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8 Stupid (And Fun!) Youth Group Games

I found THIS link today in my Youth Specialties update via my email. Thanks Kelli Mahoney for sharing!

Bobbing for Ho-Hos

Got milk? Got some Ho-Hos? How about a big, clear bowl? That’s all you need for this game. Like bobbing for apples, you put the milk and Ho-hos in the bowl and let people bob for the chocolate treats. The person who gets the most of them wins.

Slippery Limbo

Lay a tarp down on the floor. Take some dishwashing detergent and spray it down on the tarp. Add a little water, and you have a slippery surface. Then have the students to line up to do some limbo. If you feel like the floor is too hard, do this activity outside or lay some mats under the tarp.

Turkey Bowling

While this is an excellent idea for Thanksgiving, it is still fun year-round. Lay plastic tarps on the floor. Take ten bottles of soda (still full), and lay them out in a bowling pin pattern. Buy one frozen turkey per team (keep the turkeys frozen until service). Then team members take turns using the turkey like a bowling ball to knock down the soda. Be aware that the sodas may “explode” and spray your audience.

Donut on a String

Tie a donut to a string and the string to a pole. Then have someone lay on the floor. The other person has to hold the pole so that the person laying on the floor can try to eat the donut without using his or her hands. The first team to eat the whole donut wins. (It’s really harder than it sounds.)

Blind Water Balloon Volleyball

Using a van or opaque shower curtain, lay down two bedsheets on each side of whatever his hanging in the center as the “net.” You should not be able to see through the “net.” Have each team sit on their bedsheets with their water balloons. Each team tries to throw over a water balloon so that it hits the sheet on the other side. Because the teams cannot see the other team, it is harder to be ready to catch the flying water balloons.

This Is a What?

Another game that seems simpler than it is. Have everyone sit in a circle. Pick up an object and tell the person next to you, “This is a marble.” He asks, “A what?” “A marble,” you answer. “A what?” he asks again. “A marble,” you say. “Oh, a marble,” he says. The pattern is now established. He then takes the marble and turns to the next person and starts the pattern. As the marble goes around, you start on the next object and the next object. Eventually there will be a lot of these conversations going on at once. The goal is to see how many objects you can pass around the circle.

Living Sculpture

Toilet paper, saran wrap, and tin foil are used to make sculptures out of one person per team. The team with the best sculpture in the time allotted wins. The “sculpture” volunteer stands in a position while the team wraps toilet paper, saran wrap and tin foil around him or her to create a “work of art.”

Milk Chug

This is fun, but ultimately disgusting. It is a good idea to get permission from the parents of students competing, as it will likely result in vomiting. So why is it on this list? Well, it really is a fun competition to do during a service. Have four or five students volunteer to compete during a youth service or activity. At the start of service give each student a gallon of milk. Throughout the service the students chug the milk to see who can finish the entire jug first. It is a good idea to have garbage cans on hand.


Best-Ever Games for Youth Ministry

About Steve Blanchard

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13 comments… add one

Comments

  1. Mike says:

    Maybe it’s a personality thing, but I have a hard time using these types of games in my ministry. I didn’t get them when I was a kid and I don’t get them now. My students bristle when we go to an event where these types of things are included. What exactly is their usefulness? Why ask our students to flop around in dishsoap or vomit milk?

    I’m not trying to be a jerk or sound superior or anything, I’m just wondering what is the redeeming quality of games like these?

  2. Steve says:

    Mike the redeeming qualities are many….uh ummm. Ok, let’s take this angle. Suppose a friend is invited and absolutely loves the youth ministry because of some the interesting and stupid games that are played so they keep coming back, then one night his eyes are awakened and he or she asks Christ in. Was the stupid game used of God? Absolutely. God even used a donkey to speak.

    I have to admit, I’m much more like you and don’t really like stupid games. I would much rather just teach students the bible, maybe sing some songs, but it seems that these kind of games seem to stick around youth ministry and when I ask myself the question of why did I come back to youth group in high school, part of my answer would include games cause you just never know from week to week what’s going to happen. It’s a fun factor.

    Thanks for your comment, I would like to hear more about this.

  3. Mike says:

    I guess I struggle with the thought of students who walk out the doors thinking how lame our youth group was – “I’m never going back there again. I’m having a rough time in school, I think my parents are getting a divorce, and my boyfriend says he’s gonna dump me if we don’t have sex soon. I thought there might be somebody to talk to, but they just wanted me to suck pudding up a straw with my nose…”

    If students are deciding not to come back, I want them to be leaving because they met Jesus there and don’t want to follow Him yet – not because the game was stupid. I think you’re right, that these games “seem to stick around youth ministry”. I just wonder if they’ve stuck around too long.

