Back Woman clapping her hands to encourage the audience to partake in The Clapping Game

Clapping Game

Entertaining audience-participation clapping exercise.

  • Ideal for large groups
  • Generates energy & laughter
  • Attracts immediate focus
  • Audience favourite
  • No props

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    Contributor Mark Collard

    User Reviews, Comments & Ideas (4)
    5.00 avg. rating (89% score) - 1 vote

    1. Nate Folan

      Hi all,

      Recently, I’ve been using (and loving) a short sequence of two activities – (1) One Clap immediately followed by (2) the Clapping Game.

      To play, invite the group to clap simultaneously, making the sound of one crisp clap, on the count of three – 1,2,3…clap! Many groups may get this on the first go, while others may need a bit more practice. Regardless, give it a go two or three times, then transition to the Clapping Game.

      The Clapping Game is played by inviting the group to clap when you, the facilitator, fluidly cross your arms in front of you as if you you were going to clap, yet miss and pass by. Playfully practice this a few times testing the group’s reaction time and building attunement.

      Just when the groups seems to be grooving, fake. That is, gesturing as if you are going to cross your arms, then stopping just short. The group should not clap because you did not cross your arms, although inevitably many individuals, if not all, will clap (making a mistake), then react. Reactions typically present as a burst of laughter and awareness. Notice the reactions, engage in some likely banter, and play on.

      Continue crossing your arms or not (faking) allowing the the individuals and group to react and respond as they do. Culminate with a crescendo of clapping by crossing your arms slowly at first, then progressively faster and faster offering no fakes until the end. Typically this leads to an increase in energy, laughter, and preparedness to move forward.

      Why have I been using these particular activities to start learning engagements and meetings? One Clap helps bring the group present. The Clapping Game invites, in an introductory way, awareness to personal reactions and the reactions of others. Furthermore, it invites the notion of choosing how we respond after making a mistake (or not) and as mistakes are made in our presence. Yes, this is a light touch on Social Emotional Learning, Emotional Intelligence, and other related topics as well. Ultimately, I’ve been using both of these activities because they are simple, engaging, and relevant. Some might even say they’re fun!


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