Free Games PDF

Whats the point of games?

Play is the key to learning.....

That is why we love to use games in our workshops and in our theatre. Whatever situation you find yourself in, it is possible to reduce it down into a game. At Face Up we believe that games can be a useful reflection of life experiences and by choosing the right game for the right group it is possible to develop some inspirational ideas and reflections.

We have included some of our favourite games here and if you want to have a handy PDF for yourself then please sign up to our mailing list here

Warm Up Games

All of the following games are great for warming up a group and helping them to get to know each other.We hope you find this a useful teaching resource...

Name Ball

This is a great game for learning names in a group. Often the first game we would play in a session with a new group.
Everyone stands in a circle. Pass a ball around the circle and instruct everyone to say their name when they have the ball.After the ball goes round once send it round in the other direction.

Next start to pass the ball across the circle. Everyone must say their name and then the name of the person they are throwing the ball to, if they cant remember a name then just ask. The ball must be thrown in a under arm fashion across the circle, allowing people every opportunity to catch the ball. You are not trying to bowl them out!

Let the exercise run for a while until you feel everyone has begun to pick up a few different names. You may need to remind people to say there name and the name of the person they throwing to.
Next the group only say the name of the person they are throwing to. At this point they can still ask peoples names.

Let the exercise run again for a little longer
Now introduce forfeits. People will incur a forfeit if they get someone’s name wrong, hesitate, um, er, deliver a bad throw or if its a bad catch. You will referee and your word is final. The first forfeit people incur if they make a mistake is to go down on one knee, if they make a 2nd mistake they put one arm behind their back, a 3rd error requires them to close one eye, and after that they close the other eye which means they are pretty much out of the game.
Make sure that you get people out quite quickly. Try to avoid one person being alone on the floor, if you cant get anyone else out then get yourself out.

Any one who...

This game is great for new groups or for introducing people to working as a group. Set out a circle of chairs in the room. There should be enough chairs for everyone except you. Stand in the middle of the circle and invite the group to sit in the chairs. Explain that the aim of the exercise is to get a chair. The way to acheive that aim is by saying a statement that is true for you, the statement will start with the words ‘any one who’ and then you will say something true about yourself. So for example if you have brown hair you can say 'anyone who has brown hair'.

If that statement is also true for anyone in the group they must get up out of their chair and move to a different chair somewhere else in the circle. Obviously someone will always be left in the middle and they then have to say something true for them, and so the game goes on.

Tell people that if they are in the middle and they can't find anything to say then they can just say 'all change'.
There are a couple of rules. This is a non contact sport so people cant pull someone out of their chair or knock them over in order to get to a chair first. People are not allowed to get out of their chair and return to the same chair, and finally they cannot sit in the chair directly next to you.

It is useful to start with yourself in the middle and use something that most people would move for such as 'anyone who brushes their teeth'

Groups of

A great game for building group cohesion and encouraging people to share information.
Everybody walks around the space. Tell the group that you will instruct them to get into different types of groups and they must do this when you say go.You can vary the types of groups. Use numbers such as groups of 4 or groups of people with the same color hair, people born in the same month, born in the same place, same star sign, same year, and anything else that you feel people may share.

Map on the floor

A great exercise for sharing information and communication in a group.
Everybody stand to the side of the room. Ask the group to imagine that on the floor is a map of the Uk. Establish North, South, East and West. Ask the group to stand in their favorite place in the UK. When everyone has found their place ask individuals what they like about that place.
You can make the map of anything you want. A map of the school, the world, the local superstore, and you could invite people to stand in the best place, the worst place, the place they’ve never been to and any other ideas you have.

Two Minute Portraits

A great exercise to learn names and get to know each other. Probably best for new groups.
Place a pile of paper and some pens/pencils on the floor, enough for everyone. You will need a stop watch.

