BrainPlay Wiki
Apples Become Oranges
Apples Become Oranges
Posting Details
Country of origin United States
Created by Zoey Sloate -
Posted by Zoey Sloate
Date first posted February 10, 2014
Game details
Game genre Language
Game summary Given two random nouns, turn the meaning of one into the other by adding adjectives or other modifying phrases.
# of players From 2 to a whole class of players
For ages 8+

Other details

Game Designer / Creator[]

Game Summary[]

Given two random nouns, turn the meaning of one into the other by adding adjectives or other modifying phrases. For example, define flag in terms of blanket: A flag is a waving blanket. Another example is to define a barcode as a paper fence. The game works best for concrete nouns (e.g., objects such as bowl and materials such as velvet) because you can almost always find a connection based on shape, size, color, material, function, etc.

This game helps players become adept at finding commonalities and crafting metaphors: a snowman is a frozen cough. An earthquake is a ton of paper clips. A wedding is a bright candle in a parent’s life. Use your vocabulary words in the game to help reinforce the nuances of their meanings.

The game’s name comes from how a metaphor can turn the meaning of one noun (i.e., the apple) into the meaning of another noun (i.e., the orange).

Players / Moderators[]

  • Age range: 8 and older.
  • A whole class full of players.
  • Need one moderator to elicit nouns from the group, select nouns to pair together, and call on respondents.

Game Set-up and Construction[]

  • No set up, other than gathering a group of people within earshot of the moderator.
  • Nouns: that’s all you need. Oh, the players will provide the adjectives and other modifying phrases.
  • No cost!

How to Play / Game Rules[]

  • Moderator asks students to quietly think of a noun and raise their hands when ready. Moderator encourages students to also consider picking from their recent vocabulary words.
  • Moderator picks two students to simultaneously speak the nouns they have in mind.
  • Moderator repeats the two nouns aloud and, if available, writes them on the board.
  • Students offer their metaphorical phrases that connect the two nouns until the group cannot think of any more.
  • If you want, moderator facilitates a vote for the most creative phrase and gives that player a point.

Templates / Diagrams[]

  • NA

Related Web Links[]

  • NA

Other Details[]

This game aims to help children learn in two ways. For one, creating these unconventional metaphors can lead to children developing a stronger grasp of literature and more control over their own writing. Secondly, defining nouns in terms of other nouns means viewing objects in unique contexts and making new connections–two vital skills for inventing and engineering.

Also, cognitive psychology suggests that the habitual practice of making distant connections sharpens cognition. Emerging neuroscience is also suggestive that regularly making distant connections might maintain and even strengthen neural connectivity—although more research is needed to test this out.