One Word Stories

Make up a story together


One Word Stories is a chance for a whole group to work together to make up a story. Great practice for cooperating together and improvising.

How to Play

This is a way too make up and tell a story in a group — this could be with your youth group or in your family. It is best with at least three people, but you could play it with two.  The idea is that you are making up a story together, but each person can only say one word at a time.

Decide who will start and then take it in turns to add a word. If you are at home, you can just go round in a circle adding words.  If you are online you may need to agree an order for who goes next ahead of playing, or use another way of indicating who should go next.

Keep going until the story has reached a natural conclusion.

  • It might be helpful to talk about one of the basic rules of improvisation. This is to accept and build on what others bring to the table, rather than blocking their ideas to follow your own.  Think of this as a ‘yes, and…’ approach, rather than a ‘no, but…’ one.
  • If the story begins to make no sense, stop and suggest that people listen really carefully to the words that have come before. Only add words that will help contribute to the bigger story, rather than taking it off in their own direction. It is all about working together.
  • The story can be silly and creative, but try to get it to make sense too – grammatically if not thematically.
  • Try this a few times and aim for a clearer story each time.
  • Talk about choosing words carefully to get the story across clearly.



You could record the one word stories to share. Or turn it into a song by setting it to music. Try the tune of an existing song — or making up your own melody.

Take if further

This is taken from the book Games, Games, Games, a publication with around 250 group games. The games are essentially co-operative in nature and develop skills and attitudes which encourage learning together and supporting one another.

After warming your brains up with a one word story, how about you test your memory with a round of when I go to camp…?

Enjoyed this?

Share it with your friends and ensure that young people can continue to do fun activities together.

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on whatsapp

Chip in to help

A small donation can go a long way. If you've found this activity useful, consider chipping in to help us to help young people through this crisis.