Get everyone into pairs. Ask the pairs to decide who will be A and who will be B . When you say go A will interview B and try to find out as much as possible about them, they will have one minute and then they will swap round so B interviews A for one minute. Ask the group to remember that what ever they tell the person interviewing them will be shared with the rest of the group, so they shouldn't reveal anything they don't want to be shared. After the two minutes are up everyone should pick up some paper and a pencil and draw a picture that represents all the things they have found out about that person making sure they include their name. Give them two minutes to create the picture.When the participants have drawn their pictures go round and look at all the pictures getting each artist to talk about their subject and their picture.

Focus Games

All of the following drama games are great for focussing a group and calming an atmosphere.

Dangerous Places

This game is really useful for exploring issues around working together and establishing group rules
Invite everyone to walk around the room. As you say this begin to walk around yourself. As people are walking around the space invite them to look around the space and look out for anything that might be in some way dangerous or unsafe. When they have found a few things, tell them to choose one in particular and go and stand next to it. Ask each person what is dangerous about the particular item or area they are standing next to. Invite everybody grab a chair and come and sit in a circle. Facilitate a discussion with the group asking open questions around why it might be important to be aware of risks and other things that make this a safe place to work. It might be useful to record some of the ideas on a flipchart.

Guess a minute

This is a great game for focusing and calming a group.
Invite everybody to sit in a circle and then stand in front of their chair. Tell the group that in a moment you are going to start your stop watch. Everyone will have their eyes closed. Everyone will guess when a minute has passed, when they think a minute has passed they must sit down. Stop the watch when everyone has sat down and as far as you can let people know how much time elapsed at the point that they sat down.

Count to 10

Everyone stands in a circle. The group have to count to 10. Only one person can say one number at a time, they cannot say more than one number in sequence and they are not aloud to set up any systems, if more than one person speaks at the same time they go back to the start.

Two Truths and a Lie

Everyone sits in a circle. Everyone has think of three things about themselves that know one else knows about them. Two of those things need to be true and one of them has to be a lie. It is best if all of the options are feasible, for instance if someone was to say I have a brother, I have been to france and i have been to the moon, it would be obvious what the lie is. Ok who will go first.
You can always follow this exercise with a discussion about why people don't tell the truth and explore how people felt when they where telling the lie.

Energizing Games

All of the following drama games are great for energizing and waking up a group.

Same Journey

This is an excellent game for getting a group energized and working together. You will need a stop watch of some kind.
Invite everyone to walk around the room, make sure they are walking into all of the space in the room. Now ask them to freeze. Tell the group to remember exactly where they are in the room. Tell them that when you say go you want them to do he following..

  • Touch two different walls.

  • Touch something green and something blue but not an item of someone’s

    clothing.

  • Shake hands with three different people.

  • Return to where they started

    Record their time on a stopwatch and only stop when the last person has returned to where they started. When everyone returns to their spot give them their time. At this point ask the group if they think that as a group they could do it faster?: How can they make the journey more efficient? Continue to repeat the journey and encourage them to share ideas to make the journey quicker. Continue the exercise until the group feel they can no longer improve on their time.

    Random Chairs

    Everyone take a chair and place it somewhere in the room, spreading from one end of the room to the other and sit on the chair. One person is 'on' and they walk from one end of the room to a empty chair at the other end of the room and the group have to stop them sitting on it by sitting there before they do. However as soon as another chair is empty the person 'on' can sit on that one, so someone else has to sit there, and then the person 'on' can sit in their chair and so it goes until the person 'on' gets a chair and someone is left standing. That person is them 'on'. The person 'on' is only allowed to walk slowly. Initially the players will lose their chair quite quickly, however allow them to have a team talk and they will learn to play the game more effectively. You can then allow them to walk faster.

    Keepy Uppy

    For this game you will need a ball. A soft football or volley ball is best.
    Invite everyone to stand in a circle. The idea of this game is for the group to keep the ball in the air. You can use any part of your body to tap the ball up, but you cannot tap it more than once before someone else taps it. See how many taps the group can get before the ball hits the floor or someone double taps. After the first go get the group to estimate how many times they think they can tap the ball, and aim to achieve that target.

