Word association is a great improv exercise to help us stay in the moment, listen to our partner, and react without overthinking or judging our own responses. Comma adds the element of furthering our thoughts, and sharing more about ourselves.

Participants are in a circle. Start with any suggestion, such as summertime. First player says what summertime makes them think of. Whatever they said, the next person says what that made them think of and so on.

Sample of play:
Angela: Summertime makes me think of the lake
Rick: The lake makes me think of beach chairs
Lee: Beach chairs make me think of sitting outside

Continue until everyone has said what the previous thing makes me think of.

Next add a comma. After you say what you thought of tell us a bit more about that. It can be why you thought of it, more of a description, or anything at all. The next person can take any part of what you said for their inspiration.

Sample of play:
Angela: Cookies make me think of baking (comma) and my mom in the kitchen, and the two of us trying not to burn the fudge
Rick: Burning things makes me think of campfires (comma) like the smell of marshmallows when they’ve been on fire.
Lee: Marshmallows make me think of Ghostbusters (comma) and the giant marshmallow man exploding and everyone getting sticky

Adding the comma encourages participants to share more than they would have.