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The Bird and the Perch

This game requires an even number of people taking part and needs people to get into pairs. ' It's best to match people into boy-boy pairs and girl-girl pairs. It is also a good idea to try to match people of similar weight and size where possible.

Each of the pairs has one person who is a 'bird' and one person who is a 'perch.

What happnes is that on a certain call, the bird has to go and sit on the perch. Make the call something very distinctive like perhaps a bird squaking sound.

You can throw all kinds of variations into the game where the perch has to sit on the bird; the bird and perch have to go forwards / backwards / left / right etc. Think of lots of ideas.

If you are ever out and you have the pairs with you, you can always make the squaking call and see if the 'bird' runs across to find their 'perch.' This has apparently happened at airports etc with people going on trips - remembering the Bird and Perch game!

Thanks to ET for this game.

Hands Circle

Everyone kneels down in a circle with their torso facing forward, supported by their hands which are face down on the floor.

Each person loops each of their arms / hands next to the person on either side of them, so everyone's hands are jumbled up - so it would go Person A / Person B's left hand / Person A's right hand / Person B / Person C's left hand / Person B's right hand etc. This needs at least 4-5 people so that a decent circle can be formed.

The person starting the game taps their hand on the floor taps their hand once and everyone must tap the floor with their hand in order going round the circle in the order of the jumbled up hands/arms. If anyone taps twice, the direction is reversed. If anyone forgets to tap or taps out of sequence, they are out.

Thanks to ED for reminding of this game.

The Shoe Game

Saw this slightly crazy game being played at a youth event recently, so thought I'd pass it on!

Basically all the young people that want to play (!) lie down in a circular 'spiral' shape (with their heads at the centre of the circle) and their legs at the outside of the circle.

Then, the youth leader takes off one shoe (preferably not a hobnailed boot...) and throws it high up into the air above the group and shouts 'SHOE'. The group then have to scarper out of the way of the shoe landing on them! If the shoe lands on them they're out.

Variations include: having more than one shoe thrown up / getting the young people to shut their eyes / shouting 'SHOE' as the shoe starts coming down!

I believe the credit for this goes to a youth group from Chumleigh in Devon.

10 words

Very easy game, 'stolen' from the leader of Exeter Network Church (who saw this used elsewhere). You decide on a topic or an idea and each young person has to summarise that topic in just 10 words. (Or you can make it 20 words etc).

So for example - get young people to give their testimony in 10 words.

My testimony would be something like, "Lost in emptiness. God reached down and saved me." If my testimony was (up to) 20 words it would be something like, "Empty life. Tried to fill with violence. Brother killed. Gave my life to Jesus."

Other ideas would be to get the young people to summarise things like: Your church (could give some interesting ideas!); or the Bible; or the life of a Bible character you're studying etc.

You can use this for many contexts too - so get people to talk about social issues, world or political issues or subjects that you're studying. It may be 'injustice' or 'racism' or 'music' etc.

Photo Challenge

Here's an easy game which can use the young people's phones and tablets etc. The challenge is simply to take some photos of various things. This will be different depending on where you play the game (for example inside or outside, in the city or in the countryside etc). Here are some examples:

Inside Photos: something used for heating / a lightbulb / a wall / electronic equipment / plug socket (don't touch it!) / door hinges / window lock / carpet / floorboards / a bin (trash can) / a book / a cup / some kind of tape (eg sellotape) / a CD or mp3 or recording device / some kind of cable (eg a USB cable) / a strange but funny kind of photo

Outdoors Photos: an insect / some trash / a boulder / grass / heather / a flower of a type local to the area / any ruins or old buildings, ancient dwelling places etc / a quarry / a vertical face of rock / a waterfall or stream / a sheep, goat, cow or other livestock / someone pretending to be a compass on the ground facing north (or a group making a 'compass shape') / an artistic 'landscape' style nature photo

Urban Photos: graffiti / brick / trash on the floor / an ant / a spider's web / double yellow lines (or lines painted on road, being careful!) / a car / a motorbike / a bicycle / a car tyre / a shopfront / everyone in the group in a 'gangsta' pose / a manhole cover or drain / a tall building / a 'creative / artistsic' type photo

The group then have to come back to you and show you their photos. Make sure every group has a phone that can take photos and be sure to say not to take photos of people without their permission and no bad photos etc..

