I may have written about this before but out of all of the amazing team building/ drama games I have come across this one is the creme de la creme. My kids, especially the little ones, absolutely love it. When I have a new class I open the session with the game and I close with the activity also.
Its called …. The Toy shop.
It goes like this. I am the toy maker . I work in the toy shop. The kids are the toys in the toy shop and when I am in the room the toys are frozen. I say ”3 ,2,1 Toys are frozen!” If they make noise or move around they are considered broken and they go in the bin. They can’t play (for a while) When I leave the room the toys come to life. I am always walking around the toyshop commenting on the interesting shape of the toys etc. then I leave. at first the noise is really gradual as the kids figure out that its ok to move around. Then it gets louder and louder. When I walk back in I announce “I’m back. The toys need to be frozen again.
When I come back in the room, I examine the frozen toys. I push a button on their arm “What does this one do?” The toy does something… anything. As soon as a kid does something……
THATS AN OFFER.
Possibly their first ever improv offer.
So the toy shop owner validates the offer. “ Wow a toy robot!” “It just falls over!” “it plays the piano” etc.
The toy shop owner has an imaginary remote control in his or her pocket and presses the remote to stop the toy and to move on to the next toy.
The toy shop owner moves around the room and pushes the button on several toys. It works well if kids team up and make a big toy that works together. Sometimes the there might be Sometimes it might be a conga toy for example. they form a line and sing ‘Conga, Conga, Conga…” Sometimes the 2 elements of the same toy might be in different sides of the room. It could be a cops and robbers situations or something. That always amazes me.
Quite often, you take a simple idea. and leave it really open. An idea like the toy shop and see what kind of hacks kids can find. From time to time there will be one bright spark who will be a toy who turns on all of the other toys in the shop. The toy shop owner in mock horror leaves and when they owner returns the toys are always frozen again.
The Toy shop is the best game I have ever come across. It’s universally an absolute winner and Im always absolutely amazed when they want to play it week after week. Even the older kids pretend they have grown out of it but when I put it to a vote as to which game they want to play in the last five minutes the majority goes to the toy shop. And with my little ones in their first few weeks with me the first 5 questions I get is “ Can we play the toy shop”