Zip, Zap, Zop!

Patricia Umhafer
PD Specialist
News on July 21 2020

Anyone who has done anything related to theater has most likely played the game Zip, Zap, Zop. It’s a classic warm-up to get actors focused and moving! It also leads to some great laughs.

Here’s how to play

  • Have all the participants stand in a circle. It is important that everyone can see each other.
  • Have the group as a whole repeat the words “zip, zap, zop” in that order. Do this a few times.
  • Next, tell the group they have lasers on the ends of their fingers. To start the game, send the lasers out of your fingers with a strong forward motion straight to someone else in the circle and say, “zip.” Be sure you make eye contact with the person you pass it to. You can also do this by having the participants toss a ball or bean bag.
  • Now, it’s that person’s turn to immediately send the lasers to someone else by saying “zap,” using the same forward hand motion and eye contact. Note here that while the word is changing, the gesture should still mirror the motion done by the previous student.
  • The third person passes on the lasers with a “zop,” and the game continues in that order — zip, zap, zop — until there is a mistake. For a more advanced version it can also speed up with each pass.

Play as many rounds as you wish. You can also play this game with “outs” if you want to create some friendly competition.

Use it to teach computational thinking

Zip, Zap, Zop is a super fun way to get students of all ages up, moving, and learning. But did you know that this game is also a great way to teach, reinforce, and practice computational thinking skills? It’s a great tool for this since computational thinking is all about “thought processes involved in expressing solutions as computational steps or algorithms that can be carried out by a computer.”

If you think of its basic concept, Zip, Zap, Zop does just that by looking at an event (word + action in the game) and cause and effect, or how one thing (“zip!”) triggers another (“zap!”) to happen. Try a game of Zip, Zap, Zop as a way for students to practice computational thinking in a way that will stick with them as they take these concepts and apply them to coding/programming.