The Source for Youth Ministry

Games & Icebreakers

Big Room Games
Games for those of us with a big facility

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Back to Top 12 Days of Christmas
Note: It is great to have a live band for this game, but it is not completely necessary. A CD and CD player will work.

We told the audience to huddle together in 12 different groups. The groups can be of any size, as long as they are relatively the same size. Each group is assigned one gift from the song. For instance, a partridge in a pear tree, 9 lords a leaping, etc. As we played and sang the song “12 days of Christmas” the kids in each group had to act out what was sung in that verse as the leader pointed to them. The group needs to come up with their own actions or routines, etc. The game lasts as long as the music does, of course.

You may want to give a prize to the group that comes up with the funniest, best, most original gesture for the “gift” that they are assigned.
Back to Top 4-Square DodgeBall
Use tape to create four large squares on the floor. Then divide your group into 4 teams. Now play Dodge-ball.When a player "gets out", they join the square that got them out. Add more balls in as the game goes on to add more madness. Game is over if all players get into 1 square.
Back to Top A-maze-ing!
Choose two competitors. One is taken out of the room. The other has 1-3 minutes (depending on the size of your group) to arrange a maze, using all the people in the room. The maze can be as creative and complicated as he/she wants as long as there are a beginning and an end.

After the maze is arranged, bring in the second person who is now blindfolded and let them go. See how long it takes them to make it to the end of the human maze.

Repeat the process switching the two competitors.

Variation: Especially if you have a small group (under 30) use chairs as well as people to create the maze.

The Point: You could use this game as a kickstarter with a discussion about friends leading you down the wrong path or finding God's will.

Important Note: Do not play this game if you have a rough group of kids. They may hit or trip the blindfolded person as they are trying to find their way through the maze and it could quickly become violent (too much like the game of Gauntlet).
Back to Top American Football Futbol
This is a simple, straight forward game and is played exactly like soccer, with two main differences.

1) There is no goalie
2) The ball of choice is an American football.

The rest of it is just craziness in watching a bunch of kids run around and try to score with a ball that bounces in some very odd ways.
Back to Top Amoeba Race
Supplies: Long lengths of rope AND a predetermined track/course.

Divide your group in teams of at least 5 or more. The larger the team size, the more difficult it is. Tie the rope around the entire team at waist level. Make the rope as snug as possible without hurting the students.

Put them on the obstacle course and turn them loose. Teams can be timed during their running of the course, or you can actually have a couple of teams race! The key is to work together as a team to accomplish a common goal.

NOTE: The course can be inside or outside, just make sure the route/course is a safe one! Also, make sure it is clearly defined. It would be a significant bummer for a team to get “lost” because the course was not outlined properly.

See also Blob Tag (Click Here) and Can-Can (Click Here).
Back to Top Ask The Sage
A good game for jr high. Ask several volunteers to agree to be "Wise Sages" for the evening. Optional: Ask them to dress up and wait in several different rooms in your facility. The farther apart the Sages are the better.

Next, prepare a sheet for each youth that has questions that only a "Sage" would be able to answer. They can be fun, silly, serious or related to your talk. But students must ask exactly the way the questions are phrased. Each Sage should have the answer to only one or two questions.

Give out your question sheet and a pen to each student. They must look for the Sages throughout the building. They are allowed to open the door and check to see if a Sage is there. If there is, they must close the door and petition the Sage to grant him or her an audience. They do this by saying these exact words..."OH GREAT WISE SAGE, MAY I ENTER?" If they fail to say this phrase, the Sage will say something like, "You have not asked correctly," and tell them to come back later. Students must go from Sage to Sage and cannot go to the same Sage twice in a row.

Once a student gains an audience with a Sage, he or she may ask a question. If the Sage does not know the answer to their question, the Sage should say something like, "I truly do not know." In that case, the student should make note not to ask that Sage the same question again.

If the Sage knows the answer, then the student marks a correct answer on his/her sheet. The first student with all the answers wins.

The Point: This game stretches youth to think before speaking and be deliberate with their words.

Added by Shane Peters
Back to Top Balloon Defense
Buy two different colored balloons, 25 to 50 of each for two teams of play. Choose colors according to the closest holiday or anything relevant (opposing school colors if you're in a small town).

Form two teams. Each team must defend its treasure (a pile of balloons) while attempting to steal or destroy the other team's treasure. Use one color of balloons for one team, and another color for the other team. Designate a time period (five to 10 minutes) to play the game. When the time ends, each team's unpopped balloons count 100 points each. Stolen, unpopped balloons count 200 points each.

Depending on your team, this can be either played as a Capture the Flag style game, or just all out full contact. Have fun with this game, and make it your own!

Also see Busted (Click Here) and Balloon Master (Click Here).
Back to Top Balloon Soccer
Set up two teams giving each a bunch of balloons. Each team has only one color balloon. The goalie for each team stands opposite his team in front of a large container or even a taped of section of the "field", much like an end zone. The teams try to get their balloons to their goal and into the container/end zone while keeping the other team's balloons out by popping, etc. No hands are allowed of course; this is soccer!

Also see Balloon Defense (Click Here)
Back to Top Barbarians (hyped-up Capture the Flag)
Teams of 4 are competing against each other to get the other teams' gold and to capture other team's' players, and put them in your jail.

Using two ropes, or red surveyor's tape, divide the field into 4 sections. Each section has one prison area, which is marked off with either ducttape or surveyor's tape. Each section also has a "gold depot" which is marked using hula-hoops or tape. Each team has their own color, which is a flag strip tucked into the front of each player's pants. Every team gets an equal amount of "gold" to start the game, which is white socks, gold socks, and 1 gray work sock.

Start of Game:
When whistle blows, teams begin the attack. Another team can only catch you if you are in their section; likewise, you can only catch others in your own section (if you are "green" and you run into the "red" section, then you run across to the "yellow section, red can no longer capture you, but yellow now can). When you capture another team member, take their flag and report to the middle of the field to the scorekeeper, then return flag to the person in your prison.

In addition to capturing opposing team players, you are also trying to get their "gold", without getting caught. You can only take 1 gold piece at a time, and if you are caught inside an opposition section, you must return gold to that team (no throwing gold into your own section).

What Happens When Caught:
Having your flag removed by another team player inside their section gets you caught. When this happens, you report to their prison area and can only get out of prison if a teammate tags you out, without getting caught themselves. If your teammate gets caught trying to free you, they must join you in the jail area. Once you successfully get tagged out, you and your teammate get a free passage back to your section. NOTE (the game coordinator may call "jailbreak" and free everyone in jail in all the sections at any given time, usually when there is a lop-sided number of players in prison).

How the Game is Won:
The game is won by accumulating points for every prisoner your teammates catch, and for each piece of "gold" left at the end of the game. You can run out of gold during the course of the game, but still get points by capturing prisoners and trying to grab other gold from enemy sections. The team with the most accumulated total points at the end is the winner.

Score Keeping:
White Socks- 3000 points each
Gold Socks- 5000 points each
Gray Socks- 10,000 points each
Prisoners- 1000 each player

Supplies Needed:
Large, open playing area
2 Ropes (100+ feet each is ideal)
4 different colored flags, one for each section
White, yellow, gray socks
Bean bag fill for each sock
Scorers pad and pen
Duct tape and/or hula-hoops
Red surveyors or caution tape

Added by Shawn McKnight, Mississauga

Also see Capture the Flag with Spies (Click Here).
Back to Top Basketball Fire Drill
Great to play on a full-size basketball court outside or in a church with a gym (multi-purpose facility) which has two baskets.

Divide the group into a number of teams that is one more than the number of baskets you have. The extra team gets a basketball. Each of the other teams is assigned a basket to defend. When the game starts, following basic basketball rules, the team with the ball attacks one of the defended baskets. If the attacking team scores a basket they take the ball with them and attack the next basket located counterclockwise in the gym. If the defending team gains possession of the ball before the attacking team scores, the defending team becomes the attacking team and moves to the next defended basket. The team that just lost the ball stays at that basket and defends it from the next attack.

Repeat this pattern until time expires. For extra mayhem, pick teams so there are initially two extra teams so that there are always two baskets being attacked. Be sure your good basketball players are spread among the teams.

Added by Gary Slater

Also see Basketball GIGANTE (Click Here).
Back to Top Basketball GIGANTE
Get 2 carpet roll tubes (12 foot cardboard tubes). You can get them from any carpet company or store. You also need a big cage ball (earth ball or Omnikin ball-72").

*If you don't have one, here are some sites that sell them. I haven't used these companies before so purchase at your own risk.

For Shape Up Click Here. Once on this site go to the bottom of the screen and select "Kids and Games" and then choose "Giant Cage Balls."

For Wolverine Click Here. If you go to the category for Wolverine Sports and then type in cage balls under the search section you will be brought to the right page.

This is simple: you hang the tubes horizontally from the gym ceiling with some rope (one rope on each end, like a pull-up bar) and the kids must get the ball through the goal (over the tube and between the ropes).

We play this game in our gym with up to 175 kids.

Submitted by Mike

Also see Basketball Chinese Firedrill (Click Here), Earthball Blowout (Click Here), & Tubemania (Click Here).
Back to Top Bible Trivia Twister
Bible trivia questions
2-4 twister mats
Bibles to look up tough questions

Instructions: Divide the room into a boys' side and girls' side. Each team has one or two twister mats (depending on the group size). Have each side pick three players for each twister mat. Get the players in position by spinning the twister board four times (rt foot red, lt foot green etc.). Then have a youth leader call out the bible trivia questions. The non-twister mat teamates have to yell the answer before the other team answers. If the boys' team gets the right answer, then the girls' team has to move positions (if right hand blue, etc is called, all the girls move right hand blue), and vice versa. Whichever side has the last person standing is the winner!

Added by Jessica Starling

Also check out Bible Books Puzzle 1 (Click Here), 2 (Click Here), and 3 (Click Here).
Back to Top Big Balloon Bop
Go to your local art or party supply store and buy several of the biggest balloons they carry. (16" are cool, 3' are better). Divide the crowd in two. Have numerous staff throw the balloons in the crowd and have the crowd try to hit the balloons to the other side of the crowd.

A fun twist to the game is, when done, tell the kids to pop the balloons and have either numbers or tokens in a few of the balloons, to make a those students stand out from the rest. Bring the kids with the numbers or tokens up front to use in an up-front game or to give a prize to.

Also see Balloon Squash (Click Here).
Back to Top Big Squeeze, The
Easy game for a big group (minimum 20). Quickly divide into 2-4 teams (more people, more teams) and announce that each team will be racing to squeeze into the shape of the item mentioned. For example: if the leaders yell out the word "football" the teams must squeeze into the shape of a football as would be seen from above. Keep score- first team to 10 wins.

Like Body Parts (Click Here), play fun music in the background as people regroup. As soon as you pause the song, yell out the shape and watch them scramble to group up.

Good Squeeze Shapes (Squeeze into the shape of . . .)
A dog
A pair of sunglasses
A baseball bat
A shark
A map of the U.S.A.
Your youth group leader

The Point: Teamwork, cooperation
Back to Top Black Light Basketball
Get two black lights and set them up at mid-court. Have everyone wear a white shirt that night. Mark one team with electrical tape on their shoulders so they know who has what team.

Make sure to get a glow-in-the-dark basketball and then hang red glow sticks on one rim and green glow sticks on the other rim. Caution: the first time I tried this I used a normal basketball wrapped in reflective tape but the tape just reflected the black in the black light.

If you have the budget, order lighted basketballs from

Added by Mike Valovcin

Also see Black Light Dodgeball (Click Here) and Black Light Volleyball (Click Here), as well as the glow-in-the-dark version of these games (Click Here).
Back to Top Black Light Dodgeball
Hang black lights in the gym and use black light reflective tape on the court lines and the balls (spray paint can fade by the end of the game, then you can't see the balls).

Have the kids wear white shirts and socks so they have clear targets to hit with the balls. Provide glow bracelets, if possible.

Added by Lisa Baer

Also see Black Light Volleyball (Click Here) and Black Light Basketball (Click Here), and also check out the Glow-in-the Dark versions of all these games (Click Here). Another dodgeball game to check out is Dodge the Rolling Balls (Click Here).
Back to Top Black Light Volleyball
Hang black lights in the gym. Instruct all participants to wear all black and bring an extra pair of white socks. Spray paint a volleyball with glow in the dark/black light sensitive paint. Play volleyball with the people wearing the socks on their hands and the lights off in the gym.

Provide glow bracelets if you want.

Added by Adam Gross

Also see Black Light Dodgeball (Click Here) and Black Light Basketball (Click Here), as well as the Glow-in-the Dark versions of all these games (Click Here).
Back to Top Blanket Roll
For a large group, this can be played as an upfront game, and with a smaller group everyone can play.

Only play the game on carpet! Give each 2-person team a blanket, folded in thirds, lengthwise. One person lays down on one end and rolls tightly in the blanket. Another person grabs the free end and pulls sharply to unroll the blanket. The person who rolls the farthest wins.
Back to Top Blind Dodge Ball
You need a big room or gym to play this one, as it requires the same amount of space as the original dodge ball game.

Divide your total group of students into two teams making sure there are equal numbers of guys and girls on each team. Then tell everyone to partner up within their respective teams. Give each two-some 1 (one) blindfold and tell them to choose which one will wear it. Give them a moment to put on the blindfolds.

At this point, you should have two teams comprised of multiple twosomes with one "seeing" person and one "blind" person in each twosome.

Place the dodge balls in the middle of the court just like normal. Also, everyone is on the court, both seeing and blind. At the start of the game, the seeing person can only tell the blind person where to go to get the balls in the middle. Once all the balls have been retrieved, the seeing people instruct their blind partner where to throw the ball, when to duck or dodge, etc. After the initial gathering of balls, seeing people may retrieve balls for blind people, but beyond that, they may not physically help them; they can only give verbal instructions.

The goal is for the blind people to throw the balls and hit the blind people on the opposing team. If the blind person gets hit, both he and his seeing partner are out of the game. If a seeing person gets hit, nothing happens. However, a seeing person may not intentionally block a ball from hitting his or her blind partner. If they do, that twosome is out.

Once a team has won, switch blindfolds within the twosomes and play again.

My kids loved this!!!

Idea by Dave P.
Back to Top Blind Man's Beach Ball Volleyball
Run a volleyball tournament using a beach ball instead of volleyball and hang a tarp over the net. The teams cannot see each other and don't always know when the ball is coming over. The beach ball makes it more fun because you don't need as much skill to hit it over the net.

