The Source for Youth Ministry

Matt Furby's Top 10 Up-Front Games:

I work with Riptide, Bayside Church's junior high group. We've got a decent sized room that we share with other ministries. We have a pretty large attendance of students weekly with a couple hundred students sitting in chairs, so we rely heavily on up-front games during our Sunday morning programming.

Here is a list of games that I love to play. Many of them you will see are either gross to watch or are gag-based. (What can I say... we work with jr. high!) So consider carefully which students would be okay to play these games with.

Matt Furby, Bayside Church, CA

Number 1: Ice Cream Mayo Surprise
This gross game is played up front with a few people while the crowd watches. Ahead of time, buy cheap vanilla ice cream and a jar of cheap mayonnaise. Put the mayo in a Tupperware dish and freeze. (Mayonnaise, when frozen, looks exactly like vanilla ice cream.)

Before the contest, scoop out some ice cream into a bowl and do like wise to mayo. Keep frozen until the last minute.

Set the contest up as just a typical ice cream eating contest, hands behind their backs, etc. The look on the person who eats the frozen mayo is priceless.

Have towels & a small bucket ready.

Number 2: Egg Roulette
This game is played up front with a few people while the crowd watches.

Get several dozen eggs. Hard boil half of them and leave the other half raw.

Bring up 4 to 6 kids and divide them into pairs.

First round: Each partner alternate picking an egg and smashing it on the other person's head. You may want to do two rounds and a final round. Just plan the appropriate number of eggs you need before hand.

In the final round, have 6 eggs (5 hard-boiled and 1 raw) and hold them in a bowl above their heads to pick.

Number 3: Funnel Penny Gag
Take a funnel and shove the small end down the front of your pants so the wide end is facing up. Put your head back, place a penny on your forehead and close your eyes. Tilt your head forward, dropping the penny off of your forehead and into the funnel.

Challenge the group that no one in the audience can do that three times in a row. Emphasize the steps: Penny on forehead, tilt back, close eyes, pause for a second or two, tilt forehead forward again dropping the penny in the funnel. Emphasize that the hard part is that you need to keep your eyes closed and pause for a second when you're head is tilted back.

Pick a student who is the most eager to prove you wrong (make sure they're a good sport). Set it up for the kid and emphasize how much you must close your eyes for at least three seconds before dropping the penny in. On the student's third try, pour a huge glass of ice water down the funnel (make sure that the funnel has a big enough opening to allow good water flow)!

Number 4: Balloon Shave
3 or 4 kids race to shave a balloon. First put shaving cream all over the balloons. The trick is that when the balloon breaks, the shaving cream goes all over — so be prepared. A little nick put on the razor's edge before hand will assure that the balloons will break.

Variation: Water Balloon Shave - 3 couples come to the front of the room. The boys sit in chairs facing the audience and hold a large water balloon on their heads. Their girl partners cover the balloons with shaving cream, and with a razor, try to "shave" all the cream off of the balloon without breaking it. Whoever is the first to succeed is the winner.

Number 5: Goldfish Walk
Tell a story of how you once had a goldfish. Make it a very sentimental story, ending with the saddening death of the fish. Really engage your students in the trauma of going through an experience like that. You want the students to really feel how sad it is when a little goldfish dies.

Ask for two volunteers. You'll hold up a fishbowl with about 15-20 live goldfish in it. Tell the volunteers that their job is to protect these goldfish.

You'll have a tarp already spread out on the ground, and explain to the volunteers that you are going to take the goldfish out of the bowl with a fishnet, and put them on the tarp. And while you'll be doing this, they will have a blindfold tied around their neck. Now you take the fishnet and take one fish out and put it on the tarp. Explain to the volunteers that their job will be to walk slowly across the tarp, toe-to-heel, from one end to the other and back, and the person to kill the least amount of goldfish wins. (NOTE: Hey Marlin Perkins! Keep reading... you won't harm any goldfish with this game)

As the volunteers are now being blindfolded, you'll pick up the goldfish and place it back in the bowl with the others. You'll then take two cans of mandarin oranges and dump them onto the tarp, spreading them around. The more the better. Motion to the students watching to make "awww" sounds, as if you're actually putting the goldfish on the tarp.

It is a beautiful sight to see the volunteers being so careful, and how sad they look when they step on a "goldfish."

Items needed:
1 Tarp
15-20 Live goldfish in a fishbowl
1 Fishnet
2-4 Cans of mandarin oranges
2 blindfolds

Number 6: Cheeto Face
Arrange several groups of two up front. One partner gets whipped cream spread (or sprayed) all over his or her face. The other partner stands back about 5 feet and throws Cheetos on the whipped creamed partner's face (they stick!) in a given amount of time. Whoever ends up with the most Cheetos on his or her face wins.

Number 7: Clothespins on Face
Get four students up front with many clothespins (have at least 50 clothespins for each volunteer). They have one minute to put clothespins all over their face. The one with the most clothespins at the end of the designated time is the winner.

No hooking on jewelry, glasses or hair, just to their face. (i.e. eybrows, nose, cheeks, lips, ears, forhead...

Number 8: Baby's Thanksgiving Meal
Ask for three contestants for this game. They will come up to have a thanksgiving meal eating contest. After they are up on stage, explain to them that the twist in this game is that the meal will all be baby food. You can buy turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, and yams all in babyfood jars. The first to eat all three jars of food wins.

Number 9: Marshmallow on a String
Four contestants are each given a marshmallow tied to the end of a string. The other end of the string has a knot on it. The knotted end of the string is placed in the student's mouth, with the marshmallow dangling freely. The game is a race to pull the marshmallow to the mouth, without the use of hands. The first student to get their marshmallow, eat it, and spit out the empty string wins. Certain rules against cheating would include that against swinging the marshmallow up in the air and catching it the mouth, letting the marshmallow rest on the ground and picking it up with the mouth, etc.

Number 10. Flower (Flour) Girl
You begin the game by announcing you're going to have a kissing contest (the looks you get from workers are the best.)

Have 3 pretty girls come and stand at the front of the room. You tell the guys that they'll walk in one by one and ask each girl, "Are you my flower girl?" If she shakes her head "no", he goes to the next girl. If she nods "yes," he kisses her. The audience will cheer for the best kisser.

Select three guys (good self esteem & good sports). Then send the guys outside the room and explain the REAL rules. The last girl in the group of three will be the one who nods her head "yes." When the guy gets real close, ready to kiss her, she blows a mouth full of flour into his face (put the flour in her mouth and wipe it all off her face so he has no idea.) Have towels handy for clean-up.


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