ENERGY is the intensity a student brings to learning and performance. At times, an actor will use different levels of energy to create different performance dynamics. Starting with an Energy activity engages students and equips them with an important acting skill so they can harness and direct their Energy to achieve their best.

Connect Three

Two students are selected as the hunter and hunted. The rest of the students form groups of three and place their groups at random somewhere in the space (standing next to each other in a line shoulder to shoulder). The game begins by the hunter chasing the hunted to try and tag them. The hunted must try and escape by running away weaving between the groups or connecting to the end of one of the group’s lines whilst yelling ‘connect three’. If this is the case, the person on the other end of the line dislodged and becomes the new hunted. If the hunted gets tagged by the hunter, they then become the ‘new hunter’ and the original hunter must now try and escape as the hunted.

Zip Zap Zop

Students stand in a circle. Students pass an imaginary ball of energy around the circle by clapping their hands and either saying Zip, Zap or Zop. Zip sends the energy to the left. Zap sends then energy to the right. Zop reverses the action. A selected student starts who must say Zip. The person to their left can either choose to say zip to pass it to the next person to the left or say Zop to reverse it. If they say Zop the original starting person receives the energy and now must say Zap to move the energy in the new direction. The energy must be delivered with volume, speed, and energy. If a person gets confused, they are out.

Musical Chairs

A dramatic twist on the familiar children’s party game Musical Chairs. The only difference is in this variation is the addition of a leader. The teacher nominates a student to be the leader. When the music begins, the leader is to decide which direction the circle will move in and how physically each student is to move e.g. crawling on the floor, skipping backwards, spinning in circles, etc. The way they move could be emotional states (e.g. joyously) or characters (e.g. cowboys). All participants follow the lead of the leader until the music stops and the race to be seated begins. The eliminated student becomes the new leader.

Stuck in the Mud

One or two people are selected as being ‘in’ (that is depending on the size of the class and the playing space). They must chase the people that are not ‘in’ and tag them. When they have tagged another student that person is ‘stuck in the mud’. They stand with legs and arms out and they cannot move. The only way to release them is if another person who is not stuck goes between the student’s legs that is stuck to free them.


Students walk around the room with their arms crossed. The teacher yells out a random number – for example 4. Students then form a group of that number and sit down. Any student who does not have a group is eliminated and any group who sits down who has more or less then the number called is also eliminated.

Variation – Once in their groups students then form a freeze frame from a stimulus given by the teacher.

Variation – Give students ways of walking. For example: through mud, backwards, in slow motion, as a toddler, etc.

Variation – Clump together using parts of the body. For example, 6 elbows (which could be a group from anywhere between 3 to 6) or “right knee to right knee” or “index finger to someone else’s shoulder”.

Zombie Tiggy

Students use their own names throughout the game so before you start, ensure that all double ups are given one clear name (last names or nicknames are the best). Student A starts as the Zombie. They must choose and chase one student (a ‘brain’) and tag them. The best way for the ‘brain’ to escape the zombie is to call another classmate’s name. When this happens, the zombie chasing the ‘brain’ is no longer it and a new Zombie is up. When the student hears their name called they become the new zombie and the game continues. If the ‘brain’ is tagged by the zombie without calling another name, their brain has been eaten and they are out. Once there are only two people left – use a shoot off (back to back, the teacher counts to 3, and then on 3 the students turn around and shoot each other) to decide the number one, best brain eating zombie!

Pip, Squeak and Wilfred

The students stand in two lines back to back, down the centre of the area. The teacher gives each student a name: Pip, Squeak or Wilfred. The Teacher calls out one of the names, for example, “Pip”. All the Pips must run around the outside of the group in a clockwise direction. The students keep running around the outside of the group until the teacher calls out “home” and on that signal, all the Pips must return to their original position. They are not allowed to change direction (even if they are close to their home place) or cut through the group. The last student to reach home is out. They are to sit on the floor in their original place. As the students run around the group, the teacher can also call out “change” which is a signal start running in the opposite direction. The teacher could call out two names at a time, or “all friends in” to get them all moving. With smaller groups, just use two names – Pip and Squeak. Towards the end, as the group is getting smaller, give the remaining students a new name to make sure there are a couple of Pips, a couple of Squeaks etc. The final student standing is the winner.

Genre Corners

Before the game starts the teacher labels the 4 corners of the playing space A through to D. At the beginning of each round the teacher chooses a genre and the students must spontaneously think of a character or object from that genre and move around the space as that noun. For example, the genre could be western and the students could move around as a tumble weed, cactus, cowboy, outlaw, horse, sheriff’s badge, etc. The teacher could also request the students say a line of dialogue or make a sound. The teacher then yells out stop and the students must run to one of the 4 corners. Without looking, the teacher randomly calls out one of the corners and all those students standing there are consequently eliminated. The next round starts with a new theme and the game continues until there is one student left who is the winner.

Don’t Touch the Chair

Students stand in a circle and hold hands. A chair is placed in the center of the circle. The objective of the game is to try and pull the other players towards the chair, so they are forced to touch it. If a player touches the chair they are out. If two players let go of each other’s hands they are both out. Once a player or pair of players are eliminated they are removed from then circle and play restarts.