You might want to move the serving line closer. To make it even more interesting we connected pairs of players with two rubber bands and wrist bands. Simply connect a rubber band to a wrist band then connect the rubber bands together. If the rubber bands break the play is stopped and the other team gets a point or the serve. You can have up to twelve people on a team (if you use the wrist band connectors).

Added by Kevin Konkol
Back to Top Blind Pinball
Blindfold several students. Strategically place several other students around the room. These students (except the contestant) are given a blown-up balloon w/a point value written in permanent marker. Play hyped music in the background.

On “Go!” contestants try to bump into the strategically placed students. When they bump into one, they take the balloon (which that student holds out in front) and tries to pop it. As soon as it’s popped, they move on to find another person and do the same thing.

At the end of 1 minute the contestant gets points according to the point values on the balloons they popped.

Also see Blind Tag (Click Here).
Back to Top Blind Tag
Conjure up something with a circumference of about 20 feet, (such as 2 tables pushed together or rope wrapped around 4 chairs). Blindfold two people and dress them in helmet and pads for safety. Put them on opposite sides of this circle. Both must always be touching it. Designate one to be "it" and have the bystanders shout to their favorite which way to go to catch or avoid being caught by the other. Beware of high-speed collisions.

One variation is to remove one of the two contestants and let everyone shout directions to the unsuspecting victim. Another variation is to have everyone silent and let the players listen for each other.

Added by Young Life

Also see Blind Pinball (Click Here).
Back to Top Blindfold Marco Polo Dogdeball
Blindfold half of your staff and give them each a dodgeball. Have them stand in the middle of the play area. Assign a second staff member to each blindfolded staff to be a ball fetcher. The blindfolded staff call out "Marco" in which every kid has to respond "Polo!" The blindfolded staff try to throw the ball at the kids. If they hit one the assistant staff removes them to a designated area and then fetches the ball. Last kid remaining is the winner.

If a student doesn't respond "Polo" he or she is automatically out.

If a student is hit or touches a ball at all he or she is out.

Also see Marshmallow Dodgeball (Click Here).
Back to Top Blindfolded Obstacle Course
Create an obstacle course (a playground works GREAT) and get your students or leaders to go in pairs. One from each pair is blindfolded, and the other will lead him or her through the obstacle course by using only their voice.

The Point: Team building; a good game for a leadership event.

Added by Scott Street

Also see Blind Kickball (Click Here).
Back to Top Blob Tag
Outdoor or Indoor. This game is a normal game of tag with an added twist. When "it" tags someone, the person becomes part of "it." Then the two of them must run hand in hand and catch their next victim who will join them. Last one caught by the "Blob" is the winner!

Also see Amoeba Race (Click Here).
Back to Top Box or Bucket
Silly outdoor or indoor retreat, camp, or group game. You need several (10-20) cardboard boxes (med-large), blindfolds, buckets, and water.

Blindfold a group of 8-10 people. Place them among the boxes and tell they have 2 minutes to form a wall around themselves using the boxes. The wall doesn’t have to be higher than one box, but it must go completely around the group.

The wall can’t have any openings larger than 3 inches. When time is up, for every gap in their wall wider than 3”, a bucket of water will be thrown on the group. Any member of the group inadvertently left outside the wall will receive his/her own bucket of water!

The Point: Team building!
Back to Top British Bulldog
Great game to release a lot of energy in the group. Divide into two teams and have them each get to one side of the room, divided by a line down the middle. The object of this game is for teams to try to convert members of the opposite team to their own team. How? Easy. A team member runs to the opposite team's side and tries to lift an opposite team member into the air. While lifting the opposite team member you must yell "British Bulldog!" If done successfully you both have "free walk" back to the lifter's original side, who just gained a new team member.

While on the opposite teams side, you of course can be lifted as well and converted to that team(if not on a free walk back). Winning team is the one that gets everyone.

Note: Be careful that participants don't drop each other on the ground after lifting. Also, have participants lift each other from the waist instead of underarms to avoid inappropriate contact.
Back to Top By The Seat of Your Pants Volleyball
Excellent indoor game for large groups in a large room, especially during rainy weather. Divide the group into two teams. Set up a volleyball net (or a rope across the room if you don’t have a net) so the top of the net is approximately 5 feet above the floor (shorter than the norm). Each player is instructed to sit down on his team’s side of the net so that his or her legs are crossed in front of them.

Because of limited mobility of each player a larger number of participants is suggested (20-25 per team). Use a beach ball, serve from the center of the group and don’t worry how many hits per side. Other than that . . . normal volleyball!
Back to Top Can-Can
Usually played outdoors or in a big room, but could be played in a smaller facility with smaller groups.

Imagine everyone in a circle holding hands, pulling and tugging, but not letting go . . . trying to get someone else to bump into the can-can. The result looks like an amoeba trying to force one part of it's body to go somewhere it doesn't want to go!

Here's how it's done: You don't want your circle to start bigger than about 25 people, so if you have a large group, have several circles going at once. All you need is a trash can. The taller the can, the better. Also, plastic ones are better than metal ones, and it's always better to find a trash can that hasn't had anything put in it (a clean one).

The participants get into a circle around the trash can and hold hands. If a player touches the trash can in any way, they are out. Also, if players break their grip on one another, they are both out. Play pauses after an elimination, giving a much-needed time for players to re-firm their hand-holds.

This game is tiring, and is an excellent way to tucker out ADHD jr. highers. Play until one person remains. If an elimination seems slow in coming, adding another trash can to the mix speeds up the game.

This game is a huge hit, and you can usually get good video footage as students who are pulled into the can will tend to jump or try to dodge it, while not letting go of the others' hands.

Added by James Conley

If you don't have a gargbage can, you can use pretty much anything else that stands on its own and wouldn't damage a student who slams into/through it.
Back to Top Capture the Flag with Spies
Outdoor or Big room. Same as normal Capture the Flag, except each team has a spy for the other team. Select teams with a stack of playing cards, all the blacks go on one side, red on the other.

Pre-arrange the deck for the number of players. For example, if you have 20 players, make sure there are 10 black cards and 10 red. Pre-assign a "spy card", and include one of each color. We used the #7. Red #7 started with the red team, but was a really "spy" for the black team (and vice versa).

During game play the spy has ONE chance to grab the flag and run it over to the other side. If he is caught, he is no longer a spy and must return to his PROPER side once freed from jail. Observe how the teams interact when they OFFER to be a flag guard...usually the boring job.

To make things more interesting, we made the playing field smaller than what we're used to and placed two flags on each side (one was pre-set, the other flag was placed by the team). Only one flag has to be taken across the center line to win the game.

Added by Matthew Seilback

Also see Barbarians (Click Here).
Back to Top Car Lot
This game is played like "Sharks and Minnows."

Choose a 'used car dealer' or two (put a pair of plaid pants on them for fun) and have them pick 3 different car names (ie: Honda Civic, Chevy Cavalier, and a 82 VW diesel Jetta - my personal favorite.)

Each runner picks one of these 3 cars, and becomes that car. The dealer yells out a car. Each car by that name sprints across the room. When you are tagged, sit. Now you may tag future cars. The dealer may yell "Car lot!", so everyone must run at the same time.

Object: Be the last car running, and become the new dealer.

Submitted by Jon Talley
Back to Top Catch Me If You Can!
This game needs 2 teams – min. 4 and max. about 7. You need a wide hall or space and a row of seats down the middle. The chairs must be evenly spread out and face two sides of the hall alternating direction (the first faces the right, the next faces left, and so on). The amount of chairs used will be determined by the amount of players you have. One team will sit on the chairs with one less chair than number of team members. The other team will be on the side waiting.

The game starts with the team on the side sending someone onto the floor. The person on the sitting team (who doesn’t have a chair) has to try and catch that person. However they are not allowed to cross the line of chairs. The person who is to be caught can go anywhere, so if they cross the line then the person that was chasing must then tap someone from their team who is facing the side of the hall the person who is running has fled too. If the person jumps back across the line of chairs then that person must tap someone facing the other way.

Once the person has been caught then the next person jumps in and continues until all have been caught.

Whichever team lasts the longest is the winner.

Added by Riverats Youth (Australia)
Back to Top Catch the Dragon's Tail
Big room & Outdoor game; good for picnics or big gatherings. No winner or loser.

Number of players: 10-30 kids
Playing Site: Large open area
Items needed: A large scarf or handkerchief
Time: 15-45 minutes
Object of the game: The first person in the line tries to catch the last person in line.

All the players line up and put their hands on the waist of the person in front of them. The last person in line tucks one end of the scarf in his back pocket, belt, or waistband. The first person in lines tries to grab the scarf.

When the "head" gets the "tail", he dons the scarf and becomes the new tail. The person second in line becomes the head.

Variation: Form two or more teams, each being a "dragon" trying to catch the others tail.
Back to Top Chariot Race
If you have a large group (say, 200 people), just select a few groups of 4 kids to do this chariot race in front of everyone else. If you have a small group, you might want to let everyone do it. For example, if you only have 15 kids, use 3 teams of 5.

Each group gets a large blanket. Each team lines up at the starting line. Two of the youth on each team are holding onto front corners of the blanket. One youth is sitting on the other end of the blanket, soon to be hanging on for dear life. At the signal, the teams race around a designated course (a large oval works well), the 2 youth in front acting as horses and the blanket acting as a chariot.

The race consists of three laps. At the end of each lap, the youth rotate, so one of the people riding now pulls, and one of the pullers now rides. 3 laps allows each person to ride once and pull twice. If a rider is thrown from his chariot, the team must stop until the rider is firmly reseated. Can be played inside on carpet and outside on the grass.

Added by Joshua Ellis

Variation: Chariot Basketball Relay
Line up all the students in 2 teams. On each team pair students up to run the
relay. On "Go" the first two pairs race toward the basket. One student pulls the other student on a blanket. The rider has one shot to make a basket. The pairs switch places and race back to the start of the line and tag the next pair on their team. The team with the most baskets at the end of the time limit wins.

Added by Jason Dougherty

Also see Chariot Race: Australian Style (Click Here) and Indoor Bobsledding (Click Here).
Back to Top Chariot Race: Australian Style
Divide your group into teams of 3. Arrange your playing area with a chair or marker at either end of your room or field. Teams must link arms, side by side. Spread the teams around the room, so they are not next to each other. The object of the game is to race around the markers in a circle - all teams in the one direction. If a team is passed by a team behind them then they are out. If any member of the teams’ arms becomes unlinked, that team is out. The team or teams (depending on time) still in at the end of your allotted time are the winners!

Added by Amanda from Australia

Also see Chariot Race (Click Here) on Outdoor page.
Back to Top Colored Cool Whip Rinse
For this game you need one container of Cool Whip per team, different colors of food dye, and a few Super Soakers.

Not long before you want to run the game, mix the food coloring with the Cool Whip making each container of Cool Whip a distinct color. (Use only real Cool Whip; imitations don't stick.) Also, keep it very cold - the Cool Whip will begin to melt and not stick if it is out of the fridge too long.

If you have a small group, just divide into equal sized teams. If you have a large group, bring up several teams of people.

This is a two-part game. For part 1, each group paints one member of the group in Cool Whip. You can judge who looks best if you want.

Part 2 is when the team rinses the Cool Whip off with the water gun. The best rinsed team wins. If indoors, use tarps. Offer a prize to the winning team.

NOTE: The food color could ruin clothes. You may want to have old clothes handy for changing into before the game gets started.
Back to Top Criss Cross
Divide into 4 teams. Send each team into a corner. The object of the game is to see which team can get to the opposite (diagonal) corner the fastest using the designated method that the leader calls out (eg. if the leader calls out "hopping," the teams must hop to the opposite corner). This will create quite a "bottleneck" or "traffic jam" in the middle each time. Keep score of which team wins each crossing. First team to 5 wins.

Good Crossing Methods:

Wheel barrel (one person holding a partner's legs while they walk on hands)
Crab Walk
Backwards Walk

You get the idea!!!

Also see Criss, Cross, Crash (Click Here) and TubeMania (Click Here).
Back to Top Criss, Cross, Crash
Safety Note: Be very careful - if you don't use good safety precautions, this could result in injuries.

Divide your crowd into two teams, each team in two groups for a relay. Line the teams up in four corners of the playing field, each team diagonal with it's partner team.

Give each group 2 or 3 tubes (depending on size). The first team member of each group (4 in total) must step into the tubes, pick them up (so they look like a Michelin Man) and run diagonal to their partner team. Of course their partner team and two opposing teams are running through the same intersection so look out! First team to switch all players across the diagonal one at a time is the winner.

Also see Criss Cross (Click Here) and Tubemania (Click Here).
Back to Top Dodge the Rolling Balls
This game requires a bunch of dodge balls, but it's really fun.

First, split your large group into small groups (if you have around 50, split them into 5 groups of 10).

Next make one big circle or square with all the people, and send one of the groups in the middle. The surrounding groups sit down while the group in the middle stands up.

Now the surrounding groups will roll all the dodgeballs towards the group in the middle, which will try to dodge all the balls coming at them in every direction. Once they get hit they are out. The last person standing is the winner.

After you have Group 1 go, have Group 2 take a turn, and so on. At the very end have all the winners come up to determine the super, ultra, mega winner.

Added by Guy Mono

Also see Black Light Dodgeball (Click Here) and Eternal Dodgeball (Click Here).
Back to Top Dodgeball Doctor (formerly Doctor Doctor)
Divide into two teams, each choosing a "doctor", or two for larger groups (their identity being secret).

Just like regular Dodge-ball, use a bunch of balls that are soft and throw them at each other. When someone is hit, they must sit. Here's where the doctor, just one of the players to the other team, may touch the injured and bring them back into play.

Hint: the players shouldn't just pop up when touched- this will give away the doctor. Also, we recommend a decoy touching kids as well. When the doctor is hit, the team's only hope is their skill.

The object: Eliminating the opposing team, including their doctor.

Added by Jon Talley

Also see:
Dodgeball Dragon (Click Here)
Earthball Blowout (Click Here)
Long Base (Click Here)
Opposite Arm Dodgeball (Click Here)
Sink The Bismark (Click Here)
Wet Toilet Paper Dodgeball (Click Here)
Back to Top Dodgeball Dragon
Have the entire group make a circle. Pick four to five people for each team. The first team goes into the center of the circle and forms a line by attaching their hands to the waist of the person in front of them. The people who make up the circle throw the ball at the "dragon", trying to hit the last person below the waist. Once hit, the last person returns to the outside circle and players continue to hit the new person at the end of the dragon until there is only one person left and they too are hit. A new team then goes into the middle. Time each team to see which one can last the longest.

