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Spendthrift Theme Days

Have themed weeks where people are encouraged to dress up according to a certain theme. These can be any kind of themes - but preferably ones where people don't have spend lots of money to dress up or buy expensive fancy dress items.

The goal is to have fun and not to spend the most. In fact, encourage people to use clothes and items they have - and then donate any money they would have spent on fancy dress to different Christian charities.

You could also do themes relating to the charity you are supporting. However, you need to be super sensitive to this - you don't want young people coming in looking like they are 'mocking' those they are intending to support, how ever unintentional this may be.

Or you can simply use Biblical themes.

Your room can be set up to relate to the theme. You could also consider cooking along the lines of your theme. Be as creative as you can!

Bulk Bag Jumpers

Get hold of some 1 tonne waste bags - those huge bags used for garden waste or for huge amounts of building sand. You can pick up 5 for around £15 on Amazon or try your local garden centre etc.

This is just the same as a sack race except what you'll do is get teams of 4 young people. They all get into a waste bag and have to jump together to move forward down a short course. Don't make the course longer than around 10 metres as it takes a lot of effort to get that far and they may get bored and give up!

You can either time groups one after the other, or if you have more space (for example a local park), you can do it as a competition between scenes.

Credit for this game - the Royal Marines Visibility Team - as seen at a Scouts / Guides event.

Album stories

Find a bunch of albums (preferably worship ones or at least ones without dodgy song titles) and then make a list of all the songs on the album. Get people into teams and ask them to come up with a story (or a few sentences that at least make sense!) using each of the songs on that album. You could even give people a theme.

As one example, before the election, we used Bethel's album, "We will not be shaken" and using the song titles from that album, came up with the following on the theme of the election:

Voting day. Will the Tories stay in power or will it be ‘Seas Of Crimson’? The politicians have campaigned, parties pointing at their leaders and saying, “Who Can Compare With You.’ People have voted for parties, saying 'You Are My One Thing’. Others look at things more spiritually, just saying ‘Jesus We Love You’ and not any political affiliation. For some the result will feel like they’re ‘No Longer Slaves’. Others will head ‘Home’ feeling gutted. Don’t worry. It won’t ‘Ever Be’ one party or the other. Some people’s heads are exploding, thinking “I’m ‘In Over My Head’“. In all this, God cuts through all the spiel and we can say of Him, ‘You Don’t Miss A Thing’. I pray that today and every day you know the ‘Nearness’ of our all-loving God. And whatever happens, our trust is in him. #Wewillnotbeshaken.

Your preparation will simply be to find some albums, write down the song titles, put them onto paper and give them to the teams. Extend the game by giving teams more than one album.

Living Photo-shop

All you need to prepare for this game is to find some famous painting pictures online - plus the use of a digital camera or smartphone.

OK, so the idea is this... Get some pictures of famous paintings or photos - the classics e.g. 'The Last Supper' painting or even a solo painting like 'Mona Lisa'. Then re-interpret that picture and create your own scene - then photograph that scene. Famous paintings apart from the ones we've mentioned are: The Scream, The Creation of Adam, Starry Night, Girl with a Pearl Earring, Nightwatch, The Kiss, Water Lillies etc.

Think about how you can prepare the scene, the characters and the facial expressions. You may need to get hold of some accessories. Or you may simply want to re-do the photo with your group 'as you are' but looking like the characters in the famous paintings or photos. Maybe you can do some looking serious, some surreal and some silly. But hopefully you get the idea...

Once you've snapped the images, get back to a room with projection and get those snaps uploaded and on screen to have a good chuckle!

Photo Bookmarks

Take photo of all the members of your group and make a bookmark laminate and write a personal message or Bible verse on them. Idea from Suzanne Shiells.

Journals

Buy little hardback notebooks - can get these for about 75p in somewhere like Wilkinsons and write a special verse or message in the front page. Then give the notebook as a journal to the young people. Idea from Suzanne Shiells.

Bracelets

Make bracelets for the group to give to one another can give meaning to the different coloured threads. Idea from Suzanne Shiells.

Agony Aunt situations

Get a theme and then write up some agony aunt situations - so situations where people have to give advice on what to do. You'll probably need to prepare these before you get to the youth work session (although if you're a spontaneous type or experienced you'll probably be able to make up good situations on the spot!) Get everyone into different groups to do this exercise.