    Incidentally, Mark Oestreicher has touched on this issue on his blog lately as well with some of the Youth Ministry 3.0 posts.

  4. Marilyn says:

    Teens like to have something to talk about that links them together at school. I know at our youth group when we do a game or something funny that a teen missed I get approached by many of them asking to repeat it as they heard the talk around school. The game should set the tone for the night and not be solely the night. You get their attention more when you have teen-friendly fun and build trust so they can come to you with more serious matters because you let them be teens!

    They like having permission to do silly things that they wouldn’t do otherwise and it allows them to drop their guard of reputations, pride, etc!

    Now… I get, what are we doing this week? I tell them the silly game and also the topic. It is what has built our youth group from 15 to 80.

    That is why you have silly games.

  5. Suzanne says:

    You’ve presented some really good ideas and I’ve enjoyed the information on the site. You must realize though, that drinking that much milk or any fluid so quickly can not only cause vomiting, as you have noted, but also death. It might be wise to scratch that idea. The woman who died last year in California during the radio show contest only drank 2 gallons and she was an adult to boot. She didn’t quite guzzle it either. They gave her 8 oz. water, waited 10 minutes, then 8 more ans so on. It would take less to kill a child. The vomiting is your body’s defensive mechanism to rid the toxicity of water from the body (vomiting is the primary response with milk, but the risk of death exists even with milk, since milk is primarily water). By drinking excessive water or other fluids you can lose vital fluids that can cause you heart irregularities, seizures, comas or death. If there is even a remote possibility of death, you could be opening your church up to a wrongful death lawsuit or a negligence lawsuit, not to mention the devastating injury to a child. In the very least, drinking that much milk can cause diarrhea for days afterward.

  6. ian says:

    In Australia we have 4 terms per year of 10 weeks each. That means that on average we have about 40 weeks of youth group per year. Each youth group night is roughly 90 min.
    Maximum we have around 5 years of someone attending youth group (if we are lucky) usually this is 3-4 yrs.
    This means that taken at 4 years by 40 weeks * 0.8 (for all those ones that are missed) = 128 youth group nights, 192 hours of youth group.

    In that 192 hours we are hoping to effectively communicate not only what Christ did, but what their condition is before God and how Christ is their only hope. Further we also hope that we are able to impart key values of community, hope, love, faith, joy and a sense of belonging with the body of Christ.

    All of this leads me to question the value of bobbing for ho-hos (whatever they are).

    Yes, things need to be fun and the “come again” factor must be there, but for many the high school experience of Christ through youth group is the only experience they may have. Lets drop the games that focus on violence or excessive consumption or are just plain unhygienic.

    As a youth group we compete in some ways with already over loaded schedules to teach about the peace that surpasses all understanding, lets give all the respect we can as leaders to those tiny 192 hours.

  7. laurine says:

    As a Catholic teenager intent on listening to the word of God, I love these ideas. Honestly, Mike, do you really think kids enjoy sitting around discussing all day? That’s not what draws people there. If you never play random, silly games or follow through with ideas that your kids have, your youth group will NEVER be successful. I’ve been a part of that, and I quit. My best friends and I all go to our youth group BECAUSE we have so much fun. We also pray a lot, do service projects and have even gone to Nazareth Farm in West Virginia (If you have not heard of this EVERYONE SHOULD GO, google it, because it might explain a lot to you about God and about the teenage relationship with HIM, since it doesn’t look like you know a lot about that… I mean, a group of 40 teens spending a week rebuilding peoples houses.).

    Plus, my friend george chugged chocolate milk at youth group two months ago, and he puked. no big deal. it was hilarious. but i do see how that could be dangerous.

    THE END.

  8. Kimberly says:

    Hello… there seems to be an excessive amount of defensiveness and offensiveness here… but I will say as a youth in a youth group that games do attract people… but it’s not numbers that matter. It’s keeping the ones you do have and working with them to develop their faith and understanding of God so it can survive college that’s important!

    Do you realize how many kids come to youth group but are a completely different person in their home/school life? Without talks or discussions or fiery passionate sermons about the filth of the “world” and of the “flesh” kids will rarely get what you want them to out of the night.

    So that’s NOT the end, laurine. Playing games is fun and does attract people, but drinking alcohol is also fun, and has a lot stronger of a pull than bowling with turkeys. Smoking and going to wild parties or substance bonfires is a lot more fun than watching someone else drink a glass of milk. You need to be able to offer us something MORE.

