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An easy improv game for when you just can’t think

There are times when you need a game that doesn’t need much explanation to get you started. This is a great game to play with your students at the end of term when they (or you) are feeling exhausted, or the day after a performance when you’re tired and need a laugh.

The following exercise challenges students to incorporate two suggestions into one improvised scene. Students must use listening, teamwork and quick thinking skills to complete this exercise successfully.

To prepare: Visit us Prompt collection and print at least two prompt lists. Also, have a stopwatch or second-hand watch available to ensure that each student has the same amount of time to sing.


1. Select two students to perform.

2. Ask the students to choose a number between 1 and 50. (Each prompt list has 50 prompts, with another 50 prompts in the gift.)

3. Give students the prompt on each page associated with that number. For example, for the number 37, prompt related to animals is “What would the two different pets say to each other?” and location prompt is “science lab”.

4. Give students a five-second countdown to get ready.

5. Students will improvise a one-minute scene together, incorporating both cues into the scene in some way. For the example above, your students could play with scientists studying talking animals, or they could play with pets sitting in a science lab and discussing what their owners are doing. It can even be as subtle as two students wondering aloud what their pets are talking about when they’re not there, then hearing the school bell and ending the scene with, “Okay, I’m off to science lab!” It is up to the students to be as obvious or as subtle as they want, as long as they use both cues.

6. When a minute passes, the scene is complete.

7. Submit each prompt as it is used. Repeat up to 50 times.

If your students are new to improv or find it intimidating to come up with ideas on the spot, try doing a brainstorming session before the first pair. Select two prompts and ask the whole class to come up with performance ideas that incorporate both prompts. This will give students more ideas of where they could take their scenes.

Click here for a selection of alternative game instructions as well as an exit sheet.

Kerry Hishon is a director, actor, writer and stage fighter from London, Ontario, Canada. She blogs at www.kerryhishon.com.

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