Example - look at how we help each other:

John has recently had a hard time at school with doing his homework. His dad isn't around and his mum often has to work in the evenings so John has to look after his younger brother. He finds it hard to do any homework as he has to cook and put his brother to bed in the evening and then gets very tired. How could we help John?

Think up your own situations depending on your theme and needs!

What was said to cause that face?

This one takes a bit of preparation just in terms of getting a few photos and putting them up on screen. The kinds of photos you're looking for are preferably ones of people in the youth group, on youth team or in the church. The types of photos you're looking for are ones of people pulling funny faces. If you can't find ones from church, find ones off the web. The competition is very simple - put up one photo at a time and get people to answer this question for each photo: "What did someone say to cause the person to pull that kind of face" (or words to that effect) Should get a few laughs!! Thanks to Andy Hood for this idea.

Hollywood Quiz (put together February 2011)

Hollywood Quiz (Page 1 answers, Page 2 is questions with spaces to answer)

Hollywood Crossword (Blank)

Hollywood Crossword (Answers)

Obstacle Course

Do an obstacle course that's quite simple - such as walking around a couple of chairs, weaving in between something, going underneath a rope (get a couple of people to hold up the rope). Then ask for a volunteer and their mate to come up. One of them is blindfolded, the other has to guide the blindfolded victim around the obstacle course. It can be quite amusing. Girls generally do better at this, so ask lads if you want more of a laugh. I've seen this work brilliantly, even with Year 11s!

Note - this is mentioned in a couple of the assemblies - here and here. Thanks to Vicky C for this idea.

Egg Racer

The students have a period of time to go home and make an egg racer.. There are rules:

  • The egg racer must carry an egg for 5-10 metres without the egg falling out or breaking
  • It must be constructed at home
  • It cannot be powered by motor, or moved by hand
  • The egg racer must therefore be self-propelled (use of ramps / slingshots / elastic band 'motors' etc is allowed)
  • You can have awards for distance travelled, fastest speed and best design

Be quite strict about what is and isn't allowed. Encourage everyone to take part / work in pairs or teams.

Thanks to the Science Department at St Luke's Science & Sports College, Exeter for this :)

Jaffa Tower

Split the group into teams of about 4 or 5 and give each team about 32 jaffa cakes (the cheap ones will do) a bunch of cocktail sticks and some some squirty cream (we used ‘tip top’ which is a cheap uht based one so you don’t have to put it in the fridge). The teams then have to build the tallest free standing tower out of the above materials in 5 minutes. It is not allowed to be held up or supported by anything other than the floor. We found putting down newspaper or a tarpaulin to be a good way to ease the clearing up afterwards. Thanks to AH.

Baby Photos

Everyone in the group has to bring in a baby photo from when they were a baby (!) You scan them in / put them under a photocopier and make a sheet (or more) of their photos. Keep a record of who each baby photo is of. Then print off a few copies / put them up on screen - and have everyone in the group write down who they think each baby photo is of. The one with the highest correct answers is the winner!

Movie Video Shoot

For this you will need a camcorder, or preferably more than one. If people have good enough video on digital cameras, or on phones then you can use these - if they can plug in to a TV and be shown back. Firstly, you need to make a list of some movies that people can act out and summarise. These should be well known movies that you and the young people know. They then have 20 minutes (or so) to script the movie storyline, summarise it and act it out on camera. These are then played back on a TV screen. Make sure you have the right adaptors, leads and plugs so that it can be shown back on TV or on a projector - SCART converters (or similar) and / or the leads that come with a camera. The winners are those who everyone votes have most accurately captured the essence of the movie, and can identify characters / scenes etc. Have fun.

Lego Bricks

Using lego bricks (or similar) you have to build a bridge that a member of the team can crawl/slide/walk under. Either do it as a race so that the first team with a free standing lego bridge that a member of the team can get under wins or that they have to build the cheapest free standing bridge that a member of the team can get under using this price guide. Large bricks = £10, small bricks = £5 and labour costs = £20 per 10 minutes. (Thanks to AH / CYM for this!). You could of course replace lego with other materials that are cheaper, such as paper, craft materials etc.