Also see:
Blindfold Marco Polo Dodgeball (Click Here)
Dodgeball Doctor (Click Here)
Earthball Blowout (Click Here)
Long Base (Click Here)
Opposite Arm Dodgeball (Click Here)
Sink The Bismark (Click Here)
Wet Toilet Paper Dodgeball (Click Here)
Back to Top Dragon Run
This game works best for groups of 10 or more. The larger your group, the bigger space you need. Here’s how you play the game.

Split the group into even numbered teams and have the teams line up single file, holding the shoulders of the person in front of them. (You can have two teams, three teams, four….) Now, each team is a “dragon.”

The object of the game is to create the longest/biggest dragon. To do so, each team runs around the room with the first person of one dragon trying to tag the last person of another dragon. Once tagged, that person goes to the end of the dragon that tagged them, becoming the new “tail.” Incorporate a 10 second “no tag backs” moment so the dragons can distance themselves from one another after each tagging.

You can end the game one of two ways. First, when all people have been consumed into one dragon (which takes a long time), or secondly, by putting a time limit on the game and the dragon with the longest tail (most people) wins.

Note: The major rule in this game is that all kids must always be holding the shoulders of the person in front of them. This prevents a student from “breaking off” to chase after someone else.

Idea by Jackson
Back to Top Duck, Duck, Drip
Outdoor or Indoor game. Just like Duck, Duck, Goose except with a cup of water that the person drips, drips, drips then drops on the person they want to chase them around the circle!

Added by Amy Hackman

Also see Duck, Duck, Goose With a Twist (Click Here).
Back to Top Duck, Duck, Goose With a Twist
Outdoor or Indoor game. Play this childhood favorite just like Duck-Duck-Goose. Only, instead of just touching someone's head and saying "goose," you’ll crack an egg on their head. Gross, but good for the hair!

NOTE: Either forewarn your students to wear grubby clothes, provide wet washcloths and/or towels, or have garbage bags with holes to pull over their heads.

Added by Kyle Connell

Also see Duck, Duck, Drip (Click Here).
Back to Top Duct Tape Challenge
You can either run this game as an UPFRONT GAME, entertaining the audience, or divide your whole group into even teams and have each team select a volunteer - preferably a small, light one. Give each team a roll of duct tape. The object is to tape a team member up on to the wall, using no more than the provided role of tape. The one who stays up the longest is the winner. (At one event, a middle school kid was on the wall for 30 minutes!)

Hint: Make sure you use the tape that doesn't leave sticky stuff on the wall or tear off paint (especially in rented or borrowed facilities!) Provide a soft landing for youth as they drop off the wall!

Added by Michael Holt
Back to Top Dueling Jigsaws
This game is fun, but requires a little run around room. It’s best to do this in a facility that has a few hallways and extra rooms. Also, it works best for smaller groups.

Split your group into teams of about 5 students each. Make sure you have one jigsaw puzzle (24 pieces each is fine) for every group. Mix the pieces of the puzzles together and hide them throughout the youth department, a wing of the church, whatever works for you. Finally, give each team a box with the picture of their puzzle on it.

Tell them that the first team to complete their puzzle wins. Of course, they will have to go and find the pieces first.

1. Teams must stay together. Period.
2. If a team finds another team's puzzle piece, they must trade it if they have one of yours to trade.
3. You cannot carry more than 1 piece at a time. This keeps teams from finishing too quickly, and from crippling an opponent by gathering most or all their pieces.
4. If a team ends up with each team holding the other team's final piece (we did), they turn them into whoever is in charge and leave the area. Both pieces are re-hidden, so it's "sudden death." Whoever finds their piece first can go finish their puzzle.

NOTE: You could make this much more difficult by NOT giving them the puzzle boxes and having the first team to complete a puzzle win.

Idea by Mack D.
Back to Top Earthball Blowout
Here are several games you can play with an earthball (also called cage balls) or you could have an "Earthball Theme Night" and play them all.

Where to find an earthball: Once upon a time they could be ordered from a place called Gopher Sports at (800) 533-0446. Ask for a 72" cage ball. We are told that the earth (cage) balls from Gopher have a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Here are a couple of web sites which sell them as well - again, look for the 72" cage ball, with the cover. Sometimes covers are sold separately (I've never purchased from these places; purchase at your own risk).

Shape Up Click Here. Once on this site go to the bottom of the screen and select "Kids and Games" and then choose "Giant Cage Balls."

Wolverine Click Here.

Earth B-ball:
Staff hold earth ball in air until start. There are 2 Staff referees. Students try to push/hit earth ball to back board or rim. Send kids to "penalty bleachers" for 60 seconds if they grab the earth ball or kick.

Earth Crab Soccer:
Same as above only in crab position and with a staff person on each sideline, knocking the ball back into play. Send kids to "penalty bleachers" for 60 seconds if they stand up or sit up at all!

Steal the Earth:
Line up each team on sidelines and number them. Call numbers and they try to push/hit ball to designated open wall. Staff person must hold earth ball in air after number is called until students reach it.

One staff person patrol the side lines - control people actually sitting out!

Also see Death Ball (Click Here) Dodgeball Doctor (Click Here), and Dodgeball Dragon (Click Here).
Back to Top Egg Tic Tac Toe
Grab 9 staff or students prepared to get messy. Have the people get into a tic-tac-toe formation with plastic bags covering them as much as possible. (Use a tarp if indoors.)

* Break students into 2 teams (one team Xs and one team Os).
* Find a place where you can elevate the students way above the 9 volunteers (rooftops[careful],balconies, etc.)
* Have the teams take turns trying to hit one of the 9 with an egg and mark that square accordingly. If the student misses, they miss their opportunity to claim a square.
* First team to get 3 in a row, wins!!

Added by Brian Esola

Also see Egg Obstacle Course (Click Here) on Sick & Twisted page.
Back to Top Elbow Tag
Everyone pairs up in a circle. Pick 2 people to start the game - one of them will be "it". “It” chases the other person around the room. They can go inside or outside of the circle but it's a good idea to try to keep them close to the circle.

The person being chased tries to hook arms with one of the people who is paired up. If they hook arms before they’re tagged, then the person holding the opposite arm of the person who was being chased now becomes the one to be chased.

If the person who is it tags the person they are chasing, that person becomes it and tries to tag them back (think duck, duck goose).

This game has no winner but it's a blast and can be played on any time limit you want. Also, if you have someone who is having a hard time catching people, discreetly have a leader get tagged on purpose.

Idea by Brian Mitchell
Back to Top Elimination
This is either played outdoors in a field or in a gym.

One person is designated as "it" and is given a dodgeball. "It" then chases the rest of the group throwing the ball at them. If someone is hit they must sit down where they are hit. Once the ball is thrown, anyone may grab it and become "it." If the ball is caught, the thrower must sit down and the person who caught the ball is now "it." I normally state that to sit down the ball must hit you in the air and headshots do not count.

The twist is that someone who is sitting down can stand up and be back in the game if the person who hit them has to sit down. Therefore, the game does not end until 1 person ends up hitting every person (or until you call an end to the game due to time).

NOTE: If you play this game outdoors, make clear boundaries so the game does not spread out too much.
Back to Top Estrogen Hoop (Basketball)
Great, simple time-filler involving everyone. All you need is a basketball court and a ball.

Have everyone (up to 50 people) on the basketball court at once. If you have a huge group, you can have more than two teams, and play tournament/elimination style. Play normal basketball but with the following rules:

1. Only girls can shoot or score
2. No limit to how many people on the court
Back to Top Eternal Dodgeball
Dodgeball without boundaries, literally - every person for themselves. Typical rules apply - get hit, you're out; if your throw is caught, you're out. Here's the difference: when the person who gets you out gets out, you're back in. The catch: if you have the ball, you can't move (this eliminates the need for boundaries)

Added by Andy Unterholzner

Also see Dodgeball Doctor (Click Here), Dodgeball Dragon (Click Here), and Dodge the Rolling Balls (Click Here).
Back to Top Flashlight Dodgeball
Works best in a large gym. You need a few soft (nerf) balls and as many flashlights as you have people, if possible.

With all the lights turned out, give everyone a flashlight. The flashlights must stay on at all times. The person that is "it" gets the dodgeballs, BUT NO FLASHLIGHT!

"It" has to stay in the center circle and throws the balls at everyone else moving around. Have staff people patrolling the area fetching balls and bringing them back to "It".

The object of the game is to not get hit with the ball. If someone gets hit with the ball, touches the ball or kicks the ball when they are not "it", they become tagged and have to sit down. Students can use their flashlight to spot the person that is "it" or point out someone else that is hiding- but lights ALWAYS have to stay on. The last one standing is the winner.

Added by Ken Ferguson

Also see Glow-in-the-Dark Dodgeball (Click Here)
Back to Top Flashlight Grog
Take apart a flashlight into four separate pieces (base, bulb/lens, & 2 batteries). Choose 2 people to be the "grogs" and give them the pieces of the flashlight. Have them hide the flashlight pieces around the facility, but in plain sight. Turn off all the lights. The grogs will then try to tag people. The rest of the group will try to find the flashlight pieces while trying to avoid being tagged by the grogs. Once tagged the person is frozen until a teammate tags them to unfreeze them.

I usually set a time limit of 15 minutes and allow them to use cell phones as mini lights. If the team finds all the flashlight pieces in that time they win, if they do not, the "grogs" win.

  1. Make sure you set "out of bounds" like bathrooms, balcony, janitor closets, baptistry, pastor's office.... You know, the places you could get fired for having kids goofing off in! Putting up signs and locking these doors help a lot.

  2. Make sure the students do not get out of control and run into each other full speed in the dark hallways.

  3. Make sure you have enough chaperones to ensure no "making out" is going on.
Back to Top Fly Swatter Hockey
This game is a lot of fun to play, but you need an open space (preferably indoors). Make sure you have plenty of ping pong balls, and a fly swatter for every player.

Set Up
Put two goals on both ends of the room. They can be made of anything, just make sure they are about the size of a hockey goal (and the same size as one another!)

Split your players up into teams. Depending on the size of your room, it is best to play with 4 players and 1 goalie per team (5 players on each team, total). 10 kids running around with fly swatters tends to take up space!

The Game
Students must hit the ping pong ball into the opposing team’s goal to score a point. Most points after 3 minutes wins.

If you have multiple teams, the short time limit keeps students who aren’t playing from getting bored.

If you do have multiple teams, you can play tournament style if time allows.

The Rules
Players cannot touch the ping pong ball with their hands at all. They can kick it and hit it with their fly swatter, only.

They must use their fly swatter LIKE A HOCKEY STICK…ON THE GROUND. Do not allow students to swing them any higher than their knees. Otherwise, somebody could get hurt.

If a player hits another player with his or her fly swatter, they get 1 minute in the penalty box.

Have fun and be safe!
Back to Top Four Corners
This game can be played in any size room. Choose an assistant, preferably a leader, to come up front. The assistant will turn his or her back from the group or put on a blind fold. Then explain that the entire group must choose to stand in one of the four corners of the room which are numbered from 1 to 4. The assistant will then yell out a number from 1 to 4 and everyone in that corner must have a seat. Once those people have a seat people in the remaining 3 corners are given time to switch corners to any of the 4 corners. Then another number is yelled out and those students sit down.

Keep calling out corners and having them switch around until there is only one or a few people who are the winners. It gets the whole group moving and having fun and takes no preparation to play.

Added by Scott Williams
Back to Top Frugbee
This game uses the rubber flexible Frisbees that you can get at Wal-Mart for $2.00 each. It is played on a court, (I use the inside of my fellowship hall).

You need to create soccer-like goals. You can use masking tape at both ends of the court to do so. Place two chairs inside the goal so that the chairbacks face each other. Place a Styrofoam cup on each chair. Inside of the goal there should be a masking tape barrier in front of the chairs to prevent the goalie from hovering around the cups making the game unplayable.

Play: Divide into teams. Each team will need a goalie. Allow the teams some time to develop their own strategy as to how they will move the Frisbee down the court. Start the game by yelling "go" and throwing in one Frisbee. (You can also have the goalies throw other Frisbees into the game).

When a player gets a Frisbee they are ONLY allowed to take three steps and then must throw or toss the Frisbee to another player on their team. No grabbing directly from hands is allowed; when it happens, do a 'jump ball' or simply stop play and re throw it in. (Hand to hand passes usually rip the Frisbees and turns the game into a wrestling match)

Each team tries to move the Frisbees closer to their opponent’s goal and knock over the two cups. You get one point for each cup knocked over. Stop play after each goal and throw Frisbees in to start play again.

It gets interesting when you throw in additional Frisbees. You can add penalty shots, penalty box or whatever you want.

NOTE: You will want to purchase several of the rubber Frisbees for this game. They tend to become statistics in this game!
Back to Top Full Contact Freeze Tag
Fair warning: this could be the roughest version of “freeze tag” out there. But don’t let that scare you away; this version is a blast! Here’s what you do.

Give yourself some space indoors, perhaps a gym or large room. Choose a few adult leaders to be “it.” (How many you need depends on how many students you have. I recommend about 1 adult leader to every 5 students.)

Obviously, the goal of the adult leaders is to tag the students. When students are tagged they are frozen where they stand…and CANNOT be unfrozen. That’s right, they cannot be unfrozen. However, the students will be given several rubber balls to use during the game. If an adult leader is hit with one of the balls, they are frozen. However, another leader can unfreeze that frozen leader by tagging them. (Then that adult leader is free to start tagging more students again.) Hey, it’s fair. The kids have balls to throw!

Bottom line: when a student is tagged they CANNOT be unfrozen, BUT they can continue to throw the balls at adult leaders to freeze them. Adult leaders win if all the students are frozen, and the students win if all the adult leaders are frozen. Simple as that.

Have fun.

Idea by Andy T.
Back to Top Gator Ball
This is a game that is a combination of hockey, soccer and football. You will need two teams, two goals marked out, and a ball.
The basics of the game: You start the game out with the ball in the middle and one person from each team at the ball or "puck" in center. On "go" they have to use their hand as a hockey stick and get the ball between their legs to their team. At any point in the game, whenever the ball is on the ground it plays as soccer and whenever it is in air you can catch it and play it like football. Goalies can use their hands at any time.

Added by Kristen
Back to Top Geometry Test
Divide into as many teams of 5-10 as you want. Explain that this is a geometry test. Play hyped music in the background. All teams begin in a circle. When you yell out a shape, they must arrange themselves into it as quickly as possible.

