20 Ways To Use

20 Dreams

In Education

20 Dreams Contributes to Education by Developing Creative Skills and Emotional Intelligence!

Here are a few suggestions on how to use your pack of 20 Dreams in the classroom and beyond!

The Drama Department

Karen Stallard the creator of 20 dreams initially trained in the performing arts and worked for a while in Theatre and Education. She knows how important it is to come up with fresh ideas and new energy, and also how important it is to help people get out of their thinking head and into their imagination.


20 Dreams is the perfect resource to have at hand for your drama class, it is a great resource for ice breaking, warm-ups, and even for devising something substantial from scratch.


Below are some ideas of how you can use the pack of cards to bring imagination and fresh ideas into your drama session.


These ideas can be adapted for all ages. Just remove some of the more complex emotions for younger actors! And of course feel free to be creative and come up with your own ideas of how to use 20 Dreams in the Drama arena.


1: Play 20 Dreams

  • Play a game of 20 Dreams with players acting out their dreams.

  • You will most certainly need the timer for this one as the enthusiastic thespians will enjoy centre stage!

4: Choose, Build, Create

  • Spread emotion cards and picture cards around the space.

  • Then invite everyone to walk around, look at the cards and then to pick a card they like.

  • Use the card as inspiration to help them build a character. Ask questions like: How old are they? What might they wear? What food do they like? etc.

  • As they are moving round the room invite them to greet one another in character.

  • Hot seat each character.

  • Split into groups of four, give each group four picture cards 

  • The group then devises a play which includes their characters and reference to the four picture cards.

2: Show Some Emotion

  • Each actor picks an emotion card randomly. 

  • Improvisation begins with two people and then the others join in one by one.

  • Each actor plays a character who is in the emotional state written on their card.

  • Once the improvisation has ended the group works out who played what emotion.

5: Dreaming


  • The whole group sits in a circle

  • Three picture cards are drawn and one emotion card.

  • The first person starts with “Last night I had a dream”

  • Each member of the group says one improvised sentence to build up the dream

  • All three picture cards must be referred to and the emotion conveyed.

  • The dream can be ended with the sentence:

  • And I woke up feeling….

  • Everyone says together the emotion named on the card.

3: Fairy Tales & Other Stories

  • Split into groups of four actors.

  • Each group picks three picture cards randomly

  • Using the three picture cards they spend 10 minutes together creating a fairy tale in three scenes, a beginning, a middle and end.

  • One member of the group is the director the others become actors.

  • The story is rehearsed and then performed in front of the other groups.

6: Pretend To Be Game

  • Everyone finds a space in the room

  • Both picture cards and emotion cards can be used for this

  • The leader randomly picks a card and calls out

  • eg. Be a sports car, or be hysterical 

  • Everyone becomes that object or emotion for a few seconds

  • A whistle might be needed to freeze people before they move onto the next card.


The Creative Writing Department

Our 20 Dreams creator loves creative writing and 20 Dreams can be used in numerous ways to help young or older writers tap into their imaginations and create something uniquely theirs. It is also a great way of helping unconfident writers realise they can create something amazing! 


Here are some literary challenges you might want to introduce to develop creative writing skills.








Either pick a random card for the whole class to work with or allow each pupil to choose their own picture card to inspire a Limerick poem.


There once was a man from Cheam

Who had an incredible dream

He woke up and cried

I’m really inspired 

And left with a bag and a dream.




Choose three picture cards and invite writers to come up with their own Haiku Poem inspired by the pictures.

  • In Haiku you have three lines to create a poem 

  • The whole poem has a total of 17 syllables. 

  • The first and last lines have 5 syllables. 

  • The second line has 7.


Water, tap, tree


The sea crashes down

The tap drips with a slow drop

alone the tree stands

For a bit of fun and to encourage creativity ask your writers to change the lyrics to Twinkle Twinkle little star by replacing the main character of the star with one of the picture cards.

You will need to only use the picture cards that have one-syllable names.

Always begin your song with the words Twinkle twinkle little…… if the group is enthusiastic then you can sing your new Twinkle twinkle poems at the end of class!

Twinkle twinkle little cat, now I know just what you’re at, glaring at me from afar, lying underneath my car, twinkle twinkle little cat, now I know just what you’re at.

  • Choose three picture cards and one emotion card

  • Invite your writers to come up with a story which is 4 sentences long, each sentence should include a reference to one of the cards


Eg. Picture cards: Castle, Stocks, Rose

Emotion card: Surprise.


I dreamt that I was locked in a castle.

Down below I could see a beautiful girl locked in the stocks.

I threw a rose out the window and it landed at her feet.

She twisted her head, smiled, turned into a butterfly and flew away.

