Erica Marx

Categories (5 things)

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A category is created and one person gives 5 things in that category. 



People declare with confidence

Group support


From Ted's blog (I use 5 things because the answers get more creative once you get past 3 things and people let go of their stress)

One leader then starts the game off by naming someone in the group and asking that person to name 5 things that fit a particular category. “5 brands of cars!” “5 things you’d find at the back of your closet!” or “5 terrible excuses for showing up late!” could all work. As quickly as possible the receiver generates a response and the the group responds by says "ONE" in unison, enthusiastically and point toward the center of the circle. They offer a second and the group loudly says "TWO", then THREE, then FOUR, then "THESE ARE 5 THINGS"

Variation: The person says 3 things consecutively and with authority. When that person has finished, the group again chants “Three things!” and the person who just responded gives a category to the next person.


Maybe the answers will end up fitting the category “appropriately;” maybe they won’t. Or maybe the same answer will come out twice in one round. It’s all good. The crucial key: generate and celebrate the quick response. You’re trying to access a type of wisdom that comes before cognitive planning.

Some folks will lessen the tension of the challenge by adding in a little preamble before each response. Maybe they repeat the category or toss another time-staller in: “For military vehicles, I would choose a tank. I would choose a jeep. And I’d go with a Navy Destroyer.” Much better—and more rewarding to just say “Tank! Jeep! Destroyer!”

Responders can build their own confidence by counting with authority on their fingers. Other players can help out by nodding or adding in small, affirmative sounds: “Mm-hmm; yes; right, of course,” though they don’t want to get so loud as to draw attention from the person on the spot.

While you don’t want to get stuck on “accuracy”—it doesn’t really matter if a response fits the category—players should at least try to have the responses fit. Throwing out completely random words misses the point here.

More abstract categories can stimulate a little more creativity—and a lot more laughs. “Three vegetables you’d find at the grocery store!” will work fine. “Three unpublished Harry Potter titles” might generate even more.

Unlike most of the other spontaneity exercises where we’re trying to keep our minds fresh, this one’s actually a game where it can be OK to plan ahead in forming categories.

Someone else in the group adds a character category "As a mouse/banker/6-year old" once the category is created.
Someone else in the group add an emotion 
5 ways instead of 5 things (5 ways to get to work)

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