Suggestions: straight line, square, rectangle, triangle, cone, pentagon, hexagon, octagon, cube, trapezoid.

The Point: Teamwork, goals, focus

Variation: “Marching Band Practice” – form into letters you call out.
Back to Top Glow-in-the-Dark Basketball,Dodgeball,Volleyball
Played like Black Light Basketball (Click Here), Black Light Dodgeball (Click Here), and Black Light Volleyball (Click Here); only you don't hang black lights. Instead, you use glow-in-the-dark balls (though for Dodgeball you can use regular balls).

If you have the budget, provide glow bracelets for everyone and order lighted basketballs from

Added by Jason "Human Gameboy" Goss

See also Glow-in-the-Dark Team Dodgeball (Click Here).
Back to Top Glow-in-the-dark Team Dodgeball
Can use regular dodgeballs.

Setup: Give each student two glow bracelets that are the same color, one
for each wrist.

Teams: Each team is based on the color of their bracelets. For an additional team, one team can have mixed colored bracelets.

Play: Then play dodgeball without boundaries and lights off. Every
team for themselves.

Rules: Get hit, you're out; if your throw is caught, you're out; if you
have the ball, you can't move.

Added by Jason "Human Gameboy" Goss

See Glow-in-the-Dark Dodgeball (Click Here), as well as Black Light Basketball (Click Here), Black Light Dodgeball (Click Here), and Black Light Volleyball (Click Here).
Back to Top Goblin
So you wanna juice up the old classic “freeze tag” do ya? Here’s one way to do that.

This version of the game is called Goblin and is played in the dark. All you need is one flashlight with batteries. (It can be any size flashlight…but it must work.)

Choose one adult volunteer to be the "goblin" and send all the students out of the room. After everyone leaves the room the “goblin” hides the flashlight pieces around the room. (For instance, the “goblin” can hide the flashlight body in one place, the lens in another, and the batteries in yet another place.)

The object is for the group of teenagers to come back into the room and find the flashlight pieces and then put the flashlight together without the “goblin” tagging them. The game works like freeze tag, in that, once a student is tagged, he/she must stop where they are until a "free" person un-tags them. The “goblin” wins if he/she tags everyone before the flashlight is completely put together. The group wins if they get the flashlight put together before everyone is frozen.

Note: Make sure the “goblin” hides the flashlight pieces on the surfaces around the room and not in or under something because that will make it INCREDIBLY difficult to find in the dark! Also, the goblin cannot guard the flashlight pieces.

Idea by Hannah
Back to Top Grab and Swat
This is our youth group's agressive version of duck duck goose.
Parts needed:
1 foam noodle cut in half (you'll use both halves).
1 5 gallon pickle buckett or trash can.

How to play: Have everyone stand in a circle but have them face towards the outside of the circle. Choose two youth to stand inside the circle, where the bucket is located. Give them each a noodle. The object of the game is for the student to swat someone and run back to the trash can, put the noodle in the trash can, and get back to where the person they swatted was standing, before they can grab the noodle out of the trash can and swat them back. If they are able to hit the student back, before they make it back to the spot, then the one who got swatted back is now in the mush pot, which is actually outside the circle, until someone who swats a player gets swatted back. If the student is able to swat the person, get the noodle back in the bucket, and make it back to that person's place without getting swatted back, then the other person is now "it" with the noodle.

This game is great because it really wears out the students, and the noodles don't hurt the students.

Added by Jeff Proctor
Back to Top Hug Fest
Instruct your whole group to walk randomly around the room. About every ten seconds or so, call out a number. Everyone in the game must immediately form a group hug made up of the number of people that you called.

This sometimes leaves some people unable to form a group because they don’t have enough people. They are out of the game. Repeat until you only have two people left and declare them the winners.

Like musical chairs, play upbeat music between calling out numbers.

Added by Young Life

Also see Body Parts (Click Here).
Back to Top Hula Hoop Pass
Get all your participants in a circle holding each other's hands. Get someone to 'unlock' one of their hands from the circle, put a hula-hoop onto his/her hand, then reconnect with the circle.

The aim of this game is to get the hula-hoop around the circle and back to where it started without the group letting go of each other's hands. Can also be played with groups against each other and a stop watch; lots of fun!

Added by Jeff Montgomery
Back to Top Human Battleships -- Day or Night
Divide game area into two halves with folding tables or screens about waist height. Cover any gaps so that you cannot see from one side of the barrier to the other.

Split your group into two teams who must lie down on either side of the barrier (one team per side).

Using a soft ball for a "missile" (nerf, bean bag, small pillow, etc.) play battleships, with the students being the ships. Each team takes turns launching a missile -- throwing the ball or pillow -- over the barrier, trying to guess where the other team members are lying.

1. Once they have laid down they cannot move or they're out.
2. No one may lie under anything (e.g. tables, desks, chairs etc.)
3. Use either sudden death for ships to be sunk, or vary the game by saying "3 hits to be sunk" or something similar. If you've got a larger group, go for the sudden death.

Have referees on the sides to not only say who got hit, but to keep the game moving at a good clip, or those who get out may get bored standing around waiting for the game to get done.

Added by Murray Wilkinson

If you want to live on the edge, here's David Hopper's version of Human Battleships at Night:

Play this game under the same rules as regular Human Battleships (see rules below), except at night outside and with water balloons.

Divide into two teams, only have one person on each team be an ammo guy, supplying his/her team with a steady stream of water balloons.

Also check out Fountains of Fun (Click Here).
Back to Top Human Foosball
Supplies: A soft ball for kicking and something to mark the boundaries with...masking tape (for inside) and spray paint (for outside).

Play just like the table game only with real people linked in rows. Split the kids into two teams, have a captain decide who goes in which rows and how many in each row. Each entire team faces one direction and has to stay that way. They link arms by holding the person's elbows next to them. The whole row has to stay within their boundaries like in the game, but they can slide back and forth, left and right.

When you play inside you can mark the boundaries with masking tape, or if you play outside you can use paint (if acceptable) or tape or flour. If you play in a building, you need to remove pretty much everything from the room. If you play outside, it is best if you play between two buildings so that the ball stays in the game. If you play in a field, have lots of folks around to toss the ball back into play.

Make sure everyone is wearing shoes, it can get a little fierce with the kicking. Stress safety and not getting out of control. Also, USE A BALL that is SOFT - we use a stuffed soccer ball, or you could use a Nerf ball.

Variation: Use more than one ball at a time.

Added by Eric and Cindy Scott
Back to Top Human Pac Man
For all you Gen X youth pastors out there who grew up playing Pac Man in an arcade…your dream just became a reality: you can mix your faith with the little yellow monster. Here’s what you do.

This game works almost exactly like the video game Pac Man. It takes a little bit of set up, but you don’t have to have a bunch of kids to play.

Set Up
This may be the ONE TIME that you are thankful your church has pews. You can also use rows of chairs in a multi-purpose room, too. Get your hands on a copy of the Pac Man maze (available on the Internet). If you are using pews, just place duct tape across the pews at the appropriate places to resemble the “dead ends” and “walls” that the game needs. Don’t forget to make a boundary around the entire playing area, and the “holding cell” in the middle! If you are using chairs, you can just set it up like the maze.

When you have the set up of the maze completed, you must make the “pellets” that Pac Man will be after. You can just you pieces of chopped up paper, say 5” by 5”. Place them in the maze like the classic game. Also place a couple pieces of colored paper in the maze for Pac Man to pick up so he can defend himself against the ghosts. Now you’re ready to play.

Choose one person to be Pac Man and make him or her wear a yellow shirt or sheet. Choose 3-5 ghosts and make them wear different colored shirts or sheets, just like in the game. The object of the game follows the video game. Pac Man must pick up all of the pieces of paper without being caught by the ghosts.

Give Pac Man a 20 second head start on all of the ghosts. Then, every 20 seconds, release a ghost into the playing area. If Pac Man is about to tagged by one of the ghosts, he can hand the ghost a piece of colored paper and the ghost must return to the holding cell for 20 seconds. Note: The ghost must be in the same “lane” to tag Pac Man…in other words, the ghost can’t reach over the back of a pew and tag Pac Man.

Pac Man gets three lives to accomplish his goal of clearing all of the pellets off the map. One final rule will help balance the odds a bit. Pac Man can run, but the ghosts must walk. If Pac Man is tagged three times before he collects all the pellets, the ghosts win. If Pac Man collects all the pellets before he/she is tagged three times, Pac Man wins.

Make it your own. You may need to alter this game a bit to make it fit you and your setting. If you have more players, you will need a bigger space, and possibly several Pac Man’s. You could also play several rounds using a different Pac Man and ghosts.

Idea by Micah T.
Back to Top Hunters
Designate a “lock-up” area of the room. Take a Polaroid (instant) snapshot of each student as soon as they walk through the doors. Give them a Nerf sling shot or Nerf gun (you can use flags- like capture the flag, sock tags- socks filled with flour, or a balloon tied to the ankle- when popped you’re out).

When you're ready to begin, give every student a picture of someone else. At that point, the picture they have is the person that they need to hunt and “lock up” (you can have an area to take “tagged people” or you can just have them sit down where they were tagged).

The idea is that every person has someone to hunt while they also are being hunted.

In addition, if you shoot the person you were assigned to, you get that person’s picture and keep playing until you shoot everyone or someone shoots and locks you up.

Added by Matt Warner

Also see Gargoyles (Click Here) and Mafia (Click Here).
Back to Top Indoor Bobsledding
All you need is wax paper and a carpeted floor. We use 2-man and 4-man bob sled teams. For 2-man, each team gets a 4 foot piece of wax paper. One person has to remain on the "sled" at all times the other person is the brakeman (pusher). 4-man teams get two 6-foot pieces of wax paper. Two people must remain on the sled at all times while the others push. We use the jogging track around our gym as our "track". Compete head-to-head or individually for the best time. It is a blast

Added by Corey Springer

Also see Chariot Race (Click Here).
Back to Top Indoor Mini-Wiffle Golf
This game requires lots of prep work. You can bank on at least 2 1/2 hours between set up and tear down.

For this game you need to make a mini golf course inside your church. There are a couple of ways to accomplish this. Both require mounds of junk to make obstacles out of. Get some putters (and have the youth bring theirs for extras); floor hockey sticks work just as well. Also get duct tape and gather junk from the church basement or closet where old useless stuff is tossed; any pack-rat's garage is a huge asset, or be creative and hit your local thrift or hardware store.

One year we borrowed a dryer hose and used it as a means to get the ball down the stairs. Rolled up carpets, big snow shovels, PVC tubing, Slurpee dome lids - you name it, you can use it (or duct tape it, then use it). Be creative and design your own score sheets.

Be sure you use wiffle balls, because who really wants to repair the damage that a real golf ball will do? You can get holes to putt into from a golf shop. Or you can design and make the holes yourself, enlisting your students and leaders to help out.

Break up your church into about 4-5 zones and assign a team to each zone. You need to have enough kids and leaders for each zone, about 5-6 per zone. Each team is responsible for making 3-4 holes for their zone using the junk that you've already pulled out for them to use. Give them a time limit and then proceed to have them golf their own course! Have prizes ready for highest scores and best holes, etc.

Added by Kelly Johnson
Back to Top Inner Tube Stuff
Get several large truck tire inner tubes. Divide into teams and see who can stand the most people within the edges of their tire tube.

Variation: Hula Hoop Stuff (same thing, just with a hula hoop.)

Added by Young Life
Back to Top Invention Convention
All you need is a bunch of junk! Get a special trash bag and label "For Game". Have your staff and parents collect a bunch of their old junk (empty cans, broken appliances, boxes, empty toilet paper tubes, etc.).

When you are going to play, divide into teams. Give each a little bit of trash and one roll of duct tape and some paint. They have five minutes to create the weirdest, funniest, artistic sculpture out of the junk. The winning team gets a prize.

The Point: God can make something out of the junk in your life. It may look a little funny, but it's worth something to Him and He can still use you!

Added by Alexis Yeager
Back to Top Inversion
Divide into teams of 15 or 20. Have students stand in order between two lines that are 18 inches apart. On the signal, #1 changes with #20, #2 with #19, etc. without moving outside of lines. Be sure that #2 and #19 don't move until #1 and #20 have made it to their new places, and so on and so forth with the other numbers.

Added by Young Life

Also see Communication Challenge (Click Here), Mute Organization (Click Here), and Numbers Race (Click Here).
Back to Top Jail Break (Gym Tag)
This game is played in your large room or gym, AND outside the room. The teams are Leaders against students. The leaders try to catch the students and put them in 'prison'. In your gym (or main meeting room) the leaders can catch students by tagging them. Outside the gym, however, the leaders have the option of either tagging or throwing something like a nerf ball or dodgeball. If a student is hit, he must go to jail.

Here's where it gets tricky: Leaders can ONLY run in the gym. They are free to run as fast as they want anywhere they want in the gym, trying to protect a designated jail in the gym. Outside the leaders are very robot-like. They have to walk AND they can only turn if they touch a wall or come to the edge of a designated boundry/perimeter. Leaders have to strategize and maybe use three leaders to trap one student. Of course, a leader is allowed to run and fetch a ball he/she has thrown, but once the ball is retrieved, must follow the walking-in-a-straight-line rules.

Students go to prison if they are hit with a nerf ball or if they have been tagged. Students can get free only when another student touches the prison. But the instant students are free the leaders tag them again.

Added by Pastor Tim Ritchey

Also see Jail Break 2 (Click Here) and TV Tag (Click Here).
Back to Top Jail Break 2 (Gym Tag 2)
Teams divide in half. A line divides the gymnasium in half. A judge stands along the line on one wall. 3 pylons or plastic pins are placed in a row, 3 feet out from each of the walls that are parallel to the line dividing the gym in half.

Each team is assigned a side. The object is to steal all the other team’s pins before they steal yours. Players may cross the line into the other team's zone. However, if tagged they go to jail, located behind the pins inside the other team's side of the gym. Players who grab a pylon without being touched receive a free walk back to their own side. Players may also attempt to free those imprisoned by tagging the prisoners. None of the prisoners nor the free receive a free walk back. Players may either free a prisoner OR grab a pin, but not both. Any player touched while a part of their body is over the line is out.

Added by Wynn Fenwick

Also see the first version of Jail Break (Click Here), where the game is leaders vs. students!
Back to Top Jello Belly Flop
In the winter, have a belly flop contest in a baby pool full of Jello. Lay a tarp over a big old mattress under the baby pool.

