I’ve used the “What Are You Doing” improvisation game with classes of both adults and children. It engages the physical, emotional, and mental energies. Try it in your next class or seminar!

Ask participants to pair up. Choose a volunteer from the audience to help you demonstrate.

You: (begin an action, such as running in place)
Volunteer: What are you doing?
You: (continue running) I’m brushing my teeth (or any other activity you are NOT doing)
Volunteer: (begins miming brushing her teeth)
You: (still running) What are you doing?
Volunteer: (still brushing her teeth) I’m doing jumping jacks
You: (begin jumping jacks)
Volunteer: What are you doing?

This continues. Each activity cannot repeat the one before. The first to make a mistake, such as doing and saying the same thing or repeating an activity or hesitating too long, is “out.” Let the class begin the activity in their pairs.

The real fun in this is to make your partner do novel and horrible things like picking her nose or doing burpees. Children will choose something inappropriate, like peeing, but can only do it once per game (no repeating!), so the vulgarity is limited. I ask the participants not to do “boring” activities like sleeping or reading a book. This is usually more a problem with adults who don’t want to move.

The game can also be played in small groups. Two people in the group act and the first to mess up is replaced by one of the watchers. Finally, this can be played as a class with two teams. Each actor goes once, alternating lines (everyone wins) or the pairs go at lightning speed until someone messes up and is replaced by the next person in line (the last team standing wins).

The game can get pretty loud, but it’s a great energizer for adults and reward for children. So far, both 4th and 5th graders have understood and enjoyed the game.

February 14, 2017

Kasmira Kit

1 Comment

  1. kats9lifes

    February 16, 2017

    Thanks for sharing! I will have to use this next time my 5th graders have to have recess inside.

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