Encouragement Game

Thanks to ZK for this game. This is a great 'game' that's more like an encouragement exercise with a bit of fun. What you do is to go out and buy a few generic presents for the young people. Each of these is wrapped up. So good so far. The extra bit of spice comes in that these presents are thought about carefully, so that they have some meaning. Then, a note (or preferably a card) is nicely attached to the present explaining something about that present, and giving a spiritual meaning and Bible verse. So, for example, you go out and buy a Kinder Egg, with a toy inside. The encouragement may say that God is doing something very special for you, getting ready to 'hatch' the egg or something. The Bible verse may be Psalm 139.13-14: "For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well."

You can find a meaning in many presents that you buy, but just go out and take a bit of time. A female is usually much better at this kind of thing than a male, so choose carefully who goes picking presents and writing notes / cards. Have fun!

Blindfold Taste Test

Taking other games on a level, how about a blindfold taste test. The point will be to try and guess which brand is which. You will need various similar food stuffs from different brands / stores. Get 3 of each food / drink type - or 4 of each. Bring up the same amount of contestants as you have different brands. Blindfold them and get them to test each of the ingredients. The 4 volunteers will be told what they are going to be tasting and the 4 options. Then they get a sample of each of the ingredients and be asked which is which.

To make it more interesting (if you have lots of people volunteering to take part), why not have a 'hat' with pieces of paper listing each of the different food / drinks in. You ask for 4 volunteers, then you draw out of the hat the type of substance they will be tasting. Remember to keep all the 'ingredients' safely stashed away where no-one can see or find them!! Don't worry about excess food, it'll be eaten up afterwards if you have any teenage lads!

Waiver / Safety - Some of your young people may be allergic to certain ingredients. Please be extraordinarily careful. Have all the information on each young person physically with you. Any young person who you are unsure about, be careful and avoid any substances like peanuts or any nuts etc, or disallow them taking part. Read the food labels carefully and look for info like 'may contain nuts' etc. If anyone wants to withdraw from tasting any particular thing, that's cool - obviously!

In the examples below, we've gone for 4 of each 'ingredient':

1. Coke. Try Coca-cola, Pepsi, Virgin Cola, another branded cola (like Lidl etc)

2. Chocolate. Try Cadburys, Galaxy, Fairtrade Divine, another Fair Trade branded chocolate.

3. Mineral Water. Try 4 of Evian, Perrier, Buxton, Highland Spring, Volvic etc.

4. A dessert, such as strawberry cheesecake, from different local stores.

5. If you are brave enough, get youth leader's to cook some cakes. The students have to fit the cake to the leader!

6. Glasses of water / orange squash. You can do glasses of water from different taps in the church - or water / squash from the homes of different youth workers.

7. Crisps. Get some Ready Salted crisps from different brands such as Walkers, Golden Wonder, Sainsburys, Tescos. Make sure the crisps have the same kind of stle / consistency - eg. if you throw in Doritos it may be kinda obvious, LOL!!

Take this to whatever extreme / use whatever ideas will fit your group!

Consequences

For this, you need pieces of paper and pens. The purpose of the game can be varied. Essentially, you put 4 headings on each piece of paper (in landscape), equi-distant down each page. What then happens is you give a piece of paper to each young person. They fill in the first category, fold the paper and pass it to their left. This continues until all 4 categories are filled. The purpose is that the person writing each category, doesn't see what the previous person has written. Once all 4 categories are filled in, take the papers off the young people and then read back what they have written. Check what they've written before reading!!

On the PDF version we've provided for you, the 4 categories are Person 1, Person 2, Where They Met and What They Did. So, for example, if you read back a sheet that said, 'George Bush' - 'Britney Spears' - 'Wembley' - 'Did line dancing together'.. You would read out: "George Bush met Britney Spears, at Wembley and did line dancing together."

Here's the link to our PDF download..

Face Mosaic / Montage

Go onto the internet and get some well known faces. Stitch them all together into a montage, breaking up each person's facial features. So, for example, you may have Beyonce's hair, Hugh Grant's forehead, Kate Moss's nose, 50 Cent's teeth, Jim Carey's chin. Stitch them together to make a 'face'. The game is that everyone has to guess which facial part belongs to which celebrity.

