Five Joyful Things

An Improv Therapy Group adaptation of the warm-up game Five Things


With all of the stress and struggles in the world today, especially for those in recovery, I like to begin an improv therapy class with something positive. Something that reminds us to be grateful for even the small joys in our lives. 


Students are in a circle. I say, “We’re going to each share five joys: five things that make us happy. These can be big important things like family or they can be small joys like apple pie. Because we support each other, and we have each other’s backs, we’re going to count along with you. After you say your first thing, we say ‘one’. After your second thing, we say ‘two’ and so on until you reach five. Then we all chant ‘(slowly) Five things, (quickly) Five things Five things Five things (slowly) Five things.’” I also ask them to say their name first, so a typical turn goes something like this:


Rhonda: I’m Rhonda, and I like summertime 

Ensemble: One!

Rhonda: sour candy

Ensemble: Two!

Rhonda: penguins 

Ensemble: Three!

Rhonda: my brothers

Ensemble: Four!

Rhonda: And playing tennis

Ensemble: Five things

    Five things Five things Five things 

     Five things 

In improv, as in life, you can’t be wrong if you make I statements. You can always say what you (or your character) is thinking or feeling. Sharing five joys is a positive way to practice expressing ourselves.