Selling a Zork

Can you get someone to buy a Zork?

Convince someone to “buy” something that is bizarre and has no obvious function. In this group activity, children learn how to use creative thinking skills to persuade and sell an idea to an audience.

Materials Required

  • Unusual objects whose purpose is not immediately clear (such as a loose part from a machine or fabrication supplies that are not familiar)

Instructions

  1. From the group of participants, choose a volunteer “salesperson.” Invite this person to the front of the room.
  2. Give the volunteer an unusual object and tell them a strange or made up name for the item (like a Zork). The more bizarre the object, the better.
  3. Give the salesperson a brief amount of time to prepare ideas for a sales pitch.
  4. Now, the salesperson tries to “sell” the strange object to the group.
  5. Encourage the audience to ask questions to learn more about the object. For example: Why would I want this? What does it do?
  6. The salesperson must share all kinds of uses for the object and why someone should have one until someone agrees to “buy” the object.
  7. Choose a new person to be the salesperson and repeat the activity.

Additional Tips

Try these add-on activities:

  • Play this game with two people working together to sell the object.  
  • Use a commonly known object, but require the salesperson to convince the audience to purchase the object for an alternative use.

Links to Creativity

Sometimes there is more to creativity than making something new. Sometimes, it requires persuasion to sell an idea to an audience. The creative process can have many steps, and persuasion, or convincing others of value, is important for groups of people working together creatively.

Supporting research includes:

Runco, M. A. (2014). Creativity: Theories and themes: Research, development, and practice. San Diego: Elsevier.

Simonton, D. K. (1988). Creativity, leadership, and chance. In R. J. Sternberg (Ed.), The nature of creativity (pp. 386-426). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Contributor

This activity was contributed by the Center for Childhood Creativity ©2015. It has been adapted with permission from Dr. Robert Epstein’s The Big Book of Creativity Games ©2000. For more information and resources see CenterforChildhoodCreativity.org and MyCreativitySkills.com.