If everyone has all the photos, the winning group / person will be the one which you judge to have the best 'artistic' or 'creative' or 'funny' photograph.

Clap Challenge

Get everyone standing in a circle / semi-circle. The challenge is that each person has to clap once and then the next person claps and so on. The aim is that each person claps (in order) around the circle or semi-circle as fast as they can. Have someone ready to time the claps with a stopwatch of whatever variety you have. The person with a stopwatch gives a countdown and then get the group to try and beat their times!

Frozen Themed Pictures

Get everyone into groups. Then you give them a series of statements and they have to do a freeze frame that represents what you've said. So the things you can say can be themed to whatever you want. You can also get them to represent a 'before' and 'after' (ie they do 2 freeze frames). For example, the Raw Nerve Theatre Company did a session on bullying so they got students to do a freeze frame of bullying, then another freeze frame of resolving the bullying / being friends. You could choose other themes - people not being a Christian, people becoming a Christian; people excluded from a group, people included in the group etc!

Squats and Wall Squats / Arm Extensions

This is a fairly easy game (that can be adapted for those who are differently abled). It's quite simply doing wall squats and seeing who lasts the longest. To do this, everyone lines up with their back against a wall. They then have to squat down (back still against the wall, knees bent) so they are 'sitting' against the wall (it's like they're sitting, except with no chair!) They then have to extend their arms outwards and stay in that position as long as possible.

The variation on this game is that they have to do the squat, but instead of having a wall to rest against, they must squat in the open. So find a space in the room, then bend the knees as if sitting down and extend the arms fowards / outwards at 90 degrees to the body. Then stay there as long as possible.

This game can be adapted for the differently abled - by a helper / friend holding up arms. Or simply do this game by seeing who can hold their arms out in front of them (fully extended) for the longest time possible.

Paper Bag Pickup

Your prop is one paper bag in the centre of the room, opened up full and standing up. Get the young people to stand around the bag in a circle. The aim of the game is to pick up the bag without using their hands, arms, feet etc and without kneeling down (ie they have to pick up the bag in their mouth by leaning forwards). Each person gets one attempt otherwise they're out of the game. Each time you've gone round the circle, fold the paper bag over one fold (making it smaller) and then repeat the process. The winner is the one who lasts the longest! This game can be adapted for those who are differently abled (put on a table for example).

(This game was also done with a cereal box and 1cm / 1 inch cut off each time you go round the circle)

Duck, Duck, Goose

This is another old classic. Everyone stands in a complete circle, facing inwards. One person is chosen to go around the outside of the circle anti-clockwise. As they do so, they walk around tapping each person they pass and saying 'duck'. When they feel like it, they choose one person and as they tap that person, they say 'goose'. At that point, the person doing the tapping has to run around the edge of the circle, with the person they called 'goose' chasing them. If the tapping person runs around the edge before being caught by the 'goose' they take the vacated place in the circle and the 'goose' has to walk around the circle and start the process over again. If the 'goose' catches the person who tapped them, the person tapping has to continue and go through the process again.

Orders

Divide the group up into 2 equal groups. They have to fulfil a series of challenges set by you, but in silence. The challenges are:

  • First group to arrange themselves correctly in height order, tallest to shortest.
  • First group to arrange themselves correctly in date of birth order, oldest to youngest
  • First group to arrange themselves in name order, (A-Z) of first names
  • First group to arrange themselves in name order, (A-Z) of surnames

Revels Game

Revels are a brand of chocolate sweets that contain a number of different number of fillings, such as orange, coffee, raisins and even more chocolate! What you'll need is a packet of these revels, and possibly another pack of sweets as rewards. The game can be done in 2 ways with the same principle - the principle being that young people have to come up, guess a flavour and then put their hand into the bag and take a sweet. If the revel they choose has the same filling as they guessed, then they get a few sweets as reward! OK, so this game is subject to them cheating by pretending the revel they're eating is the same as the one they guessed! But, it's a fun game.

