From: 101 MORE Drama Games and Activities

Age: 7 to adult
Players: Whole Group/Small Groups
Time: 10 minutes
Skills: Mime, Characterisation

Groups have just a few seconds to make comical family tableaux

  • Scroll down to see the online and socially-distanced versions

In this game, small groups have just a few seconds to create funny family portraits by striking interesting poses. Everyone gets into groups of about five or six, spread around the space. Explain that you are going to call out the name of a type of family and each group has to create a freeze-frame of that family in just five seconds. They should try to include different age-groups including children, adults and grandparents.

Call out the name of a family from the list below and count down from five to zero. Ask everybody to hold the freeze for a few moments so that you can look at all the portraits and then invite one or two groups to show what they’ve done.

Once the players have got the hang of the game, try out a few more – and make up some families of your own. The tableaux are bound to be amusing, so you can ask groups to share what they came up with.

Director’s Tip

Encourage the players to look at what other people in their group are doing so that they make contrasting characters, show different expressions and use varying levels to make an interesting stage picture (it’s amazing what you can achieve in just a few seconds).

After a few rounds, ask the groups to devise their own families for the rest of the class to guess. They should try to show the relationships between characters and may even include pets!

Online Version

Use Zoom or other video-conferencing software. Explain the game and then ask everyone to play at once. Call out the first type of family and after a count of five seconds, everyone should strike a pose. Highlight some good examples by asking individuals to repeat what they did. Find out if players managed to portray different family members (babies, children, parents, grandparents, pets).

Try another family type but this time also call out a family member, such as grandparent or pet, so that everyone plays the same member of the family, for example ‘robot grandparent’ or ”baby spy’.

Now select a group of five students and call out a family type for them to make (e.g. Dinosaur Family). They should keep an eye on what the others in the family are doing, so that there are a variety of family members and ages.

Rinse and repeat with other groups, seeing who can make the funniest, most unusual or grotesque characters.

Social Distancing

Play with a group at a time and ensure that the players are at least 2 metres apart. They should try to make a variety of family members and ages as indicated above.


(Simply add the word ‘family’ after each one).

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