Group Energizer: Zip Zap Zop

By CYHUN Staff from Boys & Girls Club of Greater Milwaukee

Zip Zap Zop is a game we play to teach focus and discipline, connect the group, and get positive energy flowing.

Directions: With everyone standing in a circle, the first improviser begins the pattern of “Zip, Zap, Zop” by clapping their hands at someone and saying “Zip.” The person that they indicated will then clap at someone and say “Zap.” Then the third person will do the same but say “Zop.” After this, the next person starts back over with “Zip.”

The group should begin at a comfortable pace and gradually speed up during the pattern. Every time that you clap and send the zip, zap, or zop to another player, you have to make eye contact. Whenever someone makes a mistake and says the wrong word in the series, that person is “out.” Celebrate the mistake then start the pattern over. The game can be played with or without elimination.

Variation 2: Synchronous Zip Zap Zop – Once the sender and receiver make eye contact, they both clap and say “Zip” (or “Zap”, or “Zop”) together at the same time, like in Pass the Clap. The game will necessarily slow down, but playing the regular version of Zip Zap Zop after doing this for a while will feel super­fast!

Assessing Impact: We play this game on the first day to begin teambuilding. In the beginning teens may not be eager to play, but the energy of the facilitator engages them in the process. By the end of the first variation they are engaged and eager to continue playing. Through this simple activity you can learn a lot about how youth handle winning or “losing”, triggers, and how they work together as a team.

Best Practice with this activity: If there is a group that does not deal well with getting out of games an alternative is having them alternate the person who is “out”. When a participant gets out, they can switch spots in the middle with the next participant who gets called out. We learned with some groups that they can handle getting out for a rotation instead of the whole game. Either way, youth should be reminded that it is okay to make mistakes, and in life we will not always win. However, we are a team and it is important that we support each other through wins and losses. They are reminded that they will miss out on important life moments if they run when things get hard. The game is utilized throughout the semester when we need to work on team building, and to simply have fun.

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