The 2 ways to do this is to put the packet in the centre of a circle and get young people to come up and take a revel. Or, if you want to be more in control of the packet (!) you can walk round with the packet and offer it to individuals. This may help if people don't want to take part or feel pressurised in a circle!

NB - careful of allergies with this game if there are raisins or traces of nut..

Sleeping Lions

Everyone in the room has to lie down on the floor in the room as if they were a 'sleeping' lion, except for 2 people. The job of these 2 people is to go around the room and watch everyone else to see if the 'sleeping lions' move, laugh or speak. They are also allowed to do silly non-touching things to encourage the 'sleeping lions' to move, laugh or speak! Last lion standing (I mean, sleeping..) wins!!

The Hand Game

Everyone kneels down on the floor in a circle (they need to get pretty close for this i.e. Shoulder to shoulder) and they have to cross their hands over with their palms face down on the floor. Cross over with left hand over and right hand under. Then nominate a person to start and a direction and they have to go round the group tapping their hands in the order they are in on the floor, NOT the order of the young people. Keep adding in new rules like double tap skips the next hand, a fist reverses the direction and a double fist tap reverses the direction and skips a hand. As you go round encourage the young people you work with to go as quickly as possible and try to get people out. People go out if they make a mistake (i.e. missing their turn, hesitating, or going when it isn’t their turn), when someone makes a mistake they remove the hand that made a mistake from the circle. Keep going until you have two people left. (Thanks to AH for this game).

Bing Bong

Nice and easy game. Get the group into a circle facing inwards. Nominate someone to start the game and go around the circle clockwise. The first person says, 'Bing' then the person next to them says, 'Bong' and then the next person has to say their own name. The 4th person round then starts with the word 'Bing' again.. You can go round the group and try this slowly, then gradually speed things up. If someone hesitates or says the wrong word, they are out. To spice things up further, we throw in the word 'woosh'. Anyone in the circle can say 'woosh' at any time. When they do, the order reverses. So.. if person 1 says, 'bing', person 2 says, 'bong', person 3 says, 'woosh'.. Then person 2 would have to say, 'bing', person 1 would say, 'bong' etc. Speed it up and don't let anyone hesitate! Last 2-3 people standing win!

The Bomb

In this game, the students sit in a circle facing inwards. Thie only prop needed is a soft ball. The ball is effectively a 'bomb'. A nominated person starts with the 'bomb' and then has to say someone's name and throw the 'bomb' to them. That person has 1-2 seconds only to say someone else's name and throw the 'bomb' to them. People go out of the game if they (a) hold the 'bomb' too long, (b) don't say someone's name before they throw the 'bomb' and (c) do such a bad throw of the 'bomb' that the person they are throwing the 'bomb' to, can't catch it!! To get a winner, penalise people if they hold the 'bomb' for more than a fraction of a second..!

Jaffa Jelly

(You do need to buy some Jaffa Cakes for this game, get 2-3 packets for a group of around 10)

Give each young person 3 jaffa cakes. The point of the game is to eat away part of the jaffa cake and leave just the jelly with no chocolate or cake left on it. The winner is the first person to have just 3 jellies left in front of them.

Variation – Open up a couple of packets of Jaffa cakes or more depending on the size of your group and the winner is the person with the most jellies once all the jaffa cakes have gone (often young people tend to get bored and just eat the jaffa cakes but that’s fun too!!). Thanks to AH.

Acting Out

Over music, get the group to act out different scenes - football, baseball, parachuting, surfing, golf, tennis, boxing, sumo wrestling, skittles, windsurfing, ice hockey, cricket, basketball.

The second idea is to get them to act out different celebrities, pop stars, movie stars or sporting heros. I won't put any suggestions down as you'll know your group and who is 'in' at the time!!

When I go camping, I'm going to take..

Get everyone to sit in a circle. Start off a game by saying, 'When I go camping, I'm going to take..' and then list 3 things. You must have a link between these 3 things. Then, go round the circle. One by one, the young people have to say, 'When I go camping, I'm going to take..' and list 1 thing that they think relates to what you have said. If they get the link, you agree that they can 'take' their item when they 'go camping'. If they miss the link, they cannot take their item.