Idea by Young Life

Also see Jello Twister (Click Here).
Back to Top Keys
Everybody but one person sits in a chair. The chairs are scattered all over the room. The person standing has a set of keys in his hand. With his other hand he grabs someone's hand. This person gets up and follows the leader who weaves in and out of the chairs in the room. The person who has gotten out of their chair then grabs someone else's hand who grabs another person's hand. This keeps going until the leader drops the keys on the floor then everyone standing runs and sits in a chair. The person left standing is the new leader. Playing upbeat music really adds to the fun of this game!

Also see Clumps (Click Here) and Your Number is Up (Click Here).
Back to Top King of Goats
Outdoor or Indoor. Choose a "goat" from the group (or one from each team) and have it removed while the groups are given instructions. The crowd (one group) is instructed to stand on the sidelines and shout instructions to the goat, while the circle group (the other group) is told to form a circle holding hands. The goat is to be put in the center of the circle blindfolded.

At the signal, the goat is to start chasing the circle and the circle is to move as a whole to avoid being caught. When the goat is ready to start, the circle group is instructed in his presence to move silently and to make no sound. The goat is to listen to the sideline crowd for instructions where to go to catch the circle. As soon as the start signal is given, the crowd starts shouting instructions to the goat, such as, "Go to the right, the right, now go back, straight ahead."

The minute the game starts, the circle team, instructed before the goat arrived, immediately disbands and joins the crowd, leaving the goat in a an empty field. Let the goat run for a short time or until the goat guesses what is going on.

Added by Young Life
Back to Top Knock 'Em Over
Have all your students stand up and find a partner. They stand back to back and on "1,2,3, Go!" they stand on one foot and turn around (usually by jumping/hoping). Whoever puts their other foot on the ground (or falls over) first loses. They can bump into each other, push, etc. The winners find new partners and advance to the next round.
Back to Top Line Tag
This works great in a gym with lots of lines or an AWANA circle.

-No one may step off the line.
-When you are tagged, you are "dazed and confused". Sit down!
-You may not go around anyone, including the dazed and confused, unless you are 'it'.
-You may not cut corners; hence, you must step on the intersection of the line.

'It' tends to get tired quick, so when this happens, tell 'it' to choose a "lovely assistant" to trap people easier. Make sure the lovely assistant walks, not runs.

You can also use the same concept for line basketball and line soccer, depending on your facility.

Added by Jon Talley
Back to Top Long Base (A Dodgeball/Kickball Medley)
Divide into 2 teams, one in the 'field' and one "at bat." Two or three students bat at a time by bouncing a dodgeball and hitting it with with their hand(s)/arm(s). After hitting the ball, the students attempt to run to the far wall of the gym without being hit. Students in the field may get a batter out by throwing and hitting them with any of the balls that were hit.

If a student makes it to the far wall, he must keep a hand on it to remain safe. To score a run, the student must make it back from the far wall to the original line he batted from(home). Students may remain safe at the far wall as long as they want, and there is no limit to the number of students that can stay safe. They can try to run home at any time except when the new batters are holding the balls.

Added by Dean Butters, Rolling Meadows, IL

Also see Blindfolded Marco Polo Dodgeball (Click Here) and Dodgeball Doctor (Click Here).
Back to Top Long Base Ballganza
This game somewhat resembles kickball, with the use of cones instead of bases. It is best played indoors; a gym is perfect! You will need 2 cones (for “bases”) and 4 balls, 2 of one color (say, red), and 2 of another color (maybe, green). Here’s how you do it.

The game consists of three innings. In every inning, EVERY player on both teams takes a kick, while holding one ball each (green). (In other words, OUTS do not determine the change of innings, they only prevent you from scoring.) The objective is to make as many points as possible. Working in pairs, every student from Team A kicks, and then Team B does the same. This is ONE inning. Since two players from the same team kick at once, you will also need two pitchers.

Two cones are set up at the other end of the court. After kicking the red balls, the kickers make a mad dash for either of the cones, carrying their green balls. The team that is in the “outfield” must collect the red balls and throw the kickers out. This is where the green balls being carried by the kickers come in. The kickers can use them to block the red balls thrown at them (like Dodgeball). They can also throw them at outfielders, putting them “out” for that play. If the kickers make it to the cones without being hit by the two red balls they kicked, they make a point for their team. Most points after three innings wins! After a kicker scores by tagging the cone, or is put out by a red ball, they need to stand away from the playing area, while the next kickers are kicking.

Some rules to keep in mind:
1. There are NO foul balls. If the ball is kicked at all, then it is “in play.”
2. If the ball is rolled (and is considered a “fair” roll by the umpire) and it is missed, then that kicker is automatically out.
3. Any kicker that is hit by a red ball during their run is out.
4. Any kicker that is hit in the head by a thrown red ball is safe to keep running. (In other words, stress NO HEAD SHOTS.)
Back to Top Long John Stuff
This game can be played as an all-play in small groups, or as an upfront game with larger groups.

Long John Stuff requires several bags of deflated balloons, thermal underwear for each person you bring up front or for each team if you make it an all-play, and teams of 6. The number of teams depends on the number of students present.

Once teams are formed, litter the floor with dozens (or hundreds) of deflated balloons. Then give each team a full pair of long-johns (or union suit). The team then decides who will wear them over their clothes. It works to their advantage to find the most wiry person for this part (although you'll need to be careful to not make weight an issue).

Once the long-johns are on, the leader of the game does or says something to officially begin the game (a cap pistol, whistle, or yell, "Go!"). The object is for the team members not in long-johns to begin inflating balloons, and stuffing them into the long john pants and tops. Decide on a time limit that will officially end the inflating and stuffing portion of the game.

Each team is then featured one-by-one as they are given a pin to begin popping each balloon--counting out loud as they do. The balloons are popped through the clothing. Ultimately, the team with the most number of popped balloons is the winner.

Suggestion: Have a camera available for taking shots of the fully stuffed long-johns

Also see T-Shirt Stuff (Click Here).
Back to Top Marshmallow Dodgeball
Buy a couple bags of large marshmallows, plastic cups, and masking tape.

Divide students into two teams and have one team go to each side of the room. Divide the room with masking tape to mark where players cannot step across. Put a plastic cup on the head of every player on one of the teams (so that everyone on one side of the room has a cup on his or her head). These players sit against the wall on their side of the room, evenly spaced apart.

The game starts by having the players on the other side of the room chuck the marshmallows at the cupheads, attempting to knock the cups off. Give a point to each side that does just that.
After a certain time limit, have the teams switch. The team with the most points at the end of the game wins.

Variation: Have part of each team be cupheads, while the rest of the members are throwing the marshmallows. This will create a beautiful crossfire of marshmallows.

Optional: Soak the marshmallows in water so they will stick to the player when hit.

Rules: The cupheads must sit on their rears at all times.
If you have enough students, have someone guard the cupheads so the cup won't get hit.

Clean-up: After the game, players will have marshmallow powder on them which either makes a great crowd pleaser or a mess, so you might have wet paper towels close by. Caution: If you are in a carpeted room, clean up the marshmallows right after the game so they will not leave a big stain (thereby ensuring an ongoing friendship with the church janitor).

Added by Jared Watson

Also see Blindfolded Marco Polo Dodgeball (Click Here) and Shmallow Shooters (Click Here).
Back to Top Marshmallow Splat Ball
Outdoor or Indoor. Have students wear grubby clothes that can be thrown away. Divide into 4 or more teams and arm each person with a small Styrofoam plate and 4 marshmallows.

Give each team captain (adult) a different color dipping sauce (we used Mustard, Red, & Green Catsup, and Chocolate Syrup, but you can use your imagination). Then map out the boundaries, and send each team to a corner of the playing field as a designated area to load up. Fill each plate with the splat substance. Then tell them to dip and on your signal begin throwing them at the other teams. The team with the most hits wins, but once the slime pellets start to fly no one cares.

When they run out of marshmallows they can either pick one up from the ground, and re-dip, or run back to the supply station until the ammo runs out. When the fun was done we had a contest to see which team could pick up the most marshmallows. The prize was dumping a bottle of maple syrup over a leader's head (stolen from the 'Ten Bags of Doom'). We serve a fun God!

Added by Jon Nowlin

Also see Ten Bags of Doom! (Click Here).
Back to Top Milk Jug Lacrosse
You need an empty plastic milk jug for each player (preferably gallon sized, though 1/2 gallon will work), a tennis ball, and something for two goals. Cut the bottoms off of all the jugs beforehand.

Divide kids into two teams. The jugs are held upside down by their handles and used to catch the ball and pass it to other team members. The kids can run around the field of play until they catch the ball in their milk jug. Then they must stop and pass the ball to a teammate before running again. Set up some sort of goal at each end of the room or field for scoring.

NOTE: For easy storage, get a long dowel or narrow broomstick and stack the jugs inside each other and run the stick through their spouts to keep them together.

Idea submitted by David Marvin
Back to Top Mud-O-War
This gross game is played up front or in the middle of your room with 5-10 people on each team while the crowd watches. Tug-of-War in mud or through a Jello kiddy pool . . . you name it!

Added by Naomi

Also see Tug-O-Fish (Click Here).
Back to Top Mugger Hugger
Note: This game requires at least one video projector screen viewable by the entire crowd.

This is a hands-on get-to-know-you mixer. It is perfect for your first night back from summer or Christmas break when you may have new adult leaders and/or new students.

Explain that each adult leader’s face will flash on the screen with their name under/above/beside it. Whenever the screen/slideshow changes, the students are to “mugger hug” the adult leader. What this means is, every student should charge after the adult leader pictured on the screen. When the adult leader has been chased down from running around the room, and surrounded by most, if not all, the crowd, go to the next adult leader’s picture. The process repeats itself for every adult leader in the house.

The adult leader should try to avoid the crowd, but his/her capture is completely inevitable. The game leader may want to caution the crowd if you have a particularly older adult leader (no broken hips at youth tonight!)

This shows the students that the adults can have fun. It also gets the adult leaders in VERY close proximity to the students!
Back to Top Musical chairs of death
Basically it is like musical chairs, but with a twist. First, set up the chairs in a circle with seats facing out then when the music plays, students walk around the chairs. (There needs to be TWO less chairs than students.)

When the music stops, students scramble for a seat. Those who find a seat are safe until the next round. The two who cannot find a chair must run to a predetermined “safe zone” (like a door, or a wall) while adult leaders are throwing large Nerf balls at them.

If one or both of the students are hit by the balls, they are out. If they are not hit, they are still in the game.

Continue until there is only one winner.

NOTE: Make sure the balls are truly soft. You may want to have 2 or 3 balls per adult leader to make it even more exciting. If the game begins to wear on, remove another chair from the floor.

Back to Top Mustard Tanks
Each team needs 7 people. Six of the team members will form two lines of three, the two lines facing each other. The students will lock arms with the person in front of them, creating a sort of "bridge." The 7th person (needs to be the smallest person in the group) will then lay across the groups’ arms and will be handed a big plastic or squeezable container of mustard. They will then move around like tanks and shoot other tanks.

Added by Stephen Dervan
Back to Top Noodle Hockey
This game requires a big open space, preferably indoors. On top of that, you need a “pool noodle” for every kid that plays. (You can buy half as many pool noodles as you have kids, and then cut them in half to save money; it’s your call.) Finally, you will need some sort of soft ball, like a Nerf ball, to use in place of a puck.

Separate the players into 4-8 person teams, depending on the size of your overall group. Put a goal at either end of the room and designate boundaries for the game. (You can use something as simple as a cardboard box for the goals…but make sure they are both the same size!)

The game plays just like hockey. The teams try to get the ball into the goal using their noodles. Of course, since the noodles are soft enough, players can hit each other with them, but limiting those hits to chest-and-down is a good idea. If a player hits another player in the neck, head, or face, he/she must sit in the penalty box for two minutes.

Play 3 periods of 3 minutes each. That way, players are excited and those waiting to play (if you have any) do not get bored.

If you have enough players to make multiple teams, then you can have a “winner-stays” on tournament.

NOTE: The game is fun as described above. If you really want to make it wacky, throw in more than one ball. This shoots the excitement level through the roof!
Back to Top Noodle Knights (aka Braveheart)
Divide into 2 teams and give each player a 3 foot piece of foam noodle and a Burger King crown. One team puts the crowns on normal and the other team puts them on inside out (the crowns must be above the ears). The two teams line up about 15 or more feet away from each other, facing off. On a signal they charge and fight for a designated short period of time. A person is out when their crown is knocked off their head. The crowns can only be knocked off by the noodles (no hands, feet, tackling, or head butts!). After the time is up everyone who is out steps out of the playing area and you line up again for another skirmish. Continue until you have a winner. A great intro to this game is the jousting clip from the movie Braveheart.

Added by Steve Schlange
Back to Top Numbers Race
Form teams of 10 players (ideally). Each person on the team gets a number on a 3x5 card or slip of paper from 0 to 9. The leader then calls out a random number. For example, we'll use the number “108”. The students holding those numbers – 1, 0, and 8 - run out in front and display the numbers to the leader calling them out in the correct order. Try 1,237,582 and so on. The first team to be in place, in the right order gets a point for their team.

For re-use make up A5 cards, in different coloured paper for each team and laminate them. Don't forget to distinguish between 6 and 9 - perhaps a line under the numbers.

Added by Amanda from Australia

Also see Communication Challenge (Click Here) and Inversion (Click Here).
Back to Top Oil Ball
Get a big plastic tarp, about 20' x 25', and lay it down. Pour and smear about 5 to 6 bottles of baby oil all over the tarp. Make the outline of an oval track with about 6 cans of shaving cream. Now the goal is to "wheelbarrow" (this is when one kid stands while holding another kid's feet in the air) with the kid on the ground pushing a tennis ball with his/her head around the track twice. The first one done wins!

This game does have a cost, but everyone who plays is covered when done and you'll see some great wipe-outs! Take pictures! Just make sure your church has insurance *wink*

Added by Paul Butler

Also see Jello Twister (Click Here).
Back to Top One Body
Depending on # of players...for each team formed you will need:
    1- t-shirt (or sweat shirt)size 2x-3x
    1- pair sweat pants size 2x-3x
    3 blind folds
    1 laundry basket
    Objects to be put into basket

Form teams of 4 players each:

  • 1-person is the "eyes & mouth"

  • 1-person is the "brain"

  • 1-person is "1/2 the body"

  • 1-person is other "1/2 of body"

Get prepared for game:

  • "Body" gets into the sweat pants and shirt together (then blindfold them).
  • The "Brain" stands behind the "Body" and is blindfolded (may hold on to back of sweat shirt.)

