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Zip, Zap, Zop

2 mins
improv-game warmup improv-game
Baptiste Coulange
Socially acceptable maths and improv nerd
Table of Contents

In a circle, participants pass a Zip! noise to each other. One player can decide to say Zap! to change the direction of the sound or to say Zop! to skip the next player.

This game is perfect to make every member of the group present.

  • Group size : From 4 people.
  • Time : 10 minutes


  • Ask the participants to form a circle.
  • Start by showing: say Zip! and make a hand gesture to “give the noise” to the player on your right and give the player some hints to continue transmitting the noise.
  • After two turns in the same direction, introduce Zap! with the gesture of crossing your arms. When a player receives a Zap! on his Zip!, the sense of transmission change, he needs to pass the Zip! to the other direction.
  • After some time with Zap! and Zip!, introduce the Zop! finally: when a player says Zop!, he needs to put his two hands as if he was wearing goggles. The player next to him is skipped, and the game continues in the same direction.


As the game becomes easier for participants, ask the participants to go faster and to take more risks.

After some time, we can introduce new rules (without describing them, just by showing) and some player should repeat the same thing.


Mind meld
1 min
improv-game warmup improv-game

In a group, a first player says 1 when he thinks of a word. Then when a second player thinks he knows the word of the first player, he says 2. Finally, together they say 1,2,3 and their world. If they have the same word, it’s a Mind Meld!

An excellent warmup to put a group in the same energy.

Giving presents
3 mins
improv-game exercise improv-game spontaneity

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.

No / Yes but / Yes / Yes and
2 mins
improv-game exercise improv-game spontaneity

By pairs. Player A tells a story to player B. Player B can only answer No. Then player B can only respond Yes, But…, then Yes and finally Yes, and.

A good exercise to feel how we are affected by others’ reaction to our ideas.

One sentence at a time
2 mins
improv-game scenework improv-game

Two players do a scene. They must say one sentence at a time: Player A starts with a sentence, Player B answer with another sentence, and so on.

A good setup to do a scene where we concentrate on the listening between players.

Training: Why don't I have more ideas?
9 mins
Improvisation improvisation training

In front of this computer since hours, I’m looking for how to start this article. How the find the idea that will make it meaningful. I turn the music on and the distraction off and begin to look around me to think “outside the box”. Two hours ago I planned to write this article about the first improvisation training I did with my team. I’ve decided to train us on behavior and creativity topics. This training is about what I’m struggling with right now :

How can I have more ideas?

5 great books about creativity
5 mins
books books creativity improvisation mathematics
Here are five great books about creativity. These are very good books where you can experience different aspect of creativity: How it became a culture in a creative company like Pixar (Creativity Inc), how one person can fight to maintain it in a huge industry (Orbiting the Giant Hairball), the importance of mistakes in the creative process (The Art of Making Mistakes), how an author can make crazy idea with everyday things (H2G2) and finally in the best example of Art&Science I know, magic (Magical Mathematics).