/ #exercise #improv-game #spontaneity 

Giving presents

Player A offers an imaginary present to player B. Player B defines what is the gift and show his happiness on what he has just been offered! The pair continues the same action back and forth.

This game is straightforward and perfect to show how hard it can be to define what should be the most natural thing: a present we would like.

  • Group size : By pairs
  • Time : 10-15 minutes


  • Put the participants by pairs
  • A presents B with an imaginary gift. A must offer the present so that B can see the shape of the present (is it big? is it squared, etc.).
  • B accepts with joy the present by defining it: “Oh! It’s a …! Thank you!”
  • Then B gives a present to A and so on.


If A is offering the present, it’s essential that it’s B and not A that should define the present.

A can offer exact items or just a shape and let B define what is or what is inside this shape.

The participants should accept the offer enthusiastically; it’s part of this exercise to accept any offer with the most positive attitude. You may advise the participant to start accepting the offer with joy and manipulating it even before they brain decided what it is.

The players should exchange more than three presents each to evacuate the first easy ideas they had in mind and become more spontaneous. You should encourage them to go fast.

Debrief questions

  • How did it feel to receive gifts? And to give them?
  • What did you think of having to identify the gift?
  • How did it feel when the gift was identified as something else than what you offered?
  • How does this relate to your work?


I love this game because we ask a simple task: to define and be happy with a present we pick. Most of the time when we struggle finding ideas we think of a lot of exterior reasons: someone will judge us, we’ll look stupid, etc.

Here the only judge is us, and we realize how many stress we put on ourselves. Why not just accept the delicious beer we are offering and looking for an unexpected present we won’t be enjoying?

Offering a present is also an enjoyable experience since it’s supposed to be an easy task. After all, we need to mime the offering of a gift we don’t need to define. But we struggle the same: we don’t want to offer the same shape, we want to determine what is the present we are offering, etc.

And finally, you can also play this game in full connexion with the other person and make it playful and beautiful. What if this present was not only a good present but a good present that your partner only could imagine?


Baptiste Coulange

CTO at @cornis_SAS / socially acceptable maths nerd of @podcastscience / always improvising