How to play the circle game Zip, Zap, Pop!

There are countless fun games that are play in a circle with a series of movements and words. The challenge of these games are to follow the pattern with silly and unusal tasks. Circle games are great ice breakers and also incredibly fun warm up and waiting games for small groups. The Game of the Week is Zip, Zap, Pop!

Group Size:  Any size

Age Group:  Grades 3+
Length of Activity:  Under 10 minutes
Developmental Goal:  To practice listening to directions, concentration, and social comfort within group.
Equipment:  None

Before You Start: 

  • Have the group stand in a circle. Explain the three different actions, ‘Zip’, ‘Zap’, and ‘Pop’:
    • First pass a ‘Zip’ around the circle, accompanied by placing a hand on top of the head with the fingers pointing at the person on either side. Pass the word and movement around circle in the same direction.
    • Pass ‘Zap’ around, accompanied by putting the hand below the chin (at the player's shoulder).
    • A ‘Pop’ is done by pointing with two hands palms together to anyone in the circle, who then passes a Zip to someone else around circle. Make sure there is eye contact with the person receiving the ‘Pop’.
  • The actions must always come in the same order, Zip, Zap, then Pop.
  • Once everyone is familiar with the words and movements, begin the game.

Set Up: 

Designate playing space large enough for the group to form a circle (cafeteria, gym, classroom)

How To Play: 

  • The leader starts with a ‘Zip’ and passes it to the person either to their left or right.
  • It is up to the person who receives it which direction to pass it, and they do a ‘Zap’.
  • The next person must ‘Pop’ it, sending it to someone across the circle.
  • ‘Zip’ and ‘Zap’ can be sent in either direction.
  • If person hesitates they are out and can go around the outside of the circle heckling the group, saying the words Zip, Zap, Pop in people’s ears, trying to distract them.

Find more new and exciting games in our games library!


Love implementing Game of the Week? Playworks Trainers are equipped with oodles of tools and tips to help you get a recess and play program going today. Check out our professional development programs and bring Playworks to your school or afterschool program.


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