I’d Buy That!

I’d Buy That!

In this game groups of participants will work together to advertise for an imaginary product.  To begin, break the participants up into groups of 3 to 5.  One group will make the advertisement at a time, the other participants can be observers.  Get a suggestion from the observers or have an idea prepared.  For example a peace maker, a never empty water well, etc.

Tell them they are the creative team and need to inform the public about all that it can do.  Encourage participants to build on the last thing that was said by using the phrase “Yes and…”  For example:

Sidecoach: You are the creative team of advertisers for the peace maker.  Tell us all about what it can do!

Person 1: Well our peace maker allows people to see similarities between themselves and others.

Person 2: Yes and it has a built in mediator when there is a disagreement.

Person 3: It can find land for everyone to live on.

Sidecoach: Say “Yes and…”

Person 4: Yes and it can find land for everyone to live one.

In reverence, talk about what they were selling and how it would help.  If this thing existed would it help or hurt?  Would it use resources well?  What was it like adding to someone else’s ideas?  Did it make the product better?

Adapted from:

McKnight, Katherine S., and Mary Scruggs. The Second City Guide to Improv in the Classroom: Using Improvisation to Teach Skills and Boost Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008. Print.


Great for the themes of: Economy, Vocation, Common Ground, Creativity, Imagination, and Grace.

Steered Story

Steered Story

To begin this exercise divide the participants into groups of 5 to 8.  One group will go at a time with the others being observers.  Members of the group should stand in a semi-circle facing the sidecoach and observers.  Make sure it isn’t a line, but a semi-circle.  This allows the participants to see and listen to one another better.

The side coach will ask for or provide a topic for the story.  Once the topic is chosen, the sidecoach will sit on the floor in front of the semi-circle.  The sidecoach will point to one person who will start the story.  When that person has told a portion of the story, the sidecoach will signal that person to stop while pointing to another person in the line.  That person will pick up the story without hesitating, even if it was in the middle of a sentence or word.  Go through until each person has gone about twice.

In reverence, talk about what it was like making the story.  Was it a good story?  Did it have a beginning, middle and end?  How did the story change or stay the same between people?

Adapted from:

McKnight, Katherine S., and Mary Scruggs. The Second City Guide to Improv in the Classroom: Using Improvisation to Teach Skills and Boost Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2008. Print.


Great for the themes of: Myth, the sources, Creativity, Imagination, and scripture.

The Everything Ball

The Everything Ball

This is a basic imagination, creativity and mime game. Before the exercise prepare by getting used to miming a ball that can be changed.  As the sidecoach you should be well acquainted with some of the mime before you teach it to others.  Begin by getting the participants into a circle or surround the space.  Tell them that you are going to give them an amazing gift.  An Everything Ball.  Take the everything ball out of your pocket or out of an empty bag.  Explain that this is your everything ball and that it is amazing because it can be anything and everything.  Take a moment to rip off a small piece of your ball and give it to each of the participants.  Asking them to hold out their hand to receive it.

Try not to use the words imagine or pretend.  It should be as if the ball was a thing that really existed and it is not a question.  Here are some things you can do with your ball to start:

Sidecoach:      Let’s make our ball the size of a tennis ball.  You will need to stretch it from the piece I gave you.

                        Let’s throw our ball up in the air and catch it.

                        Let’s bounce our ball on the ground.

                        Let’s make our ball the size of a beach ball.  Bounce it up in the air on your hand.

                        Now our ball is as heavy as a bowling ball.  Wow that is heavy.  Now it feels like a small boulder.  Remember to lift with your legs.

Once you have gone through some basics of the ball you can begin to make it into anything that fits your purpose.  For example:

Sidecoach:      Let’s make our ball into a hammer to build a new home for someone that needs it.  Use your hammer.

                        Let’s make our ball into sandbags to stop a flood.  Stack your sandbags.

                        Let’s make our ball into a machine that will end hunger.

                        Let’s make our ball into something that make bad actions good ones.

And so on for as many as you would like.  Make sure at the end of the exercise participants put their Everything Ball into their own pocket or bag to take with them.

In reverence, talk about the power of the Everything Ball.  What other problems could it fix?  Do you have a visible tool that you could use?

Adapted from:

Spolin, Viola. Theater Games for the Classroom: A Teacher’s Handbook. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1986. Print.


Great for the themes of: Imagination, Creativity, Justice, Ultimacy, Salvation, Preparation, Divinity, and Evil.

Seeing as the Divine

Seeing through Object-Seeing as the Divine

In this exercise, participants will get to imagine themselves as the divine looking at and through the world.  Begin by explaining that as a UU we believe that anyone can be an example of the divine and that a divine sight is available to them.  To start the exercise, you may want to have the participants look through a nearby window and describe what they see.  This is a nice warm up.  Once they have the idea you can expand the idea further.  For example:

Sidecoach: Alright, let’s begin by reaching out with our sight to somewhere you know well.  Take your sight through the walls and to the outside.  I want you to take your sight down the streets all the way to your house.  Think about what you see on your way home.  What does it look like outside?  Who is on the street?

Go through the walls of your home and look around.  What does your house look like?  Is there anyone there?  What are they doing there?


You can visit many different places and situations.  Here are some places they could take their sight:

A friend’s house

Somewhere that is experiencing a social injustice (definitely talk about the people there)

To someone that is sad, happy, elated, in pain, in grief, etc.

Somewhere that a person is helping.

There are many more options.  In reverence, talk about what it was like to have divine sight.  Did seeing something make them want to take action?  How did they feel?  Etc.

Adapted from:

Spolin, Viola. Theater Games for the Classroom: A Teacher’s Handbook. Evanston, IL: Northwestern UP, 1986. Print.


Great for the themes of: Divinity, Imagination, and Justice

The Future Machine

The Future Machine. This is game you have probably played before, but with a few tweaks.  The games is basically human machine.  However, for this variation you will need to give each participant a piece of blank paper and a marker.  Explain they will have exactly two minutes to design a fantastical machine that will solve a big problem.  Water shortage, poverty, homelessness, etc.  They will need to choose a problem and then draw a schematic for the future machine.  Tell them to use their imaginations.  I often do this with K-1 kids and they come up with the coolest stuff.  Tell them to think in that realm.  Once the two minutes is up, explain that now they will be the foreman and build this machine out of the people in the room.  You may need to split the participants into groups.  Also explain that each piece must move and make a noise.  The foreman will explain their machine to the group and then build it and start it up.  Try to get through as many people as possible.

Adapted from:

Rohd, Michael. Theatre for Community, Conflict & Dialogue: The Hope Is Vital Training Manual. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1998. Print.


Great for the themes of: Imagination, Justice, Peace, Preparation, and Vision.

What are you doing?

What are you doing? To begin this game, separate the larger group into groups of 5-10.  They will need to be in a circle.  Explain that they will be using mime to create solutions to big problems.  The first person in the circle begins to mime an action to solve a big problem.  The next person in the circle asks “What are you doing?”  The person miming gives that person an action that would solve a problem.  The second person now begins to mime that action.  The third person in the circle now asks “What are you doing?”  and the game moves around the circle in this way.  For example:

Person 1: Begins miming building a house for the homeless

Person 2: What are you doing?

Person 1: I am finding water for someone that has none.

Person 2: Begins miming finding water.

Person 3: What are you doing?

Person 2: Giving someone who needs it a hug.

Person 3: Begins miming hugging.

And so on around the circle.  It might behoove you to play a round doing normal actions to get them in the mode of mime.  Things like baking a cake, brushing teeth, playing soccer, etc.


Great for the themes of: Compassion, Creativity, Imagination, Justice, and Preparation.