Variation: To make it harder you can add more chairs and increase the complexity by all stating that any player who passes over the chair or players whose joined hands pass over the chair are out.

Ishi-Mishi, Whoosh, Fling!

There are many variations of this and everyone has their own way to play. Here is one. Students stand in a circle and the teacher explains that a movement and sound is going to be passed as imaginary of energy around the circle. The objective of the game is to make your offer/movement as energetic as possible and to execute the movement in the right direction. When ‘whoosh’ is called, students face their bodies clockwise and throw both hands out in front at torso height exclaiming “whoosh”. This action needs to be fast and full of life. The next student copies this or offers one of the other three moves doing them as energetically as possible and in the right direction. When ‘lshi-Mishi’ is called, students must face their bodies anti-clockwise, bend their right knee and create pistol­ like shapes with both hands while shaking their hips on the spot, releasing an enthusiastic “lshi­ Mishi’. At any point, a student can choose to say “fling” which is when they clasp their hands together in a point or prayer-like manner towards another person. The activity should play out so that one of three actions is called each time as energetically as possible. The teacher has the authority to eliminate a student if they are not putting in enough energy.

Variation – alternative movements/sounds can be added like ‘boing’ with a lasso movement to swap places with another person or ‘flip’ with a basketball dunking motion to skip the next player.


The students tuck a scarf or material strip into the back of their shorts. The “tail” should reach to the back of their knees and not be tucked into their pants in such a way it can’t be pulled out. They stand in a circle holding hands. The teacher shouts “go” and it is a free for all as students try to protect their own tail while grabbing others. Students are not allowed to hold their tail with their hand, sit on it on purpose or use the wall to protect their tail. Once a student loses their tail they are out and move to the side of the space with their dislodged tail. The last remaining player is the winner.

Variation: If a student loses their tail they are out unless they have a spare one (taken from someone else).  

Variation: When there are about 3-5 students left have them count their ‘tails’. The person with the most ‘tails’ is the winner of that round.

Variation: When there is one last player standing all players count their ‘tails’. The person with the most ‘tails’ is the winner of that round.

Emergency Room Tiggy

The teacher nominates one student to be “in” whose aim is to try and tag the other students. The other students run freely around the space trying to escape. If a student is tagged they can apply a “band aid”, otherwise known as their right hand, to the part of the body where they were tagged. They continue to play but mustn’t move their hand. Once they are tagged a second time they can apply their left hand to their second tagged body part. They are now running with a major handicap. On the third time they are tagged they are eliminated and moved to the side of the space. The game play continues until there is one person left who is the winner. Depending on the perimeters of the space and number of students you might select 2 people to be in so the pace of the game is faster.

Daily Disco Dance Inferno

Students spread out in the space. Give the class a daily routine e.g. making/eating toast, brushing their teeth, cleaning the car, getting dressed, etc which can be repeated. Tell them you are going to yell out the numbers 1 through to 10 and each time you increase the number they must exaggerate the action by 10%. Exaggeration should be seen through the entire body and by the time you have reached 10 the daily activity should not be recognisable. Place some disco music on and get all students to start the action miming to realistically at level 1. Then proceed to yell out the numbers.

Variation – Each student chooses a different action or is given a card with a different action. At the end get the students to perform their level 10 and see if the other students can guess what the original activity was.

Alphabet Relay

Divide the class into groups – the larger the groups the more difficult the game. In their teams, the students will race using their bodies to create the letters of the alphabet on the floor. The letters need to be 2D, incorporate all group members, be upper case and be able to be read from where the teacher is standing. They must create the letters in alphabetical order. They can not move onto the next letter until the teacher has approved the previous. The group which reaches “Z” first is the winner.

Lamb & Fox

The teacher randomly selects a student to be the Fox and one to be the Lamb. The rest of the students stand in a circle with their hands joined leaving a gap. The Fox stands on the outside of the circle. The teacher selects one student, who is standing in the circle to be the Lamb. The Fox’s objective is to try and tag the Lamb by running around the outside of the circle and through the gap. At no point is the Fox allowed to break through the circle – they can only use the gap. The class’ objective is to keep the Lamb safe from the Fox by rotating the circle without letting go of their hands. Once the Lamb is tagged by the Fox the game is over and the teacher selects a new Lamb and Fox. If the teacher wanted to make the game more competitive, they could keep a record of how long each Fox took to tag the Lamb and compare the times at the end.

Fish In The Net

Two students start as being “in” and are the net which is represented by them holding hands. The rest of the students are the fish. The net’s objective is to work together to tag the fish using their free hands (not those which are joined together). The fish’s objective is to escape the net and being tagged. If a fish is tagged, then they join on to the end of the net and become the new person who is trying to tag the fish with their free hand. As the net gets bigger communication will be the key to try and use the length of the line to trap the free untagged players. At no point can the net break – if it does then the game is over, and the remaining fish are the winners. The fish cannot go through the net and can only run around it. If they do, they are to join the net.  