  • The "eyes & mouth" stands next to the "Brain."

How to play:

  • The "Eyes and mouth" whispers to the "brain" what to tell the "Body" to do.

  • The body tries to get the pre-designated objects into their own basket.

  • When all objects are found and in their basket, Team sits down.

  • "Eyes & mouth" yells "DONE!"

  • First team to sit wins!


  • No peeking!

  • "Eyes & mouth" must only "whisper" to the "Brain."

  • "Brain is the only one who can "talk."

  • Body may not use their arm or hand that is inside of the sweat shirt.

Object ideas:

  • Gallon size food cans

  • Twisted pipe cleaners "on" each basket

  • Large ball

This game works best if the objects cannot be picked up with one hand. Have the same kind of object for each team to pick up.

Variation: When all objects are found and in team baskets...Leader yells "Done!" Each team sits and the team with the most objects in their basket wins. This way does not require identical objects for each team.

The Point/Discussion Idea: Ask what they learned about the Church being "One Body" through this game.

Added by Vonnie Waldrop
Back to Top Opposite Arm Dodgeball
This game is played just like it sounds. Set up any dodgeball game that your kids like. However, make them throw with their opposite arm. It helps keep your jocks from dominating the game and also encourages the kids who are afraid of getting hit.

I normally play and act really dumb trying to throw with my wrong arm. Kids laugh at me and we have a great time.

Added by Ian Newton

Also see Blindfold Marco Polo Dodgeball (Click Here), Dodgeball Dragon (Click Here), Earthball Blowout (Click Here), and Longbase (Click Here).
Back to Top Paper Plane Onslaught
For this game you need:
cheap sunglasses for eye protection
two different colors of 8½ x 11 paper, as many sheets as you have students (plus extra, just in case).

Divide the room with tape or another similar divider. Give half the group one stack of color paper and the other half the other color. Choose a time limit between 1 and 3 minutes. The idea is to see how many paper airplanes one team can throw to the other side before the time is up. The team that has thrown the most planes to the other side wins.

Quick Clean Up: The team that cleans up their side the fastest wins the onslaught.

Added by Sterling Lynn
Back to Top Pass the Cup
This is a really simple game to play, but it’s a load of fun! Also, on a hot day, it provides a great way to cool off. Here’s what you do:

It doesn’t matter how large your group is, just divide them into EQUAL groups. Make sure each group is limited to 6-8 kids. (It’s sort of a relay race, and if you put too many kids on a team, those in the back of the line may get bored.)

When your teams are divided up, tell the students to line up by team. When they are all in a straight line, hand the first person in each line a plastic/Styrofoam cup that is halfway filled. (Put a line on each cup and fill it to that line. This is important for later!)

Now you are set to go. Tell the teams that the first group to pass the cup of water to the last person in their line wins the game. Oh…there’s a catch: you can’t use your hands, only your chins! That’s right, they have to sandwich the cup between their chin and their neck/chest to pass it to one another.

If they drop it and spill the water below the line, they have to run go get more water in their cup. The cup has to arrive to the last person in line with a water level that is at least to the line.

Have fun.

Idea by Rene
Back to Top Penguin Football
Give each person a rag about four inches wide and two feet long (sheets torn into strips work well). Each person then ties the rag securely around his knees to make running impossible; players can move only by shuffling their feet.

Now divide into teams and play football using a Nerf football. The game becomes hilarious when players must hike, run, throw, and kick with their knees tied together.

Variations: Of course this opens up the possibility of playing Penguin Baseball, Penguin volleyball, Penguin Soccer, and countless other games.
Back to Top Poop Deck
Before the youth arrive use tape to make different shapes on the floor (for example: Star, Square, Triangle, Rectangle, Deck 1, Deck 2, and of course a toilet seat shaped one).

Have names for all the decks (I usually just call them the shapes so the kids don't get too confused. The toilet seat one is called poop deck).

To make deck 1 and deck 2 make a long narrow rectangle and on one end indicate 1 or 2 (I or II).

Make a patio deck at one end (this is where the kids will start).

Have the caller start shouting out decks, the last kid to the deck is out. If you start with a lot of kids make it a rule that 1 foot must be in the deck in order for it to count. But when it gets down to about 3 or 4 kids make them have both feet on the deck. When the caller says poop deck their feet must be on the rim of the seat...not the center because that means they just got a swirly! At any time the caller may yell "Swab the deck" which just means everyone must be on their knees last one to their knees is out. Or the caller can say "Hit the deck" which means just lay flat on your belly. Last one to do so is out. Or the caller can mix it up and say "Swab the triangle deck" they must be on their knees on the triangle deck.

NOTE: We always make the kids take their shoes off to reduce the amount of injuries.

Added by Lindsay
Back to Top Poor Man's Beachball Volleyball
Outdoor, Big Room, or Pool. Use staff as the net (all lined up across the court with hands in the air) and play normal volleyball with a beachball. Allow as many hits per side as needed and allow as many players as needed (your whole group, in other words).
Back to Top Protect the President
For this game you need a volleyball-sized Nerf ball. Have your students stand in a wide circle with two people in the middle.

One person in the middle is the President, the other is the Bodyguard. The people in the circle have the Nerf ball, and throw it at the President. The bodyguard may do anything to block the ball with his body: jump, squat, dive, etc. The ball may NEVER touch the President. If the ball touches the President at any time, the person who threw the ball (or the last person to touch it) then becomes the Bodyguard, the Bodyguard becomes the President, and the President goes back into the circle.

What makes this exciting is that from the moment the President is hit, the new President is vulnerable because the transition is instantaneous. The new bodyguard must be fast at getting into the circle to defend him or her. This sometimes makes presidential turnover pretty quick, but it's exciting.

This game is EXHAUSTING, especially if the people in the middle are good. Be ready to sweat if you play. One strategy for the "shooters" is to pass the ball around the circle and keep it moving to wear the people in the middle down. They'll eventually tire and the President will get hit. As the kids get more experience at the game, they will develop strategies and tactics, and will thoroughly enjoy themselves.

Added by J. Hart
Back to Top Pull Across the Line
Outdoor or Indoor. Same objective as British Bulldog (Click Here), but you can't cross the center line and you convert people to your side by reaching over the line and pulling them to your side.

Variation: Have someone sit down if they are pulled across.
Back to Top Pull Apart
This is where all the guys link up (get in a big pile and hug, grab each other, whatever necessary to try to stay linked together) and when you say "Go!", the girls try to pull them apart. Once a guy is pulled to where he isn't touching any other guys, he's out and needs to go sit down. Last two guys together are the winners.

For the obvious reasons, we don't suggest reversing the gender roles on this game.
Back to Top Pull-up
Everyone gets a chair and forms a circle, everyone sitting in their chair and facing the center of the circle except for 5 guys and 5 girls who start the game. (They are in the middle, standing).

At a whistle all students in the center of the circle run to the people sitting in the chairs and "pull-up" a person of the opposite sex, by taking their hands and pulling them out of their chair. For example a guy would go up to a girl, pull her out of her chair and then take her place. The girl can offer no resistance. She then runs to the other side of the circle, pulls a guy out of his chair, and takes his seat, and so on. This continues for one minute, the whistle blows, and everybody stops where they are.

The students left standing are counted. If there are 2 more girls than guys, the guys get 2 points, and the game goes on.

Every time a minute goes by, the whistle blows and those standing are counted. The idea is sort of a random "musical chairs," boys against the girls. The team with the least left standing each time wins.

Added by Young Life

See also Musical Chair Squat (Click Here).
Back to Top Pumpkin Bowling
Set up a single "bowling alley" in your room. This can be as simple as using masking tape lines for gutters. Then set up empty (or full, if you’re brave) two liter soda bottles for bowling pins. If you want Halloween colors, use orange soda, and a cola, and tear the labels off. Test out a few pumpkins and select a few good rollers.

Depending on the size of your group, either select a few "bowlers" or line up your whole group. (If you line up your group, line them up along the edge of the alley so they can see). With fewer bowlers, allow several tries. With a large group, allow one each.

Hand them a pumpkin and let er’ rip! Have a few staff people be pumpkin fetchers to keep the game moving along. Provide a prize for the best bowler (do a play-off if needed).

See also Human Bowling (Click Here), Vacuum Cleaner Bowling (Click Here), and Pumpkin Puzzle (Click Here).
Back to Top Pyramid Race
Divide group into teams of six. Have them build a pyramid (three people on bottom, two in the middle, one on top) and walk across a certain point (only needs to be 10 or 15 feet away), turn around and walk back, all while in the pyramid. First team done wins!
Back to Top Reindeer Round Up
In this game, all the guys (Reindeers) get on all fours. The girls (Elves) have to get the guys (Reindeer) into a sectioned-off part of the room (The Stable) which is designated by a clearly visible line. The Elves must corner the Reindeer and drag them into the Stable.

Once a Reindeer is dragged past the line, they are out of the game. Reindeer are not allowed to get up or run. They must remain on all fours the whole game.

But here is the kicker: the Elves must get all the Reindeer in the Stable before the song ends (“Run Run Rudolph” by Chuck Berry).
Back to Top Rio Linda Kickball
A lot like normal Kickball with a bunch of backwards twists (hence the name "Rio Linda," if you've ever been there, you know exactly what I mean!)


  1. All the bases are backwards. Run to 3rd first, then 2nd, and then 1st.

  2. All players on a team get one time up and they get one pitch from their own pitcher.

  3. Endless # of outs, just keep going until all players have been up once.

  4. No foul balls, everything is fair
    no limit to how many people on bases, no forced outs.

  5. You can get someone out by touching ANY base at any time. Any runners between any bases are also out.

  6. If a ball is caught the runner is out.

  7. If a runner is tagged they are out.

See Rio Linda Wiffle Ball (Click Here).
Back to Top Rio Linda Wiffle Ball
Same as Rio Linda Kickball (Click Here) (on this game list) but with a wiffle ball and bat.

One Added Rule: Runners must carry the bat with them to 3rd (the first) base. If they drop the bat they are out!
Back to Top Rip-off! (or Duct Tape Tag, aka Scalp)
Divide into two teams. One team places a 1.5 foot long strip of duct tape horizontally on each of their backs. The other team places a 1.5 foot long strip of duct tape vertically on their back. (You can use different colored tape if you want and name the teams by the colors. i.e. Yellow vs. Black)

Have teams separate in a large playing area, preferably at night. The object is to "rip off" the tape from their backs. Once their tape is removed they are out of the game.

Added by Jon Henry

Also see Elbow Tag (Click Here).
Back to Top River Crossing
The goal of this game is to help teach your students or leaders to work together by having them work as a team to cross a "river." First, using your gym or other space, you need a place to start from (a wall, lines in the gym, etc), the "river," and then a destination. You can use assorted pieces of wood, blankets, or anything else they can stand on. Break them up into teams and have them race to the other side of the river. The rules are: everyone has to get across and no one can touch the floor or they all have to start over.

The Point: Team building; a good game for a leadership event.

Added by Scott Street
Back to Top Run the Gauntlet
Girls are given rolled up newspapers, and they are lined up in two single file lines. The two lines are parallel, facing each other with approximately three to four feet between them.

The boys tie balloons to their bottoms (by their pant belt loops) and must "run the gauntlet," that is, run between the two lines of girls who try to pop the balloons by hitting them with the newspapers. The object is to see which boy(s) can avoid having their balloon popped.

To make the game go longer and add an extra element of competition, you can have every guy who has a balloon not yet popped keep running through until there is only one guy left. But if you decide to go with this, be sure that you keep an eye on any guys who may be getting hurt by the continued strikes.
Back to Top Sardines
This game is kind of a reverse "Hide and Go Seek." Turn out all the lights. Have one person go hide. Everyone else is “it” and looks for this person. As soon as one person finds the person hiding, he or she hides with the person. Now there are two hiding.

As soon as someone else finds them, that person hides with them. You end up with a bunch of people packed like “sardines” in one hiding spot with one poor person trying to find everyone.

Added by Adalis and Jonathan McKee

Variation "Sardines on the Move"
In Sardines on the Move one person hides ("it") and the rest of the group tries to find them and hide with him. Here's the twist: once the hidden group is larger than 5 students (4 or more students have found "it") then the hidden group tries to make its way undetected back to the sanctuary or other "base". If they do, they win and you play again. If other searchers find the group they simply become part of the group and continue on their way to the base.

We have found this keeps everyone moving around and speeds up the whole game so we can have more students be "it".
Back to Top Shark!
No…this game doesn’t require a swimming pool, and you can play it in the dead of winter anywhere in the world. And when you do play it, your kids will ask for it time and again. Here’s what you do.

Shark can be played with any group of people, although the larger the group the more fun it is. (Make sure you get your adult leaders involved in this one, too!)

All you need is a room with some open space, and a few “islands” made out of some kind of fabric (like a cut up rug or even cut up XXL T-Shirts). The “islands” should be placed on the ground, spread out across the room. Make them irregular in shape…like an island is supposed to be. Now, ask all the players to stand around the “islands.” (This is called “swimming.”)

One person is designated “the caller,” who, when they feel it is appropriate, will yell out “SHARK!” At that point, all of the “swimmers” will desperately try to cram themselves onto the islands, with NONE of their body touching the floor/ground.

If someone takes too long to get on an island, or they fall off once they are on, they are out of the game. (This is at the discretion of the caller.)

As swimmers start to get eliminated, and the game gets easier, start removing islands to increase the intensity level.

NOTE: This game can be played both cooperatively (everyone helping each other) or competitively (free for all). Have fun!

Idea by Chris
Back to Top Ships and Sailors
This game involves the entire crowd. One person acts as the Caller, who calls out certain commands. After a command is called, everyone in the audience must get in the position with as many people as they need that follows that command. The game is an elimination game, so the last person (or few students if you have a large group) to get into position or anyone doing the wrong move is out.

The commands:
*3 Men in a boat: three people get together in a line sitting on the ground acting like they are rowing a boat
*Man overboard: two people get together, one person down on hands and knees and the other person puts their foot on that person's back
*Attention: everyone stands at attention, saluting
*Time for dinner: 4 people sit in circle acting like they are eating
*Hit the deck: lay down on your stomach as fast as you can
*Portside: everyone runs to the left of the room (their left)
*Starboard: everyone runs to the right side of the room

Added by Amy Stafford
Back to Top Shmallow Shooters
For this game you’ll need marshmallow blowguns made from 1-foot sections of 1-inch diameter pvc pipe (buy big lengths of it at a hardware store, not the small ones you can buy at carnivals and festivals), and plenty of s'more-sized marshmallows.