For example: you say, 'When I go camping, I'm going to take a toothbrush, a toilet roll and a tin opener'. The link (which you keep to yourself) is that all the items begin with the letter 't'. Then people go round and ask you if they can take an item. So, (carrying on our example), young person 1 says they'll take a packet of biscuits. You reply, 'no'. Young person 2 says they want to take a giraffe. You reply, 'no'. Young person 3 says they will take a torch. You say 'yes' because they have mentioned an item that begins with the letter 't'.

Find other ways of linking items together, or do clever things like sniffing before you say each item at the start. The young people then have to pick up on the fact that you sniffed, and sniff before they ask you if they can take an item. And so on.. Hope that's clear!! :)

Mime Reflections

Mime is when a scene is acted out without words or props. Instead, the performer is encouraged to get the audience to believe something by their actions. A mime artist may wear white gloves to heighten the sensation that they are drawing a scene through silent movement alone.

In this exercise, get the young people into pairs. One of them is 'A' and one is 'B'. They stand facing each other. 'A' is responsible for making a series of slient movements. 'B' has to impersonate what A does, as if they are a 'mirror'. So, for example, A raises their left arm - so B raises their left arm. The art is to choreograph slow movements so that B can easily follow A. This can look very effective and be great fun when done well.

Mime Scene

Get the young people into pairs so that one is 'A' and the other is 'B'. In this exercise, the 2 young people have to come up with a 1-2 minute mime scene. So that means silence when performing!! The scene must be set in a specific location such as a bus stop, a movie theatre, a classroom etc. Give everyone around 10mins to come up with a scene and then they have to perform the scene back in front of others.

Freeze Frame

A simple drama game whereby the young people all walk around the room. When you say the name of a job, they have to stop and hold a still 'freeze frame' pretending to be that job. For example: teacher, farmer, doctor, bus driver etc. After they freeze frame and you make a note of who has the best freeze frame, you get them to walk around again before calling out a new job. And so on..

The variation on the game comes when you started shouting out emotions instead of job titles - eg. happy, sad, angry. Encourage them to exaggerate the emotions in their freeze frame.

The second idea is to get people to act out different sports - golf, soccer, baseball, parachuting.

Hand tangle game.

Everyone stands in a cirlce and puts their right hand into the middle. They have to hold hands with someone else in the circle, but they can’t be standing next to them. Then they do the same with their left hands and hold hands with some who isn’t next to them or that they are already holding hands with. They then have to untangle themselves without letting go of each others hands. (Thanks to AH / CYM for this!)

Chair Crossing

In teams you have to cross the room without touching the floor only using 2 chairs. Race to see which team gets all of their team there first. (Thanks to AH / CYM for this!)

The Phrase Game

Quite simple - and a variation on the Talk for a Minute game below. Basically in a 1-2 minute time, the contestant has to talk about a subject and say certain phrases while they're talking. This makes the talking game a little bit more tricky! So you have to get the students up to the front and then give them a topic as in the game below - for example baseball or soccer. Then, as they talk about this subject of soccer or baseball, they also have to say the phrases so that they fit in with their talk and make sense. So that the person has help, display the phrases up on a screen so they and the rest of the group can see the phrases. If they can't put all of them into the talk, that's OK - the one(s) who do the most and make the most sense will win.

So, examples of phrases you could have.. In this instance they're from company straplines:

I'm loving it / For everything else there's mastercard / Always Coca-Cola / Just Do It / The ride of your life / The power of dreams etc etc.

So if someone was talking about soccer, and was getting the above phrases in, they may say:

" I think soccer is an amazing sport. To me it's the greatest thing. Someone may travel in a sports car and say, 'wow that was the ride of my life' but to me, soccer is the best thing on the planet. I never used to play until one day someone said to me, 'just do it' and so I joined my local club. Tell you what, I now play every week and 'I'm loving it'. Usually at the end of the game, we have energy drinks to get back the energy but last week, we ran out. Fortunately someone had some coke and said, there's 'always coca-cola' so that had to make do. One day we hope to get promoted from our division into the next league above us. As the manager says, 'the power of dreams' will help you achieve anything. You couldn't buy promotion, it's just something that we'd love to succeed in doing. 'For everything else, there's mastercard'. "

Or you could make up random sentences that they have to include in their talk. Have fun!

