A note about improv: These games are great team builders, but they also can be tough games for groups to play. Group improv is an art that takes time to master. Also, when doing improv, anything can happen because you don't have a script. Be sure to watch for appropriateness when you are playing these games.
Here are some fun improv games to try with your group!
Who Am I, and What Am I Feeling?
In this game, the leader has made two sets of index cards in advance. One set of index cards has occupations written on them, and the other set has different feelings. Each person in the group pulls one index card from each set and then proceeds to act out a character that combines the two different words (without telling the audience). The audience then tries to guess what the two words are.
Materials: Index cards with occupations and feelings written on them
The Ball Knows All
The group sits in a circle with a ball. The leader begins by "giving life" to the ball by giving an action or adjective to describe the ball. For example, you could begin by saying the ball is "heavy." Then, the group passes the ball around the circle. Each person must act like the ball is heavy as it is being passed around. Invite players to change the life of the ball by giving other descriptive actions or adjectives. Some ideas of other actions or adjectives could be: on fire, light, feels like needles, thinks you're cute, causes you to cry, etc. Get creative! This game has the potential for getting everyone involved.
What Are You Doing?
Split the group into two teams. Have each team form a line on an opposite end of the room. At the start of the game, have the first person from each line walk to the middle of the room. One person begins doing an action. The second person responds by asking "What are you doing?" The first person then responds to the questions with an action opposite of the one he or she is doing. For example, Player 1 and Player 2 approach each other. Player 1 begins to brush their teeth. Player 2 asks, "What are you doing?" Player 1 responds by saying something else, like "Mowing the lawn." Player 2 then must begin doing that action. Player 1 goes to the back of their line, and the next person at the front of that line moves forward. The game continues back and forth between the two teams. This game can be very silly!
Give the group a mundane, everyday task (for example, washing dishes, cleaning a shower, etc.). The goal of the group is to turn this activity into a ritual. Encourage the group to use movement, words, chanting, song, etc. This game can also get really silly, and is a great one to help get participants out of their comfort zones. This is also a more advanced-level game.
For more improv game ideas, and for more ideas on how you can use improv and skits in your youth ministry, check out the book Instant Skits: Using Improv to Create Memorable Moments in Ministry by Eddie James and Tommy Woodard (Zondervan/Youth Specialites, 2005). These two actors, collectively known as "The Skit Guys," also have a lot of good resources for improv on their website, http://www.skitguys.com/.
Check back on the blog next week for some more youth group games!