The Source for Youth Ministry

Games & Icebreakers

Garbage War

Divide the room into four sections by putting tape on the floor. Have a ton of newspaper and toilet paper and other "dry garbage". The object is to get all of the stuff out of your section and into the other team’s section.

The Point: This might be a goofy opener for a talk on how to get "garbage" (sin, bad influences) out of our lives.

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Comments on this post

   Callie         2/19/2014 10:41:41 AM

We played this game and my youth had a great time, but I switched it up a bit so that it could be a part of the lesson (sin and forgiveness, sickness and healing) instead of just an intro. Set up is the same, but make sure there are some garbage cans accessible to all sections. Explain, "The object is to get all of the garbage out of your section. Whichever team has the least when the game is done wins." Demonstrate throwing a section of crumpled paper from one group's section into another group's, but don't say anything about how they should get rid of their trash. See if they mimic your action, or come up with their own solution. "You have three minutes. Go!" Don't offer any further instructions. Teams might come up with strategies, or gang up. Some might be creative and save up their paper to do a sneak attack at the last minute. Some might just throw theirs in the trash can. It might just be pandemonium. At three minutes, call time and tell youth to freeze. DISCUSS: • What kind of challenges or problems did you run into? • Who did best? Did you have a special strategy? - If someone did think of a special strategy to get rid of theirs: "Why do you think that worked?" Or did someone have a strategy that backfired? What was it? - What happened when you just threw trash into another group's section? -Did any alliances form? THE MESSAGE: - "What if I said the garbage is sin?" - "What happens when people hurt us or sin against us? When they "throw trash" into our lives? What are some different ways to respond?" - "How did we respond during our game? Did it work?" - "What about our winning team? What did they do differently?" [If no one came up with an alternate solution to the Garbage War, ask "What's another way we could have solved our challenge?" Offer suggestions if youth seem stuck.] - "We can respond many different ways when we sin or when others sin against us. We can get even, but then we have trash flying everywhere. We can bottle it in and hold on to it, but pretty soon we'd feel suffocated from all the garbage building up around us. Or, we can let it go by offering forgiveness and healing, or seeking forgiveness and healing." This worked great with my youth. We had everything: hoarders, alliances, sneak attacks, human barricades... One boy thought to put his in the trash, then an opponent pulled it out and threw it back into the game. Afterward, some youth said, "Wait, we could do that?!" I said, "Of course you could have. My only rule was to get it out of your section. You could have thrown it outside the playing area, or in the could have EATEN it if you wanted."

   Matt Pilla         6/21/2011 7:20:59 AM

OK, so we played this game with our Junior High group last week. It was a huge hit! The kids (and leaders) had such a blast... non-stop laughter and throwing trash at each other. Just have a way to trick them into thinking that cleaning it all up is part of the game!!


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