Load the marshmallow into the end of the pipe (the drier the marshmallow, the better - they'll stick to the pipe if they're soft) and blow. The trick is to blow on the end the marshmallow is on - let it travel the length of the tube - we had shots spanning upwards of 30 feet! Beware: after 2-3 shots they get pretty gross.

We did a variety of target-related games and then a few moments of all-out marshmallow war. Good times!

Beware of choking. Before starting you may want to warn your students about choking hazards and that they need to be careful. They should inhale air before they put their mouth up to the gun.

Added by Owen Sallee

Also see Marshmallow Splat Ball (Click Here).
Back to Top Shoe Tie
While students are entering, ask them to take off their shoes and put them in a back room out of sight. While they're involved in other activities, have a leader or two sneak back and tie all the shoes together in one big, massive knot. Then bring out the pile in front of everyone.

The object of the game is to see who can be first to get their shoes untied, back on their feet, and tied again. Award two different winners: laces and no laces.

Added by Bryan Murawski

Young Life Variation:
Divide all the people into groups of 3. Taking turns, have 2 people untie and then retie the laces of the group with one person using his left hand and the other person using his right hand. Put a time limit on it. Race against two groups.

Also see Shoe Pile (Click Here) and Shoe Stretch (Click Here).
Back to Top Shuffle Your Buns
This game requires at least a good handful of people and a chair for everyone. Have everyone sit in a circle. Then select a person to go into the middle. When you say "go," they are to try to go back to their seat.

Everyone slides their tush (shuffles their buns) over to block the person from sitting in the empty seat. The person will end up running around the circle trying to get to the rapidly moving empty seat. If he sits, then the person on his or her left is the person who has to go in the middle.

Be sure the audience knows which direction to be shuffling.
Back to Top Sink the Bismark
Basically, it's every man for himself dodge-ball. A group of students, 10-30, is asked to stand in a large open circle and game balls are placed sporadically (if that's a word) throughout the circle. You can pick the number of balls. I use about 5 or 6. When the leader says "Go" students run to the nearest ball and start trying to hit anyone around them.


  • If you are holding a ball you can't run and if you get hit you must sit down.

  • If you catch a thrown ball, the thrower is out.

  • If you get hit and the ball hits the ground, you are out and you must sit down.

  • In order for a person to move with the ball, he must pass it to a trustworthy person who is sitting on the ground (by rolling it -- remember if caught in the air you're out). But be careful, they could hit you with the ball or give it to another standing thrower.

  • The last person standing wins the prize.

Idea by Will Hagle; submitted by Charlie Mooney

Also check out these extreme games: Blindfold Marco Polo Dodgeball (Click Here)
Dodgeball Doctor (Click Here)
Dodgeball Dragon (Click Here)
Earthball Blowout (Click Here)
Back to Top Skateboard and Plunger Race
Racers sit on skateboards and use plungers as oars in a race. Play fun music in the background.

Added by Young Life
Back to Top Skin the Snake
Have two teams of students (girls vs. guys) stand in a line. A big room or long hall is best as this takes quite a length of space.

Have each kid reach under her/his legs with her/his right hand and hold the left hand of the person behind him. The person at the back of the line lies down consecutively as each one walks backward. Move slowly and be careful not to step on each other's bodies!

When everyone has laid down, it's time to stand back up as they Skin the Snake. A leader may have to help them stand. Coming up is harder than laying down so go slow! Don't forget to keep holding hands! Whoever succeeds first wins.

Added by Betty Jean Anderson
Back to Top Snowball Fight
For this game you need toilet paper and garbage bags. Now, split your group down the middle...half go to one side, half to the other. Have leaders hand out the "snowballs" (rolls of tp).

The object of the game is to have the least toilet paper on your side at the end of the game.

Count down and let them fly. Give teams 30-60 seconds to play. Make a judgment call when you yell, "Time!"

Game Two:
First team to have their side entirely cleaned up wins the second part
of the game.

Added by Thomas Miller/Zou

Also see Toilet Paper Blow & Toilet Paper Bowling, both on Upfront page.
Back to Top Sock Hunt
Two teams; each has a sock. One team hides their sock on one side of the house or building. The other team hides their sock on the other side. Teams then trade sides and try to find the other team's sock. The first team to find the sock wins.

Added by Macy

Option: Have losers kiss the socked feet of the winners sitting in a row!

*Also see Sock Wars and Sock & Bop.
Back to Top Sock Wars
Use tape on the floor to design an "arena" and have all contestants take off shoes but leave socks on. You can have as many people participate; the more kids, the bigger the area should be.

The object of this game is to keep your socks on as long as possible! There is no standing, so everyone is crawling around on the arena trying to pull everyone else's socks off while trying to defend their own socks.

Added by Stephanie

Also see Sock Mania on the Upfront games page.
Back to Top Sockball
Hot Potatoes meets Tag meets WWF. Set up a circle of chairs of no less than 15 people, 2-4 people standing in the middle. Have 3-4 long socks with tennis balls in the end.

Those sitting in the circle toss the sockballs to each other (usually very hard throws) and try to keep those in the middle from catching them (more fun if you can bounce it off someone in the middle). If they catch it then the thrower goes in and the person in the middle sits down (even if it falls to the ground and is picked up).

The people in the middle can also tag any thrower who is holding the sockball and they have to switch (this keeps the pace up).

Good game for those nights when high activity level is the best option.

Added by Collin Buckley

Also see Sock Wars and Sock & Bop.
Back to Top Song Endurance
This game is very simple and can be played with two or more teams. Can do guys against girls. Pick a song theme - at Christmas choose Christmas songs; with a younger group you don't even need a theme, any song can be open game - and let the singing begin.

The object of this game is to keep coming up with songs longer than the other team or teams. One team starts and sings a line of one song. Then the other team has 5 seconds to start singing a line of another song. Then the other team has 5 seconds to sing a line from yet another song. Teams may discuss and plan out which song to sing while the other teams are singing.

The first team to repeat a song, sing a song that doesn't fit that category or just not sing within 5 seconds is the loser. If more than two teams play, sit losing teams out until one team finally prevails.

Also see Song Making on Anywhere page.
Back to Top Sound Effects
Supplies Needed: blank tape and tape recorder.

Instructions: Your group has 15 minutes to record the sounds listed below. The sounds must last at least 10 sec. but not more than 15. All members of the group must contribute. It's up to you whether they go out and get these sounds from the actual sources (like a scavenger hunt), teams go into different rooms and "create" the sounds, or a combination of both.

Award prizes (bag of candy or litre of pop) for most sounds recorded and to the group that adds the most creative sound selection not on the list.
  • Herd of cows

  • Cat in a dog kennel

  • TV Show theme

  • Lovesick Coyotes on a moonlit nigh

  • A worship song

  • Room Full of Babies

  • Traffic
Back to Top Sundae Feed
Get enough for your group to make sundaes and any toppings that sound good. Also have lots of plastic trash bags to cover the floor.

Tell the kids to get into groups of two to share a sundae. They can get as much ice cream as they want but they have to share it and eat everything they make.

Once everything is made, tell them the trick is that they will be laying down on their backs head to head. And this is a race to feed each other like this and eat their ice cream before any other twosome.

The Gross Point: Working together to accomplish a goal.

Added by Chris Lyon

Also see Banana Night on our Events page.
Back to Top Super Sanctuary Jesus Ball
This one is simple to play as it’s really just an indoor modification of volleyball. Here it is:

Take a regular volley ball net and set it up in a big room at your church. You can even use your sanctuary, if you get permission from the proper authorities. Now grab a couple of inflatable beach balls (NOT volleyballs) and inflate them. Finally, split the teams into two equal teams. You can have any number of players on a team, just make sure teams are “even” in ability.

1. Games go to 21, and the team must win by two.
2. Unlike volleyball, players can hit the ball as many times as needed to return the ball over the net.
3. Unlike volleyball, the beach ball can hit anything in the room and still be “in play” with one exception: the floor. If the ball bounces off a wall, a pew, or the balcony, it’s still in play!
4. There is no out of bounds; if the ball crosses the net, it is in play and must be returned.
5. Spiking is allowed.

Have fun!

Idea by Scott L.
Back to Top Tape Head
"I Need a Shoelace" with a twist; can be played with small or huge groups. The up-front person divides teams (in audiences of rallies or other large gatherings you can make each section of chairs a group).

The upfront person then yells out a demand for a somewhat common item that people might have on them. The first team to bring up that item wins that round. Have each team elect ONE team leaders who will wear a hat with tape all over it on their head. Teams must stick the items called for to the hat to remain there until the end of the game.


I need a...

  • shoelace

  • student body card

  • nail file

  • chewed gum

  • sock with a hole in it

  • movie stub ticket

  • Driver's Liscense

  • quarter older than 1980

  • hair brush

Also see I Need a Shoelace, Move Right If, & Sit Down If, all on Audience page and Velcro Head on Upfront page.
Back to Top Tennis Ball Frenzy
This game requires a lot of floor space, so a gym or large facility is best. If you like this game, but don’t have either of these at your disposal, you can play it outside. Here’s what you do.

You need 5 boxes and at least 50 tennis balls to play. Set 1 box in each of the 4 corners of the room/gym, and 1 box in the center of the floor. Put all 50 tennis balls in the box in the center of the room.

Now, divide your students up into 4 equal teams. When the teams have been divided up, place them behind the boxes in the corner of the room…in a straight line! They need to be in a straight line, with the first person being “runner 1,” the next person being “runner 2,” and so on.

The object of the game is for one team to be the first to have 10 tennis balls in their box. Teams can take balls from the center box, or from other teams’ boxes.

On "GO", the first player, “runner 1,” runs out to get a ball from the center box. They then run it back and hand it to the next player in their line, “runner 2.” That player then puts the ball in their box then runs out to get another ball. That runner can get the next ball from the center box or from an opponent’s box! They then run it back to the next player in line, “runner 3.” Then that player puts the ball in their box and continues as before. A team is declared "winner" as soon as their box contains the 10 ball quota.

Here are a few extra rules.
1. Teams absolutely MUST stay in a straight single file line.
2. No player can ever take more than ONE ball at a time on their turn. In other words, a player must choose to take 1 ball from the center box, OR 1 ball from an opponent’s box. They can’t take balls from two different boxes, nor can they take multiple balls from one particular box.
3. Teams CANNOT guard their box or interfere with another player taking one of the balls from their box. (This can only be managed if players are in single file lines behind their boxes.)
4. Only one person from each team may be running on the court at a time.
5. Balls CANNOT be thrown to the next player or into the box, they must be handed-off and then placed in the box.

Have fun!

Idea by Kent
Back to Top The Dark Football
Fair warning: this one can get a little rowdy. But it’s also a ton of fun!

All you need is a cleared-out room, a strobe light, and a ball of any kind. Here’s what you do.

Clear out a room that’s of good size. Move the couches against the wall, stack chairs in the corner, etc. Then, divide the students into teams. (It’s best to have two “guy” teams and two “girl” teams.) Now you’re ready to play.

Get the two guy teams onto the “field.” Tell them they are going to play “Dark Football.” Each team’s objective is to move the ball to their opponents’ wall.

The game will be played as a mixture of football and soccer. One team has the ball until they fumble it or are tackled. When that happens, the other team gets the ball. There are no “downs” as in football; the play is continuous as in soccer.

1. Players can only move around on their knees. If they stand up, they are disqualified from the rest of the game!
2. No biting.
3. No pulling hair.
4. No pinching.
5. Tickling is permitted.

Now, to make it “Dark” Football, turn out the lights in the room and flip on the strobe light. This makes it a whole lot more interesting! Note: You may need to leave a few lights on in the room to keep it safe.

Have several adult volunteers around to help out and keep the game running smoothly.


Idea by Jonathan C.
Back to Top The Maze of Life

If you’ve ever been to a church carnival or festival that had a cool cardboard maze, you’ve no doubt seen how much fun the kids had while going through it. But you were also painfully aware of the many hours put into the project. Well, The Maze of Life lets you have just as much fun…with a fraction of the time invested during set up. Here’s what you do.

First, locate a roll of butcher paper. The Children’s Pastor can probably loan you a roll (of an ugly color) from her stash. Next, find as many blindfolds as you have students.

Now, rearrange your youth room a bit, or use a different part of the church, like a multipurpose room perhaps. Roll out the paper on the floor in a “maze-like” pattern that has at least 4-6 T-intersections. (Make sure to tape it down; duct tape works well.) At each intersection, have one of directions leading to a dead end, or a couch, or a wall, while the other direction heads off towards the finish line.

Place an adult leader at each T-intersection. When a blindfolded student comes to that T-intersection, the adult leader asks him/her a True/False question, then says, “If you think it’s false, go left, but if you think it’s true, go right.” (Make sure to connect the correct answer with the correct route!)

Here’s the good thing: if you’ve set the maze up correctly, it won’t be long before a student who guessed wrong will know he/she is wrong, and can go back the way he/she came. Eventually, everyone can make it to the end.

Here are a few of the True/False questions we used:

1. Slugs do not have noses. (False: they actually have four!)
2. The Mona Lisa does not have eyebrows. (True: it was fashionable to shave them off back then!)
3. Most Eskimos have refrigerators. (True: it keeps their food from freezing.)
4. An ostrich’s eye is bigger than its brain. (True.)
5. Taphephobia is the fear of losing your teeth. (False: it’s the fear of being buried alive.)
6. The letter “T” is the second most common letter used in the English language. (True.)
7. Thomas Edison, who invented the light bulb, was afraid of the dark. (True.)

Here are some more things you can do to make the Maze of Life more interesting.

1. Have someone smack a Styrofoam noodle against the floor as kids crawl by…to scare them.
2. Have a stretch of the maze run along a wall where volunteers are positioned to throw balls at kids crawling by.
3. Smear a little peanut butter (or something like it) on the butcher paper. It will horrify the kids at first.
4. Play funky music in the background over the PA system to confuse the kids.
5. Make the maze go around objects or under tables. Use what you have!

Spiritual Application (Optional)

You can use John 10:1-5 as a starting point to discuss how important it is to know the voice of God – the voice of truth. Spend some time asking them if they know how to distinguish God’s voice in a world of lies. Remember, Satan is very tricky. He wants to steer us down the wrong paths in life by lying to us about stuff like image, drugs/alcohol, and sex. To know the voice of truth, you have to be in a relationship with God through His Son Jesus. Remember, life is just like the maze sometimes; you’ll make a wrong turn here and there. When that happens, we must remember to seek God’s truth to get back on the right track.

