No, You Can't Take Me!


Matt Buchanan


This game teaches confidence, pantomime, and critical thinking. It's also a lot of fun. I have used it with children from Kindergarten to Middle School - obviously with varying levels of sophistication. It looks more complicated than it is - I've never had trouble making my students understand it.

I didn't make this up, although I suspect I have made changes in it. I have used it for years, and I can't remember who gave it to me.


After explaining the game a little, break the class into small groups-three to five or so. Each group is given a room in the house-the bedroom, the living room, the kitchen, the basement, the garage, etc. (You can use the bathroom as well if you think your students can handle it. Mine get too silly.) Don't let the students know what rooms the other groups have.

Within each group, each student chooses one thing that would be found in the room. (For example, if the room is the kitchen, one student might be the refrigerator, one the stove, one the sink, etc.) Side-coach as necessary. After choosing an object, each student practices "being" that object.

Each student must think of at least one-or with older kids, several-good reasons that their object is important. Side-coach them to ask themselves what would happen if the thing were not there.

Playing the Game:

Work with one group at a time. The other groups become audience-which is incidentally an opportunity to practice being a good audience.

The teacher goes to the first group and exclaims, "My, look at all this useless stuff! I've got to get rid of some of this junk!" (Or some such.) The teacher selects one student and says, "I think I'll take this thing away."

The student replies, "NO, YOU CAN'T TAKE ME!"

"Why not?"

The student answers, without mentioning the name of his object, in this form: "If you take me away. . ." followed by something that would go wrong without the object. (For example, if the student is pretending to be the bed, she might say, "If you take me away, no one will get any sleep." A student pretending to be a wastebasket might say, "If you took me, there would be trash all over the place.")*

Once all the students have had their say, the audience tries to guess what room they are in, and then what object each student is. Then the teacher moves on to the next group.

* With younger children, I usually stop at one answer. But with older students, I don't give up so easily. I improvise some reason that the student's first answer isn't compelling enough. "Well, I never sleep anyway." "I like trash on the floor. I'm taking you anyway." In this way I ask the students to think of more than one reason that something is important. If the students are sophisticated enough, I encourage them to think of creative answers. A student pretending to be the bed might say, "What would the kids jump on?" A student pretending to be a lawnmower once said, "We'd get our feet wet walking through the yard." He meant that the long grass would hold water when it rained.


I have done this exercise with states or countries instead of rooms.

With Kindergarten I do it without the guessing.

I have done this exercise with time periods instead of rooms.

©1997 Matt Buchanan
Theatre Arts Teacher
The Haverford School
Haverford, Pennsylvania

If you wish to use this lesson plan or have any questions regarding this unit, please email Matt:

The Drama in Education Site Lesson Plans Page

The Drama in Education Site Main Menu