    Walk Means Run

    This is a great game to get the brain working!
    Invite everyone to walk around the room. Make sure they are walking in lots of different directions and not just round in a circle. Now instruct them to run. Then ask them to walk. repeat this for a little while, then tell the group that whenever you say walk you mean run and when you say run you mean walk. Keep going like this for a while until everyone has got used to the instructions. You can add as many different instructions as you like. The key is to start with the recognized meaning of the instruction and then swap it round. Instructions might include stop and go, shout your name and whisper your name, hop and skip, crouch and jump and anything else you can think of.

Zip Zap Bop

Invite everyone to stand in a circle. Ask the group to imagine that you have a ball of energy in your hands and you are going to pass this ball of energy around the circle. Explain that when you pass it you are going to make a noise which is 'Zip' and with the noise is a movement which can be anything but we tend to place both our hands together and turn them so your fingers are pointing in the direction you want the energy to travel. When you pas the energy the zip to the person next to you they will pass it on to the next person and so on. See how fast you can get the energy going round the circle, you can only zip the person next you and you have to be zipped before you zip. Let the zip go round the circle a few times. Now that would get a bit boring if all you did was go round the circle so now add a new sound and movement that can change the direction of the zip. The new sound is 'Bop' and the movement we use is to turn to the person who has just zipped you, put both hands up with palms facing out and say bop. Bop changes the direction of a zip, start again but you cant use a bop until the zip has been round the circle at least once. You will find at some point that everyone starts to use the bop and that means not everyone is involved in the exercise. The next sound is a zap and the movement is this. Hands together as with a zip but this time fingers pointing across the circle. A zap travels across the circle. There are a couple of rules that you need to remember. You cant bop a zap and you cant zap a zap back because that would be the same as a bop.

 
 
 

Team Work Games

All of the following drama games are really useful for encouraging positive working within a team.
Same Journey
This is an excellent drama game for getting a group energized and working together. You will need a stop watch of some kind.

Invite everyone to walk around the room, make sure they are walking into all of the space in the room. Now ask them to freeze. Tell the group to remember exactly where they are in the room. Tell them that when you say go you want them to do he following..

  • Touch two different walls.

  • Touch something green and something blue but not an item of someone’s

    clothing.

  • Shake hands with three different people.

  • Return to where they started

    Record their time on a stopwatch and only stop when the last person has returned to where they started. When everyone returns to their spot give them their time. At this point ask the group if they think that as a group they could do it faster?: How can they make the journey more efficient? Continue to repeat the journey and encourage them to share ideas to make the journey quicker. Continue the exercise until the group feel they can no longer improve on their time.

    Grandmas Footsteps

    Every one stand at one end of the room. I need one volunteer. Get a volunteer before you explain the next part of the exercise, we will assume the volunteer is called Joe. Ok now Joe is going to be standing at this end of the room with her back to you, she is gong to be grandma. When i say go you have to creep up on joe and touch her gently on the shoulder, if you do this you win. However Joe can turn round every 2-3 seconds and if she catches you moving she can send you back to the start, where you have to start over again. Ok is everyone ready? Go!

    You may need to act as second referee just to make sure people are playing fairly and Joe is giving at least 2-3 seconds before she turns round. When someone wins then swap them into the role of grandma.
    Grandmas Footsteps with Obstacles

    Play Grandmas footsteps as above and then add obstacles such as costumes on the floor and some chairs. Now before they get to grandma they have to put on a costume and step over the chair. This makes the game much more theatrical and people have to work harder not to get caught.

    Grandmas Footsteps with Keys

    For this exercise you will need a bunch of keys or something else that rattles. The game is played as above but with the following added.
    The keys are going to be directly behind grandma. The group now have to creep up on grandma as before, and as before if she catches them moving they go back to the start. However now the objective is to get the keys. When they have the keys they must pass them back to the start and put them on the chair at the other end of the room. Once they have the keys if grandma turns round they have to freeze. Grandma then gets on guess at who has the keys. If she guesses incorrectly they carry on until she turns again, if she guesses correctly everyone goes back to the start, the keys go back on the floor behind grandma and they start again. The keys must remain in hands at all times and they must not pass the keys when grandma has turned round.