Idea by Neal T.
Back to Top Time Check
A youth leader walks in with a sheet pizza (or some other sweet prize) and announces that this game is a “Boys vs. Girls Challenge”. The winning team will get the goods. The leader will announce a historical event and students must correctly identify the year in which that event took place. The first person to run up to the stage with the correct answer wins a point for their team. The students can only guess one time per question - if they give an incorrect answer the other team can steal that point with a correct answer. The team with the most correct answers at the end wins. To the victor belong the spoils!

1. Man lands on the moon. (1969)
2. The movie ‘Toy Story’ released in theatres. (1995)
3. Declaration of Independence was signed (1776)
4. Youth Pastor’s birth. (19??)
5. Tickle Me Elmo first introduced in stores. (1996)
6. The first ipod launched. (2001)
7. Senior Pastor’s birth. (19??)
8. MySpace launched. (2003)
9. Michael Jackson “Thriller” album released. (1982)
10. The first Super Bowl (1967)
11. Hurricane Katrina hits New Orleans (2005)
12. Pilgrims land on Plymouth Rock (1620)
13. Desert Storm (a.k.a. Persian Gulf War) (1991)
14. Black Tuesday – stock market crash that signaled the beginning of the Great Depression (1929)
15. Hawaii became the 50th state. (1959)
16. Twilight released in theaters. (2008)
17. The TV premiere of American Idol (2000)
18. Our church was established (????)
19. Facebook launched. (2004)
20. Star Wars is released in theaters. (1977)

NOTE: If you use media screens, create slides for these events to add more excitement.

Submitted by Dan Manns

Back to Top Toga Ball
This is a really fun game that allows everyone in your group to play, but you MUST have a large room to play in.

Prior to playing the game, grab a dodge ball (or two, or three) and put down some masking tape in the large room. All you need to do is mark out a large square about the size of a basketball court, then divide it into 4 quarters. (Think about a REALLY big “4 Square!”)

The objective of the game is for students to knock other students out of the game by hitting them with the dodge ball(s). There are NO teams in this game. It’s every man for himself! NOTE: No headshots!!!

At the beginning of the game, while everyone is still “in” the game, use the largest playing area (the BIG square). As students are knocked out, use only half of the square. When there are just a few remaining, use just a quarter of the square. In other words, the fewer the players, the smaller the space used.

When a player is hit, he/she must stand outside the playing area in a designated area. But here’s where it gets interesting.

Whenever the player that put you out gets put out, you get to come back in the game! Let’s say Jill hit Mark, Tom, & John; they need to remember that Jill got them out. If Jill gets hit and goes out, Mark, Tom, & John now get to come back into the game.

As you can see, it is tough to have one declared winner, because of the “ongoing” nature of the game. Sometimes this game never ends and we have to call it quits because of time. EVERYONE loves playing this game.

NOTE: If you have a REALLY big group, you may want to toss in more than one ball.

Have fun!

Variation: Put players onto two teams (red vs blue). The game is played the exact same way, with the same rules, only it guarantees a TEAM winner. The Red team must put out all players on the Blue team. If just one Blue player is left standing, the Blue team wins!

Idea by Nicole R.
Back to Top Toilet Seat Toss, aka Horseshoes with a Twist
Materials needed: 2 plungers & 2 toilet seats - one set (2 plungers, 2 seats) for every 2 teams.

Instead of using actual metal horse shoes and metal stakes, use two plungers as the stakes and two toilet seats as the shoes.

Stick the plungers on the ground 20 feet apart (a flat smooth surface is usually best like a gym floor) the handles will stick up in the air. Then toss the toilet seats and try to ring them around the plunger opposite your team. Have a few extra seats around in case they break (the padded ones I found are more durable). Second hand is fine as long as they are clean. I have used this at a western themed event. Play instrumental western music in the background.

Added by Mark Janzen

To continue the Western theme, see Cowboy King on Upfront page.
Back to Top Torpedo
This game is a gym version of the pool game "Sharks & Minnows." Using a basketball court or marking your own, you need a large rectangle. Two kids are chosen as the "launchers" while the rest of the group (anywhere from 15 to 50 kids works fine) lines up outside one of the short sides of the rectangle. The launchers stand on either of the long sides of the rectangle, armed with dodgeballs or something similar. A leader or youth is the caller. The caller shouts "TORPEDO!" and the kids start to run as fast as they can to get past the line on the other side, where they are safe. While they are running, the launchers try to hit as many people as possible with their dodgeballs, while staying behind their own lines. They usually can only get one good throw in, since they can't cross the line. Any runner who gets hit must sit down exactly where they are. They are now land mines.

Now it gets interesting. Each time the kids torpedo across the room, there are more and more land mines to hit them. The youth on the floor can try to touch the runners. Anyone touched must sit down too. Eventually you get down to two lonely runners, and finally, one winner.

Added by Becky Heffner
Back to Top Trashball
Divide into two teams. This game is basically basketball, with your own player as the basketholder (assists at getting the ball in).

Use a trashcan about the same size as your ball. Have each team choose a trash can holder (rotate regularly, its a fun place to be). Have each one stand up on a chair (they can't move from the chair or grab a ball- just move the trash can). Make a boundry of about 10 feet around each holder with tape. Anyone caught inside the tape must sit there indefinately (at your discretion).

For large groups, add an extra ball or two. Players can only take 3 steps when they have the ball, so more are involved.

This is a fun game because, with the help of the can holder, almost anyone can make a full court shot, so we tell players the ball must touch a certain # of girls on their team before they can shoot.

NOTE: It's a good idea to play this game with a rule about not diving under the chairs the trash can holders are standing on. We recently received an email from a youth leader saying, "I broke my wrist when some overeager youth toppled over the chair I was standing on trying to get at the ball!" OUCH

Submitted by Jon Talley
Back to Top TubeMania
Outdoor & Big room. Have a TUBEMANIA night playing the following tube games!
    (steal the bacon with innertubes): - This is a physically exhausting game that can be lots of fun, but might be best if played boys against boys and/or girls against girls.

    Mark a large square in the field and place a stack of seven to ten inner tubes in the center of the square. Divide the group into four equal teams, each one lining up on their side of the square. Number the players on each team from one to however many players are on each team.

    The object of the game is to get as many inner tubes as possible across your team's line. Call out several numbers. The players with those numbers run to the center and start dragging the inner tubes to their lines. There may be several players tugging on the same tube. Each tube successfully pulled across a team's line is a score (one point) for that team.

    Once the kids get the hang of it, add a soccer ball to the game. Each team gets a point deducted from their score if the ball is kicked over their line. Team members along the team line act as goalies. Once the ball touches the ground in their territory the point is scored against them.

    To further complicate the game, add a cage ball, or earth ball (four to eight feet in diameter). The team that gets this ball across their own line gets three additional points.

    Good name for this game. Be very careful- if you don't use good safety precautions this could result in injuries. Divide your crowd into two teams, each team in two groups for a relay. Line the teams up in four corners of the playing field, each team diagonal with it's partner team. Give each group 2 or 3 tubes (depending on size). The first team members must step into the tubes, pick them up (so they look like a Michelin Man) and run diagonal to their partner team. Of course their partner team and two apposing teams are running through the same intersection so look out! First team to switch all players across the diagonal one at a time is the winner.

    This is a simple relay where you give each team one tube and they race to see who can get their entire team through their tube first.

    This is basically Sumo Wrestling for poor people. Two players battle each other, each holding a tube like a belt or belly. Draw or rope off a small circle that they try to bump each other out of.

    Get 5 innertubes (small to medium sized ones work best). One of them serves as the middle ring. Tie 4 ropes (ropes should be 8 to 10 feet in length) to this middle tube (you have to have your tubes tied for this game!!!) Tie the other ends of the ropes to the other 4 tubes - one rope to each tube. Next you will need 4 cones and 4 tennis balls. Lay out the inner tube contraption, putting the center ring at the center (duh...) and the other 4 stretched out to the noon, 3, 6 and 9 o'clock positions. Then place the cones with the tennis balls on top about 10 feet out from the inner tubes. Kids then get in the inner tubes and on "Go" they attempt to become the 1st person to get the tennis ball off their respective cones (thus a four way tug-o-war). Since they are essentially pulling against 3 other people, from different directions, it's not always the biggest/strongest that wins. Caution: Don't do this game on cement/asphalt because someone always slips or falls down and then gets drug across the ground by the other players.

    BASKETBALL GIGANTE (Giant" in Spanish)
    Get 2 carpet role tubes (12 foot card board tubes) you can get them from any carpet co. You also need a big cage ball (earth ball). simple you hang the tubes from the gym ceiling with some rope and the kids must get the ball through the goal (over the tube and between the ropes). We play this game in our gym with up to 175 kids.

    BASKETBALL GIGANTE submitted by Mike
Back to Top TV Tag
Like regular tag, only when the person who's "it" is about to tag you, duck and say the name of a TV show before being tagged. You can’t get up until another player tags you. If every player but one is ducking that player has to run and tag another so that the game keeps going.

Added by Colombiangrl

Also see Blob Tag on Outdoor page and Jail Break (Gym Tag), & Jail Break 2 on Big Room page.
Back to Top Vacuum Cleaner Bowling
To understand this game you may need to know the history. The other night, my leadership team and I were setting up for our outreach event. One leader (who had just returned from the Florida Gatornationals Speedway) was vacuuming the floor when an idea hit him. He began to do vacuum cleaner drags. Then he "trained" the vacuum cleaner to come to him. (He did this by walking it across the room and pointing it back to where he plugged it in and "called" it to him.) OK, so he wasn't working that hard.

Well, anyway, then it struck him to set up targets and try to bowl them over with the vacuum cleaner. And then it was birthed: Vacuum Cleaner Bowling. It's pretty fun. We run competitions across the floor about 40 feet. Whoever knocks over the most pins in two runs wins a prize.

Most bowling centers will loan you used pins for this, saving you the investment of buying the ten pins necessary. (And you might want to use old vacuum cleaners that are no longer needed.)

See Human Bowling & Pumpkin Bowling, both on Big Room page.
Back to Top War Ball
War ball is combination of dodgeball, capture the flag, and hide and seek. Let me explain!

You can make your own “war balls” by wadding up two pieces of paper and wrapping them in scotch tape, or simply buying those soft plastic balls that fill children’s “ball pits.” Your call, just make sure every single student who is playing gets 2 war balls apiece.

Now, break your group up into 2 equal teams (number-wise and ability-wise). Put one team on one side of your facility and the other team on the other side of your facility. (If you have an upstairs and a downstairs, use that, too!) Designate one team to be the “attacking” team and the other team to be the “defending” team.

Turn off almost all of the lights, only leaving a few on. The “attacking” team must take over a designated area – or capture a flag inside the designated area – without getting hit by a war ball thrown at them by the other team. The “defending” team’s objective is to defend, of course!

Players may throw their war balls at any point during the game, and can re-throw any war ball they find laying on the “battlefield.” (In other words, war balls can be recycled during play.) If a player is hit, he/she is out of the game. Head shots do not count. If a person is hit in the head, he/she is still in the game. (This should reduce the temptation by some to throw war balls at other students’ heads.)

Set a time limit on each game so that they do not go on forever. Plus, you get to switch it up after the first game, making the defending team the attacking team, and vice versa.

Oh, and if you make your own war balls, save em! Your students will want to play this one over and over again!

Idea by David M.
Back to Top Wheelbarrow Eating Race
Get 2 or 3 couples. Set out 3 lines of food items beginning with small stuff (M&M pile) and get larger (Jello or a plate with Spam). The girls wheelbarrow the guys down the row as the guys eat the items.

Play music in the background and have towels to clean up with. For fun, have a girl wheelbarrow in a guy in total crash uniform gear and have him crash and burn into crowd. You, being the helpful leader, decide to teach them how to do it (“Name of Your Youth Ministry”) style.

Idea from Young Life
Back to Top Wiffle Ball
Outdoor & Big room. Do I need to explain this game? You might ask me why I put it on the list even. I'll tell you: Come in real close so I can whisper it in your ear . . . BECAUSE IT'S FUN!!!

Also see Rio Linda Wiffle Ball, Shaving Cream Wiffle Ball, & Fat Bat, all on Outdoor page.
Back to Top Zombies
Start off with one or two zombies, but if you have lots of players, three or four might be fine, too. The goal of the game for the zombies is simple: tag the humans to make them zombies and then find other humans to tag, while the humans' goal is to attempt to survive. I highly recommend incorporating "zombie noises" like grunts, growls, and roars instead of silence, as it makes the game creepier. It's a very simple survival game, but the noises are what really get you. I highly recommend this game at a retreat or a game night/overnighter where there's lots of time to play, but it might be possible to work in a half hour of zombies into your youth group.
Back to Top Zombies 2.0
Another version of the zombies game. This is a great overnighter event.

Pick two students to be the "zombies" and send them off to hide. After 2 minutes, send the "humans" out to search for the zombies. As soon as a zombie is found, they chase after the humans (while doing their best zombie noise). In order to be transformed into a zombie, a human needs to be tagged by one or more of the zombies. The goal is to survive as long as possible!

OPTIONAL: Make the zombies walk (like a zombie would) or bear crawl while making fun zombies noises!

Idea submitted by Chris Anton

Back to Top Zombies!
This game is modeled off of the popular game Juggernaut in Halo 3 and is a blast for nearly any size group. You can play it with as few as 6 people and as many as 50! Here are the rules:

Find a big location - preferably a big room, gym, or maybe even outside - and set up the playing field with obstacles all over it (We use our multi-purpose room which has chairs that we stack up in all sorts of shapes and obstacles). In one corner have a starting area for the Alpha Zombies and in the opposite corner have a starting area for the humans. The game begins when the Alpha Zombies say GO!

Each human is equipped with a ball (kick balls and tennis balls). The goal of the game is to survive as a human for as long as you can.

The Alpha Zombie's job is to tag the humans making them zombies. Zombies must have one hand on their head at all times so they can be identified as zombies. If an Alpha Zombie is hit twice by a ball (no head shots allowed!) he/she must do an up-down (jump onto their stomach before standing back up), then they can proceed to hunt down humans. If a human becomes a zombie they need only to be hit with a ball once before having to do an up-down. The last humans to be turned to zombies get to start the next round as the Alpha Zombies.

Start with 1 to 2 Alpha Zombies depending on the size of your group. If you're playing with 50 kids you may want to start with as many as 4 or 5. By the time most of the humans become zombies the game really starts to look like Shawn of the Dead!

Idea submitted by Joey


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