Talk for a Minute

Have your volunteers up to the front. Their job is to talk on a given topic for 1 minute. They cannot repeat words or say the same things over. They cannot hesitate, say 'erm' or 'um' or pause. If they do, their time finishes and they are bopped on the head by a foam mallet, or sprayed with a water pistol. Then it's on to the next person. The winner is the one who can keep going for the full minute. In a tie break, have them go again on new topics. To get your topics, you ask your audience what the volunteers have to speak on. The more surreal and narrowly focused, the better. What you can do is run through the game with some simple topics like 'sport' or 'shopping' and then gradually focus it down to 'the interior of Ford Focuses' or 'the social habits of the Indian elephant' etc etc!! Be creative.

The Mummy

Very simple game this one - and cheap! Buy a pack of toilet / loo roll. Have 2 teams. Each team has to 'wrap up' one of their team mates to look like an Egyptian Mummy. The team that does the neatest / best job is the winner. You can be the assessor!!

Warning - of course, be very careful about breathing and make sure you tell the teams that the person's mouth (and preberably nose) must be left open. Keep a careful check on each 'mummy' to make sure they're OK. Obviously, the 'mummy' will be a volunteer and no doubt someone who doesn't have a problem with claustrophobia / being in enclosed spaces!! :)

Circle Grab

Thanks to Dave A for this game. Ideally, you need an odd number of young people to play this game, or a youth leader will have to join in as well. You get a group in a circle, each sat in a chair. The chairs are facing inwards to the centre of the circle. You want half as many chairs as you have in the group, plus one spare chair. So, if you have a group of say 20, divide them up into pairs. In their pairs, one sits on the chair (facing inwards) and the other stands behind the chair with their hands behind their back. The extra chair has one person standing behind it, and no-one sat in the chair. The 'spare person' standing behind the chair alone has to look around the circle of people sat down on the chairs, who also have to look at the 'spare person'. When the 'spare person' winks at someone, they have to try to run from their chair into the chair of the 'spare person'. The person behind the runner has to lay a finger or hand on the runner before they get out of their grasp. If the runner is grabbed, they stay where they are and the 'spare person' will have to wink at someone else. If the runner succeeds in legging it, the 'spare person' changes to the person who's just lost the runner. The new 'spare person' then has to wink etc etc.

When this was used in a high school, it was part of a session looking at slavery. The people behind the chairs were 'slave owners' and the people in the chair were 'slaves'. You can swap round the people in-front and behind half-way through the game.

A-Z Word Game

Get everyone into groups. Each group has a piece of paper. On the paper, you get them to write down several 'object' headings that you can make up. Change the headings according to your group / purpose, as ever! For example:

Fruit - Movies - Actors - Actresses - Football Players - TV presenters - TV shows - Bible characters

Download and use this Adobe PDF sheet (or do your own) - and give one to every group.

Then, you decide on a letter of the alphabet and shout it out. The young people have to write down something under all / as many of the object headings as they can, beginning with the letter. They then have to bring you the piece of paper with their words written on. Points are awarded where a group uses a word that no other group has used. So, the purpose of the exercise is to choose words that others won't think of!

So, you decide on the headings above. Each group writes them down, one under the other across the left-hand column of the page (under 'Object Names') in the greyed out spaces, eg:

Fruit
Movies
Actors
Actresses etc.

Then, you shout out 'A' for example. Your groups write down words beginning with 'A' under the 'Round 1' heading eg:

Fruit - Apple
Movies - A Bug's Life
Actors - Arnold Schwarzenegger
Actresses - Angelina Jolie

They bring the paper to you. Checking over the papers, you find that every group has written 'apple' except one group, which has written 'avocado'. They get a point for that.. and so on.. Then, you shout out another letter and they do the same under the 'Round 2' column..

Hope that's all clear, I've tried to make it as easy as possible for you!!

Splat

Everyone stands round in a circle facing inwards. One person is elected to go into the centre. Their job is to look around the circle before randomly pulling out their fingers (to make a 'gun'), firing at someone and saying 'splat', at which point the random 'victim' chosen must immediately duck. If they do not duck down, they are 'dead' and out the game. The person in the middle must then start over, by randomly splat someone else in the circle. If the random person does duck down, the 2 people either side of them must quickly turn and 'shoot' each other with their fingers as guns, and say 'splat'. Whichever one of these 2 individuals that 'splats' each other first, stays in the game. The other person is 'dead' and out the game. The person at the centre then wheels around and randomly 'splats' someone else, and so on, until you have a winner.

