Looking for Metaphors

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Stimulate creativity and let learners explore surprising connections and metaphors with this playful and associative task.

Time 30 minutes

Material cards in two colors

Group Size 2-30 people

Keywords creativity, creative writing, association


Creative Writing Handbook


Estonian UNESCO Youth Association, Piepildīto Sapņu Istaba, Cooperativa Braccianti Read more

Handbook #4

N. Zimmermann, E. Leondieva

Fourth Handbook for Facilitators: Read more


To develop learners’ focus and ability to draw connections, and use metaphoric expression. The exercise can also be used to explore and gain new insights into a selected topic.


Preparation and materials:

You will need paper cards in two different colours to create two sets of words. One set of words (different objects) should be written on one set of cards and the other set of words (various activities or concepts) should be written on the other set.

Prepare at least 10 cards in each colour. You can choose random objects and activities or select a specific topic for participants’ focus.


Connect 3 words from the first column to 3 words from the second column. Be quick! Then complete sentences:


Ask one volunteer from the group to pick two cards–one from each set– without looking at the words. Ask the whole group to find a connection between the two words and write down new metaphors by using the following construction:

  • “[ACTION] is like [NOUN] because...”
  • for example: WRITING is like SKY because it hides much more than we can ever imagine.


  • How can noticing and forcing connections help us to develop creative ideas?
  • How do metaphors help us to become more clear and persuasive in communication?
  • What are the benefits and risks of using figurative language?

Ilona Olehlova, Inese Priedīte


The content of this page was published in: Creative Writing Cookbook, 2016: Published by Estonian UNESCO Youth Association in cooperation with Piepildīto Sapņu Istaba and Cooperativa Braccianti under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA License. We express our thank to the authors!


This task is a suitable warm-up for longer writing exercises.