Learn to communicate clearly and follow instructions to see unexpected results!
What you’ll need: One other person, paper, and coloured pens or pencils
What’s it for?
This activity helps train your communication skills in a creative activity that may have unexpectedly funny results. It also pushes you to take someone else’s perspective, both in giving instructions that they can follow and by what picture is finally produced!
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?
One person is the artist and the other is the describer.
Firstly, the describer thinks of a simple thing to draw. This could be something like a house, a tree, a car, a flower, a chair, or a cup. The describer doesn’t tell the artist!
The describer then tries to communicate how to draw what she / he wants, without telling them what the thing is. For example, your instructions might be like the following: Draw a square in the middle of the page, draw a slightly sloping line from the top of the square, sloping towards the middle - on both sides of the square, draw a line that runs parallel to the top of the square joining both of the sloping lines, draw two smaller squares inside and towards the top of the bigger square, draw a rectangle in the middle of the on the bottom line of the bigger square… Can you guess what it is yet?
The artist might not draw what the describer had in mind. How can the describer make his / her intentions clearer? Is it possible to salvage if the artist doesn’t draw exactly as the describer wants?
The challenge is for the describer to use words ONLY and no gestures!
When the picture is finished, talk to each other about what was hardest to communicate, or understand from the communication.
Now swap roles! See how it feels to be artist and describer!
Extra Activity: If you have some at home, you could play the same game with play construction bricks, like Lego.
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?
How easy was it as the describer to communicate how you wanted the artist to draw?
When you were the artist, how easy was it for you to understand what was required of you?
Did the picture turn out differently than expected for artist and describer?
How easy was it to translate words into action when you were the artist?
How did it make you feel to draw without knowing what you were drawing?
Which role did you find easiest?
This activity helps you to communicate clearly and forces you to put yourself in another’s position. It requires patience and tolerance as well as good communication skills.
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?
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 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Don't forget to subscribe for more fun CAT activities!
Created by Ian Grundy © April 2020
Creative Arts Used: Art
Psychological Areas Explored: Relationships, Communication
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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.
This website was made by CAT Corner to help you explore your feelings through fun creative arts activities. The people using the website and the people responsible for them need to make sure they stay safe (full disclaimer on About page).