Warm-Up of the Week: 21

I played this game this week after not having played it for awhile. I’d forgotten how much I love it.

  1. Student’s create a circle.
  2. Place an object in the middle of the circle for the student’s to focus on. They must spend the entire game looking at the object.
  3. The aim of the game is to count to 21 (1 through to 21 in that order). However who says what number does not follow the consecutive order of the circle. E.g. person one might say “one”, but then person six in the circle might say “two” and so forth. Numbers are being called from different parts of the circle.
  4. If two people say the next number in the sequence together in unison then the count must start again from one.

Some tips: I always like to allocate the teacher as the person who always starts and restarts the count. It keeps the kids focused and moving towards trying to reach the goal of 21. If they are struggling to get past a certain number make the number goal smaller. This week my student’s could only get to 10 and at one point 15. Come back to the game at a later time in the term and see if they can beat their score.


  1. I am confused. Can someone email me and put me out of my misery as to how this activity works…yes i did not pass drama 101…but c,mon….the explanation is not the best i have seen. Apologies to karlao…love all your other stuff…you rock with your passion….but….i need some help with this one. Thanks. Karl from Australia.

    • Karl,

      Sorry the explanation wasn’t clear enough for you Karl. I guess it’s one of those games that really has to be played to be understood. If I can find a YouTube clip of it I will post it but otherwise, maybe I’ll have to tape some people playing so that you get the idea.

      Leave it with me and thanks for the feedback.

  2. Hi, I use the game 1-20 in my drama summer day camps and after school acting classes. The kids love the challenge!
    I have had to reduce the number to 10 but one of my groups got
    to 20 on their first attempt! Impressive!.
    Julie R.

  3. Im a senior in high school and have been doing drama since I was 14. Warm ups are led at my school by the seniors so I have to look for new things to keep my peers energized and focused. This a great game and we usually try to count up to 25 and all the way back down. Great game for focus and bonding among the group!


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