From ‘101 Drama Games and Activities’

Age: 7 to adult
Players: Whole Group, Small Groups, Pairs
Time: 10 minutes
Skills: Storytelling, Speaking and Listening, Co-operation

A story is told, with each person adding one word at a time.

In a circle, the story is started, with each person in turn adding one word. It usually starts with ‘Once – upon – a – time’. The idea is to keep your thoughts free flowing, so that you don’t try to guess what is coming or force the story in a particular direction. It is not always easy to maintain a logical flow for the story, although it is always amusing. If the group is too large, break into smaller groups or pairs.


  • Players can say “full stop/period” to end a sentence
  • Play the game in pairs, where both participants act out the story as it is told. In this case, tell the story in the present tense and as ‘we’. For example, ‘We – are – climbing – a – mountain. – Look – a – giant -spider – coming – towards – us. Quick – run!’ You can soon create an adventure story in this way. You can also use the one word at a time technique to create characters made up of two or more people – great fun for interview scenes!
  • Throw or roll a ball around the circle in any order. Add your word then pass the ball to the next person. (This variation ensures that players pay more attention)

Play Online

Using Zoom or other video-conferencing software, demonstrate the game with around five students (making sure they are unmuted). Give each student a number so that they know whose turn it is. Then divide the class into break-out rooms to play the game in small groups.

Socially Distanced

The game can easily be played if students are spaced out on a grid (marked on the floor) or at desks. They can then play the game in small groups or as a whole class.

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