Balloon Keepy Up

For this, you need to blow up a shed load of balloons..

Get 3 young people up to the front. Point of the game is that they have to keep as many balloons in the air for 30 seconds as possible, with more balloons being added by you (to them) all the time!

To change the rules and make more tricky, say - as many in the air as possible, but you can only use your arms, or your head, or your head and shoulders, or your feet etc.

Thanks to ICE for this game.

Chocolate Fest

A nice and healthy game this one. This simply involves getting loads of different types of chocolate and mixing and matching them for some good old healthy chocolate eating.

Option 1 - Buy several different kinds of individual chocs (like Smarties, M&Ms, Minstrels etc). Then mix and match them into small packets and have people eat them. You can go for fastest eater, most creative eater etc.

Option 2 - Buy chocolate from different brands, melt them together, and then have people eat them. You can even get cooking 'shapes' to shape the chocolate. You can do this at home, or with a group over the cooker, in a controlled exercise. You could buy same Dairy Milk, some Galaxy, some Milka, some Kinder chocs etc. Then smelt them together. Try different combinations and assess which one is best. Name them too - so a Galy Milk, or a Milkaxy etc.

Option 3 - Have different types of chocolate and do a taste test. For this, you'll need a blindfold and a 'reluctant' volunteer to come and test some chocolate!! Blindfold them, give them different chocs and do 3 things. Firstly, see which one they prefer. Secondly, get them to assess each one out of 10. Thirdly, get them to try and name which chocolate they're eating. You will likely need to give them options of which chocolate. So as in our examples above, you could give them Dairy Mily, Milka, Kinder, Galaxy, Fair Trade chocolate etc.

Christmas Pudding Taste Test

As with option 3 (above), buy some Christmas puddings from various local grocery stores / supermarkets. Then share them around with a few people to assess which is the tastiest!

Caution - Be VERY aware of nut / peanut allergies. Also check the puddings to make sure there is no alcoholic content.

Obviously, you can play this game with various things - such as Fair Trade fruit against other fruit.

Paper Games

Divide your group into 2 or more teams depending on size of your group. Each team has to design various things to 'win', involving only paper. So, exercise 1 is to design a paper airplane. The winner is the one whose plane flies the longest distance. Exercise 2 is to design a ball with paper. The winner is the ball that rolls the furthest / in the straightest line. You can have other exercises, such as building the tallest structure, using just 5 sheets of A4 paper, making the strongest bridge possible out of 5 sheets of A4 paper. And so on..!

5 Boxes

Simply have 5 boxes at the front with 5 contestants. Each box has a prize in. One by one the contestants point to the boxes and then have to take that box and open it. Inside will be a prize, or more likely, write the name of a prize in them. Then that players wins the prize.

Balloon Race

You need at least one large packet of balloons for this game, not surprisingly! Make sure the balloons are all the same size (and not different sizes for different colours). Split your group into teams. Each team has different colour balloons. Stand all the teams behind the same line in a fairly large room. On a whistle or shout 'go', each team has to blow up as many of their balloons as they game, then release the balloon, before tying the end. The balloon that flies the furthest across the room wins (and therefore that team wins). Of course, you can play this game as individuals, rather than as a team game.

Balloon Headers

The same kind of deal as balloon race. Have a packet of balloons. Have teams or individuals standing behind a 'start' line, with a clear 'finish' line at the end of a room or hall. The purpose of the game is to inflate, tie and then 'head' (bounce the balloon on your head to propel it forward) over ther finish line at the other end of the room. If you have teams, this can be done as a 'relay'. Bear in mind it takes a while to propel a balloon this way.

If the balloon falls down below head height you need to decide what to do. The person can either (a) return to the start line, or (b) you pick it up where they are standing and give it back to them to continue.

Another version is to propel the balloon forward using a foot, a nose, or another implement such as a hymn book. Depending on how creative you want to be. Just don't tell the pastor, vicar, leadership team..

Hoola-Hoop Game

Courtesy of Jez & Helen. You need 2 hoola-hoop rings. Get up a group of up to 6 girls against a group of up to 6 lads. The team players are only allowed to use one finger (each) to hold up the ring, placing the finger underneath the ring. The players are all standing and the ring starts off flat, with each of the 6 players using their one finger (each) to hold the ring at around arm height. The game is then to lower the ring down onto the floor without any of the players taking their finger off the ring as they lower it. Simple? You'd be surprised!

Secret Santa

The Christmas present game where everyone in your group gets a present. What happens is that you decide a budget (£1-£5 for example). Make sure the budget is the same for absolutely everyone. Then, each member of the group has a couple weeks to go and buy a present in budget. The present should be a general one and not gender-specific. This is then nicely wrapped too. On a decided night, you get all the presents together, put them in a hat, and then get everyone to randomly pick a present out of the hat!

After Eights Game

Another one people already probably know. Basically you get a packet of After Eight mints and people have to start with the After Eight on their forehead and then get the mint into their mouth by working it carefully down their face. They're not allowed to drop it unless they put the mint back on their forehead. You can have competitions down to semi-finals and a grand final if you like. Thanks to Simon and Kay for suggesting this one.

Card Stack

Easy one this one. You'll need a couple packs of regular playing cards. Get into groups and they have 3 minutes to build the highest card stack. No-one is allowed to attack another group's stack of cards else that group is disqualified!

Newspaper Game

Very simple one this one. Get a bunch of the same newspaper - one for you - and several for the people in your group. Look through your copy and pick out a bunch of headlines, images, text or adverts. Choose big obvious headlines, small ones, hard to find images, easy to find images etc. Look for around 10-20. Note down ehich page they're on and where etc.

Now when you get your group together, get them into several small groups. Each group gets a copy of a newspaper. Now you have 3 options:

1. You can shout out the headline (or put on on powerpoint etc.) and the first group to find and bring the headline to you wins.

2. The groups have a certain amount of time to find the article and write it down - or cut it out. These options have a time limit - so ask a question every 30 seconds or so.

Group with the highest score wins.

Copy That Game

One person acts as the Creator. You get 3 volunteers up and they act as the Copiers. All 4 people are sat on chairs. Very basic. The Creator has a series of set moves that they act out and the 3 Copiers have to copy exactly what the Creator does. (For example stand up, sit down, turn around, jump up..) The Copier who copies the Creator most accurately wins.

Draw the Subject Matter

We used this to get people to draw their images and concepts of the Holy Spirit on paper. Use verses from John 3.22, John 16.4-15, 1 Kings 19.11-13, Genesis 1.2 and others to illustrate images of the Holy Spirit from the Bible

Draw a Christian

The purpose is to get the young people to draw pictures of stereotypical Christians. This helps us look at what people think of Christians. That helps us to recognise some of the challenges that face us. You can also get them to write words that describe stereotypical Christians. Is there such a thing as a stereotypical Christian?!

The Eye Contact Game

Get 2 volunteers and they have to stare each other out. The one who holds eye contact the longest wins

The Pop and Movie Quiz

Just make up a Pop/Movie quiz from the past week, month, year etc. and have a good old quiz in teams, pairs of individually. Some sites on the internet even give you ones for free - there is a UK free quiz site, just search under google.co.uk to find it.

Presents

Everyone gets a present and passes it to left and says something nice to that person. You can do this one by one or at the same time. Everyone then opens their 'new' present.

Guessing Games

This can work on many different levels. You can get something wrapped up and everyone has to guess what it is. Or put something in a box and then they have to guess. You can do the old 'guess the amount of candy' in a candy jar to win it. Or go from the Bible and guess the amount of parables Jesus told. Guess how often Paul was shipwrecked etc!

Link the statement to the song

OK, time to test pop knowledge. You come up with a load of statements around life, the church, young people, music, the news etc. and then get the young people to put the best song title to that situation.

For example, there was an earthquake recently in the UK - what song titles could you use to describe that? Other things - the local football team, the pastor's sermon (!), describe your school, your best mate, your youth leaders and so on. No 'parental advisory' songs allowed!

Chinese Whispers

Get a group sat tightly together and start off by whispering something in the first person's ear. They have to whisper it to the person next to them and so it goes on. The last person in the group then repeats it back.

Participation

I went to see a play the other night. It was very arty and bizarre but it gave me a couple of ideas. At one stage the actor stopped the play and encouraged everyone to pull a cheesy grin and make a cheesy grin noise. Idea! Get several silly ideas and encourage everyone to take part. So, get everyone to impersonate a famous TV personality. Get people to do their best Homer Simpson impression. See who has the most convincing Miss Piggy voice (or personality!) etc. Be silly, be creative, be sensible, just be..

Get the keys

Everyone in a circle. One person sits in the middle on a chair, blindfolded. There is a bunch of keys on the floor next to the blindfolded person. The aim of the game is for one of those in the circle to get the keys without the person in the chair catching them (or pointing to them, depending on how hard you want to make it). The one proviso is that the person who tries to get the keys has to walk around the person in the middle once before they can try to get the keys. If the keys are successfully taken, the person in the middle stays in the middle. If the person in the middle catches the other person, they swap roles

Circle Tag

Everyone sits in a circle facing inwards. One person (who is 'hit') walks round the outside of the group. When they feel like it they tag someone on the head. The person tapped has to get up and chase after the person who is 'hit'. The one who is 'hit' has to run round the circle and get back to the space vacated by the person they tagged, before they are caught. The loser becomes the one who is 'hit' and the procedure repeats..

Donut Game

The old classic where you get some lovely jam donuts (ahhh!) and get the young people to eat them without licking their lips. It can be entertaining.

Yes or No Game

As it says, you get one young person and ask them a series of questions designed to get them to say yes or no. If they do, they lose. If they manage it for a minute or 2 minutes they get a prize... here's a sample yes or no game that we used... (you ask them all the questions below..)

1. So, it's Sunday night...
2. Bet you're glad you came along tonight...
3. The name's Steve by the way...
4. And your name is...
5. You are one of the people at this church aren't you..?
6. Pardon...
7. So, it's back to school/college/work on Monday...
8. Been anywhere nice recently..?
9. So are you enjoying tonight then yes..?
10. Anything you'd like..?
11. Been nice weather recently hasn't it..?
12. Had a holiday this year..?
13. So, you went on the church walk on Tuesday yes..?
14. But of course you were praying weren't you..?
15. So you are 15 years old yeah..?
16. Ha! Told you I could make you say your age! (hopefully if you haven't got them by this point you will here.. but not always!)

1 minute game

Everyone has to put one hand up (and not use their watches or a passing clock). Tell them you want them to put their hand down when 1 minute has passed. It's surprising to see how many hands drop down well ahead of the time

Chocolate game

Yes, the one where you sit everyone in a circle with a wrapped bar of chocolate, a pair of gloves, a hat and a scarf in the middle. Get hold of one or two dice and then get the members of the group to roll the dice. When they land a six they must put on the gloves, hat and scarf and eat some chocolate before someone else lands a six

Cream cracker

Yes, another classic. Get three people and give them 3 Jacobs cream crackers each. You can get them to try to eat all 3 in a minute (it's not humanly possible. However, I recognise few of your young people may be human). Alternatively see who eats the three crackers first (if at all!)

Crackers and balloon

A slight variation on the above. Get three people. Their mission, should they choose to accept it, is to eat a cream cracker and then blow up a balloon. It's harder than it sounds..

Chomp and sing

A bizarre game that I saw done at Spring Harvest. You'll need 2 teams or more. This involves readying a delicious concoction of food which a nominated youth leader has to put into his mouth. The youth leader then has to hum a number well-known tune from the charts, one at a time, to each team. Each team has to try and guess the songs. The team who guesses the most wins!

A variation on this is to get the youth leader to gargle the song instead! Ahh, the joy of being a youth leader..

Wink murder - (be a bit sensitive depending on your group)

This is the game where everyone sits in a circle and someone is secretly nominated as being the 'murderer'. The others have to guess who it is before they are 'murdered'. Someone is 'murdered' by the 'murderer' winking at them. Anyone 'murdered' must then act dead silently

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