!
Ask the players to form a circle. All the members need to close their eyes. Now every member has to speak a number from 1 to 21. And the counting can start from any random player. Now here comes the fun part. Two players can call out the same number simultaneously. There are high chances for this to happen since members have their eyes closed. If such a thing happens, then everyone needs to start from 1.
Sounds fun right? This can be a good activity for a bunch of teens or middle school kids.
If you want to engage your team members in improv exercises, then check out the games listed below.
This game is very effective in improving everyone’s active listening skills and building on other people’s ideas.
In this game, two participants have to start a conversation on a given topic or scenario. However, each participant has to start their response with "Yes, and..." and subsequently build on what the previous person has said.
You will see the conversation continue to grow and evolve, with each person adding to the ideas ultimately building acceptance for the other person’s opinion.
Let us take a look at an example below so that you have a better understanding. This is a conversation between two players (P1 and P2).
P1: This Saturday, don’t forget our beach outing plan.
P2: Yes, and don’t forget to get your swimming dress.
P1: Yes, and remember to get those special snacks that your mom has prepared for us.
P2: Yes, and inform Julia too since I could not get through her number.
P1: Yes, and I will tell her to bring her little sister as well.
P2: Yes, and I will get everything ready from my side for the beach outing.
This game can be played with 2 players and a moderator, however, it is a good one for a group of 4-5 members.
The main goal of this game is to check the concentration and focus levels of every participant. This game also inculcates collaboration among group members. In this game, there is no actual red ball. The players need to imagine that they have a red ball in their hand which they continue to pass from one person to another.
Any player can start and throw an imaginary red ball towards another participant by saying “Red Ball”. In return, the person receiving the imaginary ball responds by saying “Thank You”. Then this person has to pass it on to someone else in a similar manner. Eye contact is extremely important here.
This improv warm up game works pretty well for a 5 to 10 member team! The player who starts the game comes up with a random word. The next player will speak out another word related to the first word.
Here is an example for a better understanding:
So as you can see, the above game started with the word “Apple” and it reached “Water”. See how long you and your friends can continue this one.
The game starts when a player makes a statement. It can be any simple statement. Then the next player has to make another statement with the last word of the statement said out loud by the first player. The game goes on till a player is unable to construct a statement. For added fun, the game could be timed with each person getting 20-30 seconds to come up with a statement.
Let us take a look at an example below.
P1: I love to travel.
P2: Travel is the best way to find solace.
P3: Solace is the most precious asset in this world.
P4: World leaders should work together to make it a better place to live.
P5: Live your life on your own terms.
The above game also tests quick thinking and listening skills. So, how long do you think you and your team can go on with this one?
This game is best played in a large group of 15-20 people.
Divide your team into groups of 3, 4, or even 5 members. Call out the name of a type of family and mention any specific requirement like “Family with two dads”. Each group has to create a freeze-frame of that family in just ten seconds. The family should include different age-groups including children, adults and grandparents to make it more realistic.
For instance, one group could be given to portray a “Happy Family”, another group could be given to portray the “Addams Family” and so on. It will be fun to watch every group portray different expressions.
What if your entire team is working remotely? Does this mean you won’t be able to engage them in improv exercises? Absolutely not! We have some improv activities listed in this section which you can try out on Zoom.
This game can be played offline as well as online. It is very easy to play this on Zoom.
Follow the order of the alphabet while constructing sentences. To explain this explicitly, the first participant builds a statement with the letter A, the next one builds a statement with the letter B, and so on. Simple right? Then let’s add a little twist to make this more interesting!
The statements should be made such that they connect to the previous statement. A person who hears all the statements without paying much attention to the opening letter of every sentence should get a feel of listening to some conversation or paragraph.
Let us take an example to understand this better.
P1: Albert Einstein was one of the greatest scientists the world has had.
P2: Before Einstein, even Galileo and some other scientists had explored the theory of relativity.
P3: Credits have been given to Einstein only for his theory of relativity. Why so?
P4: Defining the relativity theory was definitely not easy.
P5: Einstein’s definition of relativity explains all the principles of the subject in depth.
Try out this virtual game with your team. It is a great improv activity and tests your quick-thinking skills. You can even try it out if you meet your friends or colleagues in person.
Change is a super fun game that can encourage adaptability and spontaneity.
To play a game of Change, two participants have to begin acting out a scene based on a scenario given by the host or the rest of the participants. At any point, someone in the group can say "Change!". The participant who was speaking when "Change!" was called out has to stop. Then the last thing the participant said has to be changed to a completely different sentence.
This continues, with the scene shifting and taking a creative turn based on the changes.
The above-listed improv games can help you engage kids, adults, or even your coworkers in a fun and gripping way. And to make things easier for you, we have listed a few improv warm-up games as well. These activities boost your confidence and get you ready for the main act. Don’t worry even if you are a beginner in these activities. As time progresses, you will get used to playing such games and enjoying them.
Improv games are acting-based activities that enhance your thinking skills and enable you to put up spontaneous acts. They require you to think on the spot and act out a particular situation.
These are some good improv exercises for business:
Some of the best improv games for adults include:
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