    As I’ve gotten older I’ve noticed as my youth group went through youth pastors, the numbers changed. When we did nothing but play a silly game each time there was perhaps 10 people who came overall, but their attendance was spotty so there would end up being maybe 4 to 7 people at each youth group. When the new youth pastor came after that, he came with fire and plans for a new worship service that began with music, had a passionate sermon in the middle, and ended with some more music. Attendance skyrocketed! We went from 5 coming at each time to 200!! People thrived off of the disciplining he gave them in his sermons and how he didn’t cut corners when telling people what they were doing was wrong. During worship people sang as loud as they could and raised their hands and discussions in small groups and Sunday mornings actually happened! And flourished! He went on his way, but most of us are still around with the new pastor who keeps to the same service layout, music, sermon, music.

    I think games are great and fantastic… but as a non-sunday/thursday/wednesday/etc. night occurance. Like having a youth olympics complete with prizes an hour or two earlier than the normal youth time, but then buckling down later for good discussion/whatever. Or having someone gulp a gallon of milk and throw up and then rearing up for a sermon on the disgusting gluttony of the media and how we gorge ourselves on images of sex and violence… etc, while someone in the bacground is throwing up. Pretty vivid sermon illustration, huh?

    Games can have great outcomes… especially when a prize is a free trip to starbucks with the pastor and another chaperone of the same sex as the prizewinner (for liability’s sake) where they talk about the prizewinners life and school and boyfriend trouble or girlfriend trouble, peer pressure and how stupid they think their mom or dad is…

    So yes. Games are fun and cool, but they are not what makes a youth group great… just like A1 steak sauce isn’t what makes a good steak great.

    Not a sermon, just a thought.

  9. Ashleigh says:

    I fould this sight interesting the games maybe a bit out there but when your in youth ministry you gotta think outside the box. I know for our youth group games deffinitly help to get things going and people mingling which is awsome, it helps the new people to feel welcome and gives the regualrs something fun.

    I agrea with the other thoughts that you can’t just have games galore and no substance, becuase when the games are gone what will keep the kids comming if they don’t meet Jesus. I think games are a great draw and they do attract people.

    What we offer to this generation has to be authentic. I mean Jesus constantly had people flocking to Him the good and the bad to see what He was about, He was attractive and His ministry was attractive beacuse He gave the people something real.I think if we have Jesus at the center of our ministry He will show us how to reach this generation and He will draw them. Having said that games are a great way to to start of an evening and head into something a bit more serious. I think your sight is great and it did help me to think of a few ways to start of an evening and get things going! Thanks so much and God Bless

  10. Layton says:

    Wow, this is some good discussion. It’s great to see people thinking through what they do at youth group. It can be easy to get trapped into just doing the same thing over and over and never think about it anymore. Kudos to you all. As for our youth group, I enjoy doing games with the teens, but those that go along with the lesson. Jesus used stories to give lessons. We may use games or object lessons to do the same thing. I talked with one of our teens a few years ago about the games. He even said that he liked the games that went along with what I was talking about rather than the ones that just made no sense at all. Sometimes we do other games – like a name game or get-to-know-you if we have several visitors or something silly to help open everyone up; but for the most part I prefer to stick to games or object lessons that go along with our lesson. I’ve even placed a game in the middle of a lesson to prove a point! Don’t let games or singing or anything just “take up time” or be a “filler”. Always remember your purpose – and let everything else enhance that.

  11. steven godwin says:

    I think that these stupid games is what they need. it is true that using gods name in everything is helpful but with the youth of today it is not as easy as we had it when we were there age. there are alot more things in their lives going on. like sex and divorceing parents, and drugs. but you know if the youth can do these stupid things in front of eachother than I think they become closer. and once you get the trust their is nothing that us as leaders can’t do…. think about it… if a youth comes in and is abused or is going thru a period in their lives and there seems like no hope… they will be withdrawn and quiet. (most of them) or you have the ones that have become violent. we need to step up. these games bring them to smile and laugh. and loosen them up and maybe just maybe they will talk about things with us…..and if they feel comfortable they will come back. but if it is boring and all class time some will stay but most will leave.and I think it is our responsibable as leaders to help as many as possiable… they are our future

  12. steven godwin says:

    people defiantly have to look outside the box. I agree with ashliegh. you have to make it exciting for them and if getting goofy and nuts is the way to do it…… than by all means. but you are right the same old games is boring too. so we as the teachers of the future we need to step up and fix the broken system…. we are only human and I would like to think that we are doing the right things but like I said we are only but human.. we need to pray on everything that we do and say. so I don’t know about you but I am up to the challenge.(with gods help) I know you are like me. I think that we just want to help our children… with any comments you can email me at stevetoledo2@aol.com. I am always open to new ideas and way to serve better.

  13. Marissa Corbin says:

    Wow this is a great site when you have an assignment to find activites to do for yw ym or just either thanks

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