Instruct your group to follow and maintain a particular pattern of movement.
The pattern will move in a right-hand direction.
By way of demonstration, start by performing a little jump.
Immediately, the person to your right will clap.
The next person (to the right) will spin 360 degrees.
Finally, the next person (to the right) will enter the circle and run to any spot between two people on the other side of the circle.
The person who moved spots will re-start the pattern of movements with a jump.
This routine of jump, clap, spin and run continues over and over.
Encourage your group to prompt others to maintain the pace and pattern.
Continue playing for a minute or two and/or try a variation.
Video Transcript for Jump Clap Spin Run
presented by Nate Folan
What we’re going to get into is a game called Jump Clap Spin Run.
And your mind might already start to wonder what that means, and what we’ll do is we’ll start slow and we’ll build. So we’re going to learn a pattern of jump clap spin run and then we’ll bring it to another level.
So the way it works is this, if I’m initiating this, I’m going to jump, you’ll clap, you’ll spin, and you’ll run.
Almost like that, that’s a good start, but then we actually want to move it across the circle to a new spot between two other people, okay?
So let’s do this one more time. I’ll jump. Clap, spin, and run.
… when you run across this is where you restart the pattern. So Dave has run across. He’s now going to jump clap spin run. Dante goes across, finds a new spot in the circle, jumps, to the right, clap, spin, run. Keep this going for a little bit.
And let’s hold it here. Thank you. Great. So that’s the base. That’s your initial pattern. Everyone follow that? Simple enough, right? If we kept doing that you might even have gotten a little bit bored, like okay, we got it, jump clap spin run jump clap spin run.
The challenge with this is to keep this going. However as we go it’s going to become exponentially, literally exponentially more challenging, hopefully exponentially more fun, and it requires you to communicate and support and find ways to keep this pattern going.
The reason for that, is the pattern is now going to go both directions.
So when I jump, if I initiate this… when I jump there’ll be a clap, a spin, and two people now running which then trigger another jump, clap, spin, run going both directions, sends four people and so on.
Don’t worry so much about the math of it. You’re thinking… there’s that triangle that breaks out, right? Exponentially, yeah it’s growing. The key here is keeping it going amongst the people and you’ll notice how you do that or not.
So let’s try it. Are you ready? Okay, so I’m jumping.
So five, four, three, two, one. Hold it right there.
This is one of these activities that as you get it going there is literally no way to get it to stop. It just keeps going if you keep it going…
How To Play Narrative
Gather your group in a circle.
Begin by explaining to the group that their task will be to follow and maintain a particular pattern of movements. You can explain these movements in advance if you choose, or simply allow them to unfold in your further explanations.
Either way, explain that the pattern will travel to the right around the circle, ie anti-clockwise direction.
By means of demonstration, direct one person to perform a little jump on their spot. This immediately causes the person to their right to clap.
The next person to the right is then invited to spin or turn around 360 degrees, just once. Finally, instruct the next person to the right of the person spinning to run (or briskly walk) across the circle, finding a new spot in the circle to stand.
Upon arrival to this new spot in the circle, this person re-starts the sequence of movements by jumping on their new spot, and the person to their right claps, etc.
Practice this pattern a few times so that most people in your group understand the sequence and are able to follow it most of the time or with support from group members.
Play this introductory challenge for a minute or so, and then consider introducing a new variation (see Variations tab) or move on in your program, safe in the knowledge you have woken up your group.
Either way, allow the activity to continue until just before you think the energy and fun have peaked.
Practical Leadership Tips
I first learned this activity, as an adapted version of a fantastic energiser called Boom Jump Clap Spin Run, from Andy Parker, a Physical Education Teacher in Connecticut, USA. Over time, I have dropped the initial ‘Boom’ which required the first person to call “BOOM” as they clenched their fists in front of themselves as if planting a couple of ski stocks into the snow. Their right-hand neighbour would then jump, etc.
This exercise offers a diverse range of possibilities, from nonsensical energiser to in-depth conversations. The potential exists in the joy and journey of running around randomly, making mistakes, being accountable, giving and receiving directions, feeling overwhelmed, and asking for help, the list goes on.
Whether for fun or function, letting the experience speak for itself or speaking for the experience, or debriefing the activity, the intention should be your guide.
In addition, Jump Clap Spin Run may spark laughter, curiosity, and meaningful conversations amongst participants. Prepare to be flexible as well.
On occasions, it can be difficult to stop this activity once it gets going. Be prepared to stop by setting up a stop signal prior to play or stopping randomly in the moment.
Ensure that participants are not contacting one another as they run across the circle, especially as more and more people begin to move.
You could integrate Jump Clap Spin Run as part of a well-designed SEL program to establish and maintain healthy and supportive relationships and to effectively navigate settings with diverse people.
Specifically, this activity offers opportunities to explore and practice the following social & interpersonal skills:
Demonstrating Self-Discipline & Self-Motivation
Setting Personal & Group Goals
Use Planning & Organisational Skills
Communicate & Listen Effectively
Seeking and/or Offering Support
Build Positive Relationships
Making Reasoned Judgements
Anticipating & Evaluating the Consequences of One’s Actions
Promoting Personal & Collective Well-Being
You can learn more about SEL and how it can support character education here.
Health & Wellness Programming
There is no specific health & wellness perspective to this activity other than promoting the benefits to one’s wellbeing of engaging in a short bust of physical activity and enjoying a good laugh. In a small way, you could argue that the focus required to successfully play this interactive group game speaks to the benefits of being mindful, but this is not really its highest purpose.
If you can think of more explicit ways in which Jump Clap Spin Run could be purposefully integrated into a health and wellness program, please leave a comment at the base of this page.
Multiple Jumpers: Introduce two or more people to begin with a jump to involve more people, and more chaos.
Silent Moves: For more talented groups, perform everything without talking, ie no prompts.
Alternate Moves: Change the order of the movements to suit your purposes. Indeed, replace any one or more of the ‘moves’ to something new or more relevant to your program, eg a PE teacher may swap spin with a star-jump. Or, invite your group to invent their own moves, eg stomp, hop, heel-click, skip across the circle.
Random Direction: Allow the person jumping to nominate the direction (left or right) the sequence of events will flow. Ideally, this call should occur as the jump is being made. This simple variation invites people to sharpen their listening and reflex skills.
Two Directions: The sequence of movements will flow in both directions simultaneously, to the left and right of a person jumping. Expect the level of activity, fun, chaos and confusion to grow exponentially.