  • You may need 2 packs of 20 Dreams for this depending on the size of your class

  • Each class member randomly picks three cards and one emotion card

  • They then have 20 minutes to write a dream story using all the cards but not mentioning the emotion. (Some groups may need more or less time, and some individuals may need some help) 

  • Starting the story with “Last night I had a dream” and ending it with “And I woke up feeling….?” The emotion needs to be expressed in the story.

  • In pairs or three’s, each writer reads their story to the others, the others have to try and work out what the emotion is from their story.

  • Any brave candidates may want to read their story to the whole group!

  • Each writer gets three pieces of A4, on one they write the word beginning, on another, they write middle and on another end.

  • Three picture images from 20 dreams are chosen for the whole class to use. 

  • They are shown to the class and placed in the order, beginning, middle and end.

  • Each writer then creates a story using each image as inspiration for each section.

  • A short paragraph is written on each A4 page.

  • All the A4 beginning paragraphs are all passed to the left

  • All the A4 ending paragraphs are all passed to the right

  • The new stories are compiled in the right order and read out to the whole class.


Encouraging Emotional Availability in Education

The following exercises can be used in registration time, for extracurricular activities, detentions or any other moment where you think your class or an individual might need to take a breather and talk about how they feel. They are also great exercises to use in social science or psychology classes to explore difference and the language of feelings and their expression.

Smiling Student in Lecture
Meetup Event
  • Gradient


    Playing 20 Dreams

    One To One

    20 dreams is a great collaborative game to play with a single student who may be struggling for whatever reason, it will help build a relationship, break down inhibitions, encourage creativity and also develop emotional language skills, and because you are playing together there is teamwork and equality involved.

  • Ocean


    Quiet Reflection

    Invite individuals to privately write their own definitions of each of the 20 Dreams emotions from their own experience and leave blank the emotions they don’t connect with.


    E.g. I am happy when ….. I am sad when…

  • Wave


    Art and Emotions

    • Give each student 5 pieces of A4 paper

    • Ask them to fold each piece into four and then open them out again.

    • Shuffle the emotion cards

    • Invite the students to draw anything, symbols or words that come to mind when they hear the emotion being readout. Use a new box on their A4 paper for each emotion.

    • Read out the emotions one by one and give them time in between to do their drawing.

    • Emphasise that this is not about creating a perfect piece of art, it is about expressing something on paper, which can include scribbling.

    • For an older group, you may want to ask them to draw with their non-dominant hand as this will encourage the right brain to be more active.

  • Marble Surface


    Likes and Dislikes

    • Show or describe the picture cards one by one 

    • Invite people to move to the left of the room if they like the image, or to go to the right if they don’t or the middle if they are indifferent.

    • Make sure you let them know there are no rights and wrongs and to go with their gut feelings, Encourage participants to just be interested in how they react. 

  • Pink to Orange Gradient


    Start The Day

    • This exercise could be repeated weekly or even daily, remember structure and continuity is so important, it may take a while for students to get into this but once they get it they will love it.

    • You may need to print off enough sets of emotions so each pupil has their own set to use.

    • Invite each student to pick a card which represents how they woke up feeling today, go round the group to check in with everyone and acknowledge each emotion, students don’t need to say anything if they don’t want to, they can just show their card. 

  • Mountain Range


    End The Day

    • Again this exercise could be repeated weekly or daily.

    • Invite each student to pick two emotions which they have experienced during the day.

    • Either invite them to write it down or just to say it.

    • Today I felt …. Because

    • Try and encourage them to choose one positive and one negative emotion, but if they can’t let them choose two similar emotions and acknowledge either they have had a very bad day or a very good one!

  • Leaf


    The Emotion Tree

    • This is an exercise which could be done over time, each student could have a large piece of paper to work on. 

    • Using the emotions from 20 Dreams, but also encouraging students to add more of their own emotions to it, invite them to draw an emotion tree where different parts of the tree represent different emotions they know they have experienced. 

    • Encourage them to get as wide a range of emotions on the tree as possible. This could be worked on overtime.

    • The tree can be referred to regularly and the student asked where they might be on the tree today.

    • Each student could make a small cut out of themselves to stick onto the tree which can be moved around.

    • If working one to one, you could invite the student to place themselves on different parts of the tree and wonder how it feels to move from angry to happy, for example.

    • If the student struggles to draw then use the 20 dreams tree as a template, enlarge it and write the emotions on it with the student's direction as to where each emotion should go.

  • Purple - Blue Gradient


    Adding Colour

    • Print off the black and white version of the game.

    • Invite students to choose one emotion and one picture image.

    • Give them a range of colours to colour the cards.

    • As they are colouring you might want to go round and ask them why they chose the image and emotion. Help them to think about any connections they can make. E.g I chose the snake because they scare other people. Affirm their choice even if it seems negative. 

    • End the colouring break by asking if their image and emotion could speak what would they say to them today.

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