Watch Tower

One student is enrolled as the guard, blindfolded, given a torch, and is placed in the centre of the space. The rest of the students are the escaped prisoners. The game starts and the lights are turned off. The game is played in complete silence. The prisoners must move around the space and cannot touch the guard. The guard may say freeze at any time and the prisoners must freeze, and the guard may turn on the torch and point it in the direction where they think there is a prisoner. If any part of the prisoner’s body is in the beam of light, they are out. If a prisoner is still moving after the guard says freeze, they are out. Once prisoners are removed the torch is turned off and play resumes. Give your guard a reasonable number of strikes (perhaps 3) to prevent them from continuously turning on the torch and guessing.

This isn’t a _____ it’s a ______.

Arrange the students in a circle. Place an object in the centre of the circle. Direct students to focus on the object, imagining how they could manipulate the object with mime to become something else entirely. One at a time, each student should step into the circle, pick up the object and declare “This isn’t a [name of object], it’s a…” followed by miming an action that transforms the object. The object of the game is for the students standing in the circle to suspend their belief and guess what the object has now become. Objects could be a sheet, chair, ruler etc.

Mary Poppins’ Bag

Students stand in a circle and an empty box is placed in the middle. One at a time the students are going to walk into the circle and pull a mimed object out of the box and use it. The other students yell out what they think the object is. Once it is guessed correctly the student re-joins the circle and it’s the next person’s turn. Students cannot repeat objects, no sound, no stalling, and the object must be easily guessed. If they break one of these 4 rules, then they are out and sit down. 

Toddler Teddy Bear Tiggy

Divide the class into 4 equal teams who start in opposite corners of the room. One group is given a teddy bear (or something soft and similar in size, e.g. a ball). The aim of the game is for your team to have possession of the teddy bear and to communicate and work with their group to achieve that. Students can’t take steps when they have the teddy bear, and they can’t hold onto it for more than 3 seconds. The teddy bear must be thrown to another team member who is standing at least two meters away. Other teams can snag the teddy bear mid throw but can’t grab it out of someone’s hand. As a teacher keep track of how many possessions each team has with the teddy bear and the team with the most at the end of the game wins. Alternatively, you can place a timer with an alarm on with a random time (e.g. 38 seconds, 146 seconds etc.) hidden from view and once the timer rings the team holding the teddy bear is the winner.   

Name Tag

Much like normal tag, the objective is to last as long as possible in the game. One player is ‘it’ and must tag and eliminate as many players as possible while ‘it’. However, if being chased by the player ‘it’, then a ‘victim’ can call another players name, to change who is ‘it’, once another name is called that player becomes ‘it’. So, every-time a name is called the roles change. Last person standing wins! It’s a high energy game, great for being ensemble awareness and focus.

Variation 1 – We also sometimes play in teams (same rules) last team standing wins!

Streets and Alleys

Place the class into a grid (e.g. 4 lines of 4 students in each line) and have them face you in their lines with their arms outstretched so their fingers are touching the person beside them. This is the street position. Then get them to all to make a ¼ turn with their hands still outstretched. This is the alley position. Another 2 students are selected as the starting cop and robber (or cat and mouse). Have them start in opposite corners of the grid which will be in the alley position. The cop’s objective is to tag the robber and the robber’s objective is to escape the cop. At any point the teacher can yell for the grid to change position (for example from alley to street) to which they respond by making a ¼ turn. The cat and mouse cannot cut through a line they must run around. Once tagged give another pair the chance to play the cop and robber.

Yes Let’s

Start by having the students spread out around the room. The teacher gives a command for example “I know…let’s jump on the spot” to which everyone says, “Yes let’s” and do the action of jumping on the spot. The “I know…let’s…” command can be anything and themed to the unit of work you are studying – for example “I know…let’s be pirate steering a ship out of a storm” or more open like “I know…let’s go on an adventure”. The more energetic the better. All students must go along with it no matter how crazy it is.   

Variation – older students who are familiar with the activity will be able to offer their own suggestions for the spontaneous activities.

Dog & Bone

Split the group in two with one group on each side of the playing area along a line. Place a ball/beanbag (the bone) in the middle of the playing area. Each team must be numbered 1 to 12 (change this depending on group size). The instructor shouts a number and the two people with that number (on opposite teams) must try to get the bone before the other one. When one gets the bone, the other can try to tag them before they get back to their team line. The team scores points depending on how many times they manage to get the bone. You can mix it up by choosing different numbers on each team to go against each other.

Energy Ball

The students start by standing in a circle. In this activity the students pass a mimed ball round the circle as energetically as possible. Students are encouraged to make sound effects to accompany the action. The teacher begins by yelling out which ball it is and then passes it to a random student somewhere in the circle. The type of ball will dictate how it is passed and caught. So, for example a tennis ball could be hit with a mimed racket and caught with a hand. Encourage the use of creativity in the passing and catching along with lots of energy and sound effects. At any juncture the teacher can yell out a new ball to be passed.

Variation – any object can now be passed. It can be conventional like a frisbee or unconventional like a motor bike.