To download our Powerpoint (March 2007), click here.. 6 'faces', each with 4 elements.

To download the second Powerpoint (March 2007), click here.. 4 'faces' with 4 elements.

To download the associated PDF file of answers, click here..

Stop The Traffik Chocolate Game

This is a variation on the classic game where you roll a dice, put on hat and gloves and use a knife and fork to cut up a bar of chocolate to try and eat it.. In this game (to promote the Stop the Traffik initiative), the rules are as follows.. Firstly, place the chocolate bar in the centre of the room. Then, have some cable ties (or similar). When someone throws the agreed nuber on the dice (say a '6' - meaning it's their turn to try and eat the chocolate), you cable tie them - and then they have to try and eat the chocolate. Have a pair of scissors on standby! The 'cable tied' student then has to use a knife and spoon to cut the chocolate and eat it. Actually, if you want to have a blunt knife to further make the point (no pun intended), then please do. You can add in extra difficulties too - such as blindfolding the student, only giving them a fork with one point on it etc. When the game has ended, unclip everyone's cable tie very carefully! Thanks to Simon D for this idea.

Fair Trade Fair

This happened at a local church and was a great idea. Why not get a load of Fair Trade food / even goods for the group. Get them to pay £2 each and they get free food / fruit etc. Or, you could buy stuff and get them to bring family / friends etc. and sell the chocolate / other fairly traded items. This could also lead to increasing Fair Trade awareness.

Why not visit websites such as www.fairtrade.org.uk and research your subject. Use places like Tear Fund to get goods, so you can support them too. Find out from local shops who sells what, so you can encourage people to shop fairly. Find out information, get packs and you may even be able to take up a donation, or give a percentage of an entry fee, directly to Tear Fund.

I say Tear Fund as they are very Christian, but with a good balance, and give direct to the people who need money and materials on the ground. Others such as Christian Aid are also recommended.

Game - Deal or No Deal

Play this game exactly as the Channel 4 series. I will describe how it works for those unfamiliar with it..

Playing this game will depend on how many people you have in your group. To make it work well, use at least 6 people - and up to say 10-12 people. You will need to create as many boxes as you have people, and then number each box numerically on the outside, starting from 1. The box should have a lid, which is liftable in only one direction. On the inside of each (sealed) box, write the name of a 'prize' as described below on the underside of the lid so it will be readable to the audience when the contestant lifts the lid. The numbers should be written clearly on one side of each box.

So if you have 6 people, make up 6 boxes. On the inside of the boxes, you will need to write something that the player can 'win'. Unlike the Channel 4 series, you won't be offering a top prize of £500k. However, you need to have a range of 'prizes' that range from the atrocious to the desirable. Examples are below:

1. A mars bar
2. A banana skin
3. A one pence piece
4. A £5 note
5. A tape or CD of the pastor's last sermon
6. A £1 mix of Haribo or sweets etc.

7. A signed photo of the youth pastor
8. A £10 CD voucher
9. A cup
10. A £1 coin

As you can see, not every item is desirable, but they should be randomly spread across the numbered boxes. So, don't make number one the most desirable prize and number 10 the least desirable! Note that the prizes are not inside the boxes, only the name of the prize.

Then, you need as many contestants as you have boxes. So let's say you have 6 contestants. They come up and choose a numbered box each and then have to sit or stand in a semi circle facing the audience / rest of the group. They should be behind a table, with each of their boxes sitting on the table, with the number clearly facing outwards. Then get a dice and role it. Whichever number comes up is the number of the person who will 'play' the game. So if Joe chooses box 5 and the dice rolls to 5, it's Joe who plays. The other players remain where they are.

Joe comes to the front with his box. If you can, have a screen or a flipchart with the names of the prizes on. Do not show the numbers that each of the prizes relates to! So on the screen you'd have 6 of the examples above (or use your own). Joe then has to pick a number. Whichever number he picks, he loses the related prize for.

The purpose of this game is effectively for the player to 'gamble' on winning as big a prize as they can. The added element thrown into the mix is that you secretly have some other prizes available. You also know exactly which prize is in which box. Every so often (perhaps after the 2nd and 4th box has been opened), you offer one of these fairly tempting prizes to the contestant, in return for them ending their game. You must plan to have 4 different 'other' prizes. The other prizes should range in desirability. The prize you offer the contestant will be done to make them think about taking the 'other' prize. The other prizes must all be less valuable than the top prizes.

