Draw a Tree

Energiser / Warm up, Opening


Evaluation, Introspection, Self-reflection

Up to 15 min, Up to 30 min, Up to 60 min, 60-120 min, longer than 120 min

6-15 persons, 16 – 30 persons, More than 30 persons




With this game you can raise awareness about being more mindful, and aware of the environment we live in. To make participants realize that they ignore things automatically and this kind of behaviour can cause a lot of problems.

Necessary tools (what you need)

  • Pick a suitable online tool, e.g. an online whiteboard tool that allows to use a large, zoomable canvas.


  1. Ask everyone to draw a tree on the index card within 45 seconds. Explain that this tree could be a realistic one or an abstract one. The only critical requirement is that it should done within the 45-second time limit. Pause while participants complete this task.
    Alternatively: Users can either draw their tree on paper and upload an image into the whiteboard or draw it digitally. If you don’t have an online whiteboard tool, you can use Slack or Google docs to share and comment on the created images. If you want to run this exercise quickly online, have participants draw their tree but skip the image sharing step.
  1. After 45 seconds (it doesn’t matter if some of the artists are still working on their masterpieces), begin debriefing. Instead of conducting a time-consuming discussion, present the major learning point the following way:
    • Look at your tree. How many of you included the roots when you drew the tree?
    • Very few of you did that!
    • So what is holding up the trees without the root system? How do these trees get water and nutrition?
    • You must agree that the root system is an important part of tree. Why did you not draw it? Was it because you usually don’t see the roots?
    • How many other things do you habitually ignore just because they are not visible? Have you stopped thinking about critical elements that are out of sight?
    • What problems are likely to arise from this type of selective thinking? How can we prevent this habit?
  2. At the end of activity, you can debrief and discuss the process. Discuss whether the story has ideas or lessons relevant to the group’s regular activities.

Tips & Tricks

  • When facilitating group discussion, we would recommend that participants use non-verbal means to indicate they would like to speak. You can use tools like Zoom’s nonverbal feedback tools, a reaction emoji, or just have people put their hands up. The facilitator can then invite that person to talk.

The exercise is successfully completed when? Conclusion?