Select Your Words Carefully

Can you tell a story using only seven words?

Use only seven words and pantomime to tell a story! Pantomime means using only body movements to communicate. In this group activity, children have five minutes to plan and practice a skit, and two minutes to perform. This collaborative activity pushes children to be spontaneous and creative on the spot.

Materials Required

  • Paper
  • Pen or pencil
  • A deck of 49 cards, with one word written on each card (such as fork, sleep, help, and chimpanzee). Create your own, or use this template to get you started.

Instructions

  1. Place the cards face down on a table.
  2. Each team selects seven cards from the pile at random. Each card should have only one word written on it. These are the only words that may be spoken in the performance.
  3. Each team has five minutes to plan and practice the skit. The skit should have a beginning, middle, and end. One person on the team must say each of the seven words at least once during the skit.
  4. Perform the skit in front of an audience. Time the skit to be two minutes only.
  5. Do the skit again with a new group of words!

Additional Tips

Try these add-on activities:

  • Add props! In addition to the seven words and pantomime, add props to the skit.
  • Film the performance and share it with friends and family.

Links to Creativity

This activity allows children to be spontaneous because you never know which seven cards will be picked. This activity also requires planning because there are only seven words you can use to create a skit! The pressure to perform can make it really hard, but it can also bring out the best in us. When you stop thinking about how to do well, creativity might just happen.

Supporting research includes:

Clydesdale, G. (2006). Creativity and Competition: The Beatles. Creativity Research Journal, 18(2), 129-139.

Csikszentmihalyi, M. (1996). Creativity: Flow and the psychology of discovery and invention. New York: HarperCollins.

Contributor

This activity was contributed by Destination Imagination, Inc. For more information and resources see DestinationImagination.org. ©Destination Imagination, Inc.