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Exquisite Corpse

This gruesomely titled game was created by the French Surrealist painters--it's not nearly as scary as it sounds!  Exquisite Corpse is a group storytelling activity that keeps your brain sparked and your sides-splitting. 

Designed for Elementary to Adult! (instructions and adaptations below)


  1. Have everyone but one person leave the room. This person will come up with the first line of the story.  It can be a story about anything!


  1. One by one players will enter into the room and add another line to the story.


  1. But there is a twist! Each person entering the room should only be told the last line of the story before they add theirs. For Example, Player No. 2 will hear the first line of the story, but will only tell Player No. 3 the second line of the story.


  1. The whole premise of this game is not being able to know what has happened before your part.


  1. Have Player No. 1 write down or record each sentence so you can retell the whole story accurately once it's finished.


  1. Once everyone has added a sentence, read through the whole thing and see what twists and turns it took!


Talk it Out!

  • Did our story make sense?
  • How does this exercise change the way you think about writing stories?
  • What was surprising about our story? What was fun?
  • How did it feel to have others changing your ideas? Where might something like this happen in the real world?


Anyone who can come up with a sentence can play this game! This game works especially well with older elementary students and older. 



  • Play this game like we did in the video and use zoom or another video confrence platform. Make sure that everyone mutes their audio so they can not hear the story until it's their turn.


  • Try writing!
    • On a piece of paper have each person write down the first line of the story.
    • Once finished fold the paper and pass it to the next person.
    • This person will only look at the line before theirs and add on the next sentence.
    • Continue passing until you have a complete story. Then read them all out loud. It might just be the best story ever!
  • Try drawing!
    • Start a drawing, but only use the top fourth of the paper.
    • Fold over your creation with just the bottom showing, then hand it to the next person.
    • Time it out---give everyone only 30 seconds to make their drawing.
    • Keep this up until the page is full---what did you create together
  • Try sculpting or building something!
    • Create a sculpture with clay or other items around the house. 
      • Start with a base shape, and ask others to add onto it at random times when no one is watching. 
      • What piece of art will you make together?


Art it out: Try out the original version of this game and create a strange character one body part at a time. Watch THIS video for the steps of making a fun exquisite corpse flip book.

Move it out: Use the same method to create a dance. Have a player create the first movement and then add on one movement at a time only seeing the move before. Then put them all together for some amazing choreography!


This game highlights the skills of: teamwork, story construction, listening, and sequencing.

Use these variations to make school work fun:

Reading/Writing/Social Studies: This is a great exercise to explore story and sentence structure. Make observations about what makes a good or interesting story.

Science/Math: Start an exquisite corpse drawing of an animal or plant and see what it looks like at the end. Activate your anatomy vocabulary words through drawing.