Yes, AND...


This game is really a brainstorming technique, and illustrates the difference between constructive and critical group decision-making. The group chooses (or the teacher assigns) a problem that needs solving (i.e. picking a class field trip, Puritan community leaders deciding what to do about Hester Prynne, etc.). One player begins with an idea, such as, “I think we should go to the zoo for our field trip.” First, other players must respond only with “Yes, and…” statements: “Yes, and we could bring a picnic lunch to the zoo.” “Yes, and we could bring water bottles for when we get hot and thirsty.” “Yes, and if it gets really hot, we can go into the penguin house to cool off,” etc. Then repeat the exercise with the same opening idea; this time, however, players may only respond with “Yes, but. . .” statements. The conversation will sound like something like this: “I think we should go to the zoo for our field trip.” “Yes, but the zoo is all the way across town.” “Yes, but we could take the bus.” “Yes, but renting a bus is expensive.”

  • What did we do in this activity?  
  • What was challenging/interesting about this activity?
  • What did you notice about how you participated in this activity?
Possible Side-Coaching

“Say anything that comes to mind—no idea too big, too small, or too silly!”

“Keep the ideas coming!” “If you’re stuck, can someone else help?”

Possible Variations/Applications

Begin with an object rather than a problem. For example, we’ve played as advertisers marketing a bottle of water (“You should buy this bottle of water because it’s 100% fat-free.” “Yes, and you can reuse the bottle as a flower vase,” etc.) B) Give pairs of players an object and ask them how the object might be used beyond the obvious. (“This sieve makes a great catcher’s mask!” “Yes, and you can use it to catch butterflies,” etc.) This variation is also known as Props.

Source Citations

Viola Spolin