Point of view circle

This is a great drama game for encouraging groups to behave more empathically, to consider other points of view and to think more philosophically. You will need a co-worker for this exercise and a group of at least six people.
Invite the group to stand in a circle. Your co-worker will stand in the middle of the circle with their hands by their sides, they will need to stand still. Go round the circle and ask every member of the group to tell you how many hands ears and eyes of the co-worker they can see. find two people with different views to repeat how many eyes, ears and hands they see. As the facilitator of this exercise you need to act as a provocateur. Try to explore the exercise by asking who is right. People will say that everyone is right. Ask them how they know that the person across the circle is correct. They may say that they have seen the co-worker before. Explore how past experience can influence our pinions on things. Ask what people have to do in life if they want to see things from a different perspective. This conversation can be as long or short as you want. The main aim of the exercise is to highlight how if you want to see the full picture you must see things from many points of view.
If you wish to take this exercise further you can take your co-worker out of the circle and replace them with a particular issue such as animal testing. Now ask the group what different arguments for or against animal testing people might have. It is important to avoid asking what their own opinions are but to keep things philosophical. When each person has identified an argument relating to the issue ask them to right that down on a piece of paper and put it in front of them. Now invite each member of the group to make their case for that particular argument. When you have done this. Ask people to swap round to different places in the circle, and make the case for the argument in that place.

Paper Not Floor

Place several sheets of paper on the floor, flip chart paper is best and there should be enough so the whole group can stand on the paper comfortably.
Invite everyone to stand around the paper. Give the instruction 'Everyone must be in contact with the paper and not the floor' .

When the group have found a solution (usually they all stand on the paper) take away a sheet of paper, repeat the instruction 'Everyone must be in contact with the paper and not the floor'.
Again remove a sheet of paper. Continue as above and after a while the group will no longer all be able to fit on the paper. They will then have to find new solutions. Reward every solution as long as it is viable but continue to remove more aper each time. Eventually you will be left with one sheet which you can begin to tear into smaller and smaller pieces. I have played this where the piece of paper is the size of a pin head and the group can still find solutions!

Pulse Train

You will need a coin preferably a large one such as a two pence or fifty pence. You need at least a group of eight to play this game.
Split the group into two teams with same number of people on each team. Team A take a chair, line up next to each other and sit down. Team B do exactly the same but sitting opposite, facing Team B about two feet away from them.

Place a chair at both ends of the rows facing in so the chairs should now be in a long rectangle. At one end place a tea cloth or something similar such as a scarf, in the middle of the chair. You sit at the opposite end in between the two players.
Everyone needs to be holding the hand of the person next to them. Everyone except the people sitting next to you must have their eyes closed. Flip the coin and reveal it so both people sitting next to you can see it. If it lands on heads they have to squeeze the hand of the person next to them who will then squeeze the hand of the person next to them until it reaches the end of the row. The person at the end of the row then has to grab the cloth, whoever gets the cloth first wins a point for their team. If they win a point everyone stands up and moves round one chair. The winning team are the first to move all the way round to their original chair.
If the coin lands on they must not send a squeeze. If they do and they get the cloth the point is awarded to the opposite team. The game must be played in silence, so if they make a mistake and shout stop you give a point to the opposite team.

