Explore the power of metaphor to describe yourself or others in this funny drama game
What you’ll need: Another person, or group of people, piece of paper and pen (optional)
What’s it for?
This activity uses the power of metaphor to describe someone. It encourages empathy and creativity, learning to describe people in different ways. Often the metaphor that you come up with will hold more information than you expect. The activity also helps you see yourself and others from different perspectives.
Notice how you’re feeling right now. Close your eyes and notice what’s going on inside your mind and body.
How are you feeling?
What are you thinking?
How does your body feel?
This activity naturally works well in a group context where the group members know each other. It can also be played by two people but referring to mutually known people who aren’t present.
One person leaves the room. This person is the questioner and will ask the questions when they return.
The other person or group members choose someone who will be described through metaphor.
The questioner returns and is only allowed to ask questions of the others that elicit metaphors. For example:
If this person were a plant what kind of plant would they be? Why?
If this person were an animal what kind of animal would they be? Why?
If this person were a house what kind of house would they be? Why?
If this person were a TV show what kind of TV show would they be? Why?
If this person were a form of transport what kind of transport would they be? Why?
The questioner always uses the same form of question following this form:
If this person were a [something] what kind of [something] would they be? Why?
The others always take special care to be sensitive to the feelings of the one described, thinking about what it would be like if they themselves were the one being described.
When the questioner guesses the person from the metaphor, it is someone else’s turn to be the questioner.
Repeat the process until everyone has had a turn at questioning.
Extra Activity: Think about how you would describe yourself through metaphor, perhaps by asking yourself the questions mentioned above. Of all the metaphors, which feels the best fit for you? Draw a picture of yourself as that metaphor.
When you’ve finished, spend a moment reflecting on the activity and ask yourself the following questions:
Did you learn anything new about yourself while you did this activity?
Was it easy or challenging to describe others through metaphors?
Did the metaphors reveal anything surprising about the described person?
Did anything else surprise you about this activity?
This activity helps you to develop the ability to think creatively and empathically, and to see yourself and others from different perspectives. It can also reveal interesting elements about how you feel about yourself and others.
Take a moment to notice how you are feeling at the end of this activity. Did you discover anything surprising? What can you take away to make you feel better about yourself from this activity?
This activity was adapted from ‘If he/she were a flower’ (Plummer, 2008: 93) in:
Plummer, D. M. (2008): Anger Management Games for Children, London: Jessica Kingsley Publishers
If you would like to, share something about your experience with this activity with someone you live with! Ask the person who looks after you to send us an email if you have any questions or comments about the activity, or would like to send us any pictures (email@example.com). Don't forget to subscribe for more fun CAT activities!
Created by Ian Grundy © October 2021
Creative Arts Used: Drama, Art
Psychological Areas Explored: Communication, Relationships, Play, Self Exploration
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These activities could be done by children of all ages, but some may need the support of their parent or carer to read the instructions or complete the activity safely.
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