The great thing about getting older is that you don’t lose all the other ages you’ve been.

Madeline L’Engle, Author A Wrinkle in Time

This is why I believe kids’ toys and games work so well as stimuli when talking with adults. One of my favorites? A brand new box of crayons. Regardless of age or gender, a smile spreads across the face of even the most reserved respondent upon opening that box of 64 perfectly-pointy, rainbow-hued Crayolas. Even the smell is evocative. People relax, are ready to play along, and to unleash imagination with the instruction to “pick a crayon that somehow relates to your thoughts or feelings about …”

A rich, multi-dimensional dialogue almost always ensues where there otherwise may have been a one-line response. I love this as a quick opening or change of pace exercise that immediately gets down a number of layers.