The Juggling Game

In this game you will need around 10 pairs of rolled up socks (or juggling balls, but socks are better) and at least 6 group members. Invite the group to stand in a circle with their hands by their sides. Take one pair of socks (rolled up together) and throw it across the circle to the person opposite, that person then throws it across the circle to someone else, it is best if they try to avoid throwing to the person next to them. When they have thrown the socks they must cross their arms so no one else can throw the socks to them. Eventually the socks will come back to you. You now have a set pattern of throwing and catching. Just to check people remember the pattern repeat as above. Now continue the pattern but without people crossing their arms. Gradually add more socks into the pattern until people are working quite hard. If things get really out of control you can pause while socks are collected. At some point during the game you can add the reverse rule. Tell the group that when you say reverse they have to change direction so the person they where throwing to will now be throwing to them.

This drama game can be really useful to explore issues around staying focused in high pressure situations.

Trust Pairs

You will need a group of at least 4 people. Divide the group into pairs. Ask the pairs to decide who will be A and who will be B. The aim of the game is for A to lead B around the room. B will have their eyes closed at all times, they can open their eyes if they feel unsafe, but they should try and keep them closed. A must place their hand out in front of them and B must place their hand on top of A's hand. There is no need for any holding of hands it is up to B to stay in contact with A. Explain that A should try to keep B safe at all times. The game should be played in silence as much as possible. As the facilitator you must keep an eye on all pairs and be ready to say stop if someone is in danger. After A has led B around the room for 1 minute then they can swap and B can lead A.

As with all exercises that involve closing eyes, we would not recommend using blindfolds. The person with their eyes closed must feel they are in control of when they open and close their eyes. The exercise should build trust NOT fear and anxiety.
You can follow this exercise with a discussion about what you need to trust someone.

Trust Circle

You will need a group of at least 6 people for this game. Invite the group to stand in a circle. One person stands in the middle of the circle and closes their eyes. With their eyes closed, gently turn them around, point them in the direction of someone on the edge of the circle then give them a gentle tap on their shoulder to send them on their way. The people on the edge of the circle must keep the person in the middle safe. If they are walking towards them they must stop them by gently resting both hands on their shoulders then turn them, point them in the direction of someone else and send them on their way with a gentle tap on the shoulder.
Allow the exercise to run for 1 minute then stop and invite someone else to have a go in the middle.
As with all exercises that involve closing eyes, we would not recommend using blindfolds. The person with their eyes closed must feel they are in control of when they open and close their eyes. The exercise should build trust NOT fear and anxiety.

Obstacle Course

You will need a group of at least 6 people and a reasonably large room. Ask everyone in the group to create a obstacle course by placing chairs, tables and any other objects they can find, in the centre of the room. The room should look like there has just been a riot. Get your group into pairs and ask them to decide who will be A and who will be B. The pairs will stand at opposite ends of the room. One pair at a time will guide each other through the obstacle course. A will stand at one end and B will stand at the other. A will have their eyes closed. B will give verbal instructions that allow A to navigate the obstacle course without bumping into anything. A must stay at the opposite end of the course and can only guide using verbal instructions. Each pair gets three lives, if they bump into something more than three times they must return to the start. Only allow one pair to go at once. When everyone has been then swap round.

As with all exercises that involve closing eyes, we would not recommend using blindfolds. The person with their eyes closed must feel they are in control of when they open and close their eyes. The exercise should build trust NOT fear and anxiety.

Performance and Improvisation Games

All of the following games are great for developing performance and improvisation skills.

What are you doing?

Invite everyone to stand in a circle. In this exercise one person will stand in the middle and mime a particular action. demonstrate by miming a action such as digging a hole. While miming this action the next person in the circle will come in and say 'What are you doing?'. The person in the middle will then respond by saying something completely different to the action they are miming. So for instance they might say 'brushing my teeth'. That person then has to start miming the action of brushing their teeth. The first person then returns to the circle and the next person round steps into the middle and asks 'What are you doing?', and so the game continues until you have gone the whole way around the circle at which point you go back in the other direction. The person in the middle has to keep the mime going until they have answered the question 'What are you doing?'. I would recommend that you ban any sexual, toilet or violent mimes, particularly if you are working with young or vulnerable groups.