The 'other' prizes (examples):

1. £1.50 (if your maximum prize is £5) and £3 (if your maximum prize is £10)
2. Two bars of chocolate
3. One bar of chocolate
4. £3 (if your maxmimum prize is £5) and £7 (if your maximum prize is £10)

So, let's play out an example of the game with Joe...

On a flipchart / screen, have the prizes (1-6) randomly listed:

A one pence piece
A mars bar
A banana skin
A box of maltesers
A tape or CD of the pastor's last sermon
A £5 note

Joe picks box number 1. The contestant with box 1, opens the box to reveal the word 'mars bar' on the underside of the lid. Sighs, as Joe can no longer win the masr bar. He then chooses box 6. The contestant with box 6 lifts the lid to reveal the word 'box of maltesers.' Groans as he can no longer win that. There is only one prize left that he wants to win! Then you, as the games master, offer Joe an alternative prize. If you are able, have someone else ring your mobile and then call off as you 'answer' it. Then pretend to be having a conversation with this imaginary person. End the phone call and then offer Joe one of your 4 'other' prizes.. In this instance, Joe hasn't done very well, so you offer Joe the £1.50. If he takes it, he ends the game. If he doesn't, he risks continuing and losing the top prize, the £5.

If Joe were doing well (and still had 3 of the 'good' prizes left), you'd offer him the £3 'other' prize..

Hope this makes sense!

Balloon Lift

To prepare for this game, you need to blow up a load of balloons. The more young people you have, the more balloons you are going to need! Split the group into teams, or play with individuals, as part of a smaller group. The purpose of this game is to keep hold of as many balloons as possible, hence the need for loads of balloons!!

Start by passing one balloon to each team (person) who has to keep the balloon up (without it touching the ground at all). One by one, pass the team more and more balloons. The winner is the one at the end with the most balloons in the air!

Create all kinds of twists on this game by having the person stand on one leg, or balance the balloons on a board above their head, or in a basket, or while singing a popular song out loud (that everyone has to sing via a CD player) etc. Just be creative!

Pin the shorts on the Bart (Simpson)

Make a big picture of some one famous or infamous and use the same principle as pin the tail on the donkey. Therefore, the people playing are given a pin each, then spun around a certain amount of times (depending on how nasty you're feeling..) Then the person has to put the pin onto the clothing of the celebrity.

A twist on this is to have 2 separate pictures. One is of the celebrity. Another is of the celebrity's hat, or shoes, or other telling piece of clothing or accessory. So in our example of Bart, we would do a picture of Bart and another picture of Bart's shorts (or hat). The person playing the game is spin around and then sent towards the picture of Bart where they have to pin Bart's shorts (or hat), to where they think Bart's shorts should go (or where Bart's head is).

(Of course, if you go for 'Bart' and his shorts, make sure he is decent 'underneath' his shorts!

How do I get a big picture of Bart or a celebrity?

1. Data Projector to Draw - Do a google search for Bart Simpson. Then you save the image to your computer. Then save this image into something like Photoshop, Publisher, Word, Powerpoint (or whatever you use). Buy some paper (A2 or A1 size) and attach to a wall. Go to your church and attach to a wall. Get your laptop and projector and project the image of Bart onto the piece of paper and then draw the image.

2. Via old school OHP - Do a google search for Bart Simpson. Then you save the image to your computer. Then, you'll need to have a printer and get some 'OHP transparencies.' These are fairly expensive but are essentially they are sheets that can be printed onto by your inkjet or laser printer, and then displayed on an OHP as a normal transparency can. Go to your church and set up your overhead projector facing a wall. On the wall, get a large piece of paper (A2 or A1 size) - see if there's a scrapstore nearby, otherwise visit a stationers. At your church, put this up on the wall that you are projecting onto. Fire up the OHP and then trace around / draw the projected image of Bart Simpson / his shorts. For this you'll need felt pens, spray cans, pastels, paint - something!

3. Finally you can get an image of Bart Simpson and then print up a different part to a different bit of A4 paper (US Letter paper) and then attach those sheets together. Some printers or print programmes will do this automatically. Of course if money is no object get it professionally printed!

Either way, make sure you have a large picture of Bart and a large picture of his hat / shorts. For the hat / shorts, you'll then need to cut around them to make them the right shape. Leave the picture of Bart on the paper as drawn, with a white background around it. To get a bigger image, move the OHP / projector back away from the drawing (or use the lens on the projector to make the projected image larger).

Flour Game

Yes it's another old classic.. Make a mould shape out of flour - for example, a 'castle'. This is done by packing flour really tightly into a tin / bucket etc and flattening it down with an implement. Then slip some paper on top of your 'mould' (tin) and turn upside down onto the floor (on some newspaper). Lift of the 'mould' (your tin) and hopefully a mound of flour will be left standing upright (and not collapsing everywhere, well not yet anyway..)

Then put a sweet (for example a smartie) on the top of the flour. Now bring in the young people - or 'gamers' as we'll call them. Sit them all down in a circle around the mound of flour - and one by one they have to cut a slice of the flour away using a blunt knife. Eventually the smartie will drop as the flour collapses everywhere. When the smartie drops, the last person to cut it (who caused the flour to collapse) will have to pick the smartie up in their mouth without using their hands and eat it. Yum yum..

Movie-oke

Yes, this is already something that happens. But this is a twist on this. Instead of karaoke where you sing back a song, in this, what you do is get a famous movie and find a classic scene that the young people may / will know. You need to watch this before hand to make sure nothing dodgy. Plus you will need to write down the script for reference!

So, for example, choose the red or blue pill clip from Matrix, or a scene from Shrek. You get up someone who thinks they know the actual lines / script in the movie (you may be surprised how some people know this kind of thing). Then you play the movie clip back, minus the sound. The person up at the front has to speak out the actual lyrics they think the actors are saying, as they say them.

Once they've had an attempt (make it a 10-20 second movie clip max), you rewind the movie clip (or click back, having it bookmarked as a DVD clip). This time you play back the movie with the sound up / on. Using the script and the playback for reference, you see how well the contestant did.

Then it's on to the next contestant..!

Art

Each person gets a piece of paper and a pencil. There are 5 exercises. You need plenty of sheets of paper (A4 is fine) - and pencils, or other artistic implements.

Firstly, read from a Bible passage of your choosing that seems appropriate, or links to a theme. From this, the students are encouraged to draw a picture (be it real or perceptual) of the Bible scene that you've read from.

The second exercise is to have an object up front. From this, the young people must either accurately draw the object (realism), or draw the object from a more creative and modern art / surrealist perspective

Thirdly, the students are shown a video, or an image. If this is a video, it is a short video. The point is that they must remember the scene put in front of them, go away and record it on a piece of paper.

The fourth exercise is that the students bring objects from in and around their location - and with it, create something artistic. This can reflect a Bible passage, a character, a principle. Or, you can just have some fun and get them to create everyday or bizarre objects - a car, a spaceship etc.

Finally, the exercise is more spiritual. Some people may not feel this is appropriate, but it's a kind of test prophecy thing. Get the young people to pray in groups and seek God, asking him to speak to them. They then record what they feel God has said to them, in words or in pictures. If it's appropriate, share it within the group - or within the whole group.

You can theme these activities according to your group - for example, if they are in n urban environment there may be those more into graffiti art etc.

Cooking

On a similar theme to the idea below, is the concept of actually cooking together as a group. Not only can this be fun, it can teach people life skills that are increasingly not taught due to lack of time or lack of parental involvement. This can teach skills of cooking, working together, health & safety, teamwork, responsibility. Plus you may even have time to sit down and eat the food together at the end.

Please remember that taking a course in Basic Food Hygiene is a good idea. These courses are run by local councils and community groups (among others). Ask around and find a course. Remember that health & safety and food standards are very important in the kitchen.

Bake and bring your cake

As simple as it looks and says - everyone or groups of people get to bake their own cakes at home, then everyone brings them to a social and everyone gets to eat and test the cakes - with due, care and attention about who you allow to make the cakes and thinking carefully about food hygiene rules, and what goes into cakes (especially if you have any allergies within the group, especially cashew nuts, peanuts etc).

To add creativity and alternatives to this, why not theme the cakes around certain subjects - this could be Valentines day, Christmas, Easter, fun things happening within the youth work and more! Go on.. Post your recipes..

Mouse catcher

Just like the game. Except you get a bunch of corks with a 1 metre piece of string attached to the cork by a drawing pin (make a 'noose' in one end of the string like a mini knot and stick the drawing pin through this knot into the cork and tighten the knot). Everyone gets a cork and everyone gets into a circle on the floor or around a table. Now you have to appoint a catcher. The catcher gets a plastic cup. This is for catching! You'll also need a dice, or 2 dice. The deal is when a number, or 2 numbers are rolled (say the numbers 1 or 5), everyone has to drag their cork out from the centre and the catcher has to catch a cork (or two). Once caught, that person is out the game and has to move away.

The game starts each time by all the corks being placed on a mat in the centre of the group/table - with the owner holding the other end of the string (without the cork). The catcher is also in the group circle. One by one the group with corks have to roll the dice and everyone keeps a b eady eye on the dice. If the numbers 1 or 5 (for example) are rolled everyone has to get theiur cork out of there without being caught by the catcher's cup. Last one in wins.

Guess the Movies

In groups, they have to go away and make 1 minute sketches of different movies that the others would know (without being too dodgy!) Then they have to come back and act them out - other groups guess. And so it goes on..

If you want, make it that they have to summarize the entire movie in that 1 minute. So, Titanic. (Yes, I hate it too..) Captain sets sail, Kate Winslet is there with annoying bloke. Leonardo jumps on board hidden. Then have scenes of the meals. Leonardo meets Kate Winslet. They hug. The ship starts sinking. They jump out and hold onto a life-raft. Leonardo drowns. Hooray! The End!

Obviously, you'll need a camcorder or two!

Guess Who

As mentioned elsewhere on the site. Get a list of unknown and strange facts about the young people. Then someone or groups have to guess who that person is. So the fact may be that 'I once walked 3 miles with a broken leg' or 'I was a Brownie' etc. The person who wrote it then has to stand up. If you want, you can get it so several people stand up and down until finally the right person stays standing..

Digital Photo Mish-Mash

You'll need a digital camera or a polaroid camera for this. You'll also need either a computer with editing software or just scissors. Basically get photos of the group and then edit / cut up the faces so that people's features are broken up - hair, eyes, eyebrows, nose, mouth, ears, chin etc. Then people have to guess who the people are..

If you use editing software and a computer handy, get people to edit the photos using effects and try to guess people from that.

3D Montage

Get a load of magazines, papers, scissors, glue and more. Then in groups, they have to make a 3D montage of a certain subject. So if the topic is how people look, they have to make 3D models of people, using materials available. Obviously this goes onto one large sheet for each group. So they can pile up paper and make it stand out, make human cut-outs, put a picture of a person on paper poking out from the large sheet and so on. Creativity gains prizes!

Crossword

We did a deliberately cheesy crossword, theme was Gareth Gates and Cliff Richard songs - believe me I had to look at amazon.co.uk to find out the songs! (Unlike some of our very sad youth leaders!!)

(click here to download in Microsoft Word format - you may have to right click (PC) or alt-click (Mac) and then hit 'download to disk' or equivalent)

The Operation

Another oldie. You get a white sheet up dividing the young people and the 'surgeons' operating behind the sheet. Behind the sheet is a table with a 'body' to be operated on. There is a lamp at the back so all the young people can see is a silhouette of the 'operation.' To do the operation you get some fake body parts and start to operate. The removal of the brain is done by extracting sausages strung together. The heart is a small balloon etc. You can even burst the balloon to shock them etc!

King Tut's Tomb

A golden oldie! Get a long table and sit a youth leader at one end and a young person volunteer at the other end. The room is completely (and very) dark except for a small candle at the leader's end of the table. The leader and young person are each presented with a plate. The young person copies what the leader does. The leader dips his finger into the plate, wipes it round and then rubs his finger over his face. Do this a few times to different parts of the face. At the end, turn the lights on to reveal the young person has black marks (or white marks) over their face. Why? The young person has had their plate 'laced' with black/white powder. They can't see they are doing it because of the dim lighting

Scrap Heap Challenge

First, the game that we see on TV. Except that you hand pick some of the items of scrap - like