123

Invite everyone to get into pairs and stand opposite each other. One person says one then the other person says two then the first person says three, then the second person says one and so it continues. Give a little demonstration with your co-worker or a member of the group. Give the group 2 minutes doing this. Now instruct the pairs to do the same thing but replace the number 2 with a clap, so now it goes 1 clap 3. Go for another 2 mins. The next step is to change the number 1 for a little jump. So now it goes Jump Clap 3. Allow another 2 mins. Now instruct the pairs to change the number 3 for a action and a noise of there choice. This time when everyone has practiced go round and get each pair to run their sequence in front of everyone else. Don't let it run for two long literally 20 seconds is more than enough, and make sure each pair gets a round of applause.

The Clapping Game

This is a great game for developing audience interaction skills, and works particularly well with mask.
Everyone makes an audience at that end of the room. One person will volunteer to go out of the room. When they are out, decide on a practical task you want them to perform. This might be something like picking up a chair, moving it to the centre of the room and then sitting on it. However the thing is they don't know what it is they have to do and the only way the group can help them is by clapping. They clap more if they are doing well and clap less if they are doing badly.

Park Bench

This is a great improvisation exercise. You will need two or three chairs to represent a bench.
Everyone form a audience sitting opposite this bench. Two people will come up at a time person A will be sitting on the bench. Person B has to get person A off the bench. They can do this in any way except by physically touching them or by using any threats such as 'If you don't get of the bench I am going to kill you'. Person B only has to leave if they feel that whatever A is doing would make them leave. However if the audience feel that person B should leave but they are refusing to then they can vote them off. They do this by slowly raising their hands in the air.

Giants Wizards Dwarfs

This game is great for developing physical performance in a fun and energetic way. You will need a good size space and ideally at least a group of 8 people and you can play with much more. Start by dividing the group into two teams.
Before you can play this game you need to teach some specific moves.The first move is the Giant. To be a giant you stand up straight and march on the spot saying the words fee fi fo fum. Demonstrate this to the group. Practice the move all together. The next move is the dwarf. To be a dwarf you crouch down, make little horns on your head using your fingers and say me me me me in a high pitched voice. Demonstrate and practice that together. Now the final move is the wizard. The wizard stands with feet wide apart, knees slightly bent and points forward saying the word shazam! Demonstrate and practice the wizard and practice the others as well. Each team will go to opposite sides of the room and decide which move they are going to use. You will need to explain that giants beat dwarfs, wizards beat giants and dwarfs beat wizards. When each team has decided which move they are going to use - everyone in the team must use the same move- they come up to the centre of the room and face the opposing team. When you say go they must do their move. The team with the winning move chases after their opponents and tags them. If they tag them before they get back to the wall at their end of the room they join their team. If they get back to their wall without being tagged they are safe. The winning team is the team with the largest number of people after five rounds.
You can adapt the moves in this exercise to anything you want...

Alphabet Conversations

Thisgame is great for keeping concentration in a scene and developing stories. Divide your group into pairs, if the numbers are odd you can have one group of three. The two or three people must have a conversation with each other, the person that starts must start their first line with a word beginning with the letter A, the next person responds with a line that starts with the letter B and so on all the way through the alphabet. It obviously gets more difficult as it goes on because some letters are harder than others and people have to concentrate on what letter comes next.
It is important in this exercise that each person gives enough information in their line so the next person has something to respond to. One word answers are not very helpful. Encourage people to stay in the moment even if they cant think of a line. They should try to find some physical business to attend to such as looking out the window or doing the washing up. This will keep the scene alive and add some drama to it.

Interview in Reverse

This game is based a two ronnies scene.
Create a stage area and invite two people to come up into the space. One person is the interviewer one is the expert who is being interviewed. Decide on a subject that the interviewee is an expert in. The interview starts with the interviewer saying something like 'thank you and good night'. The interview now runs in reverse so the expert always gives an answer and then the interviewer asks a question that may have led to the answer just given. Encourage participants to play with each other and make it difficult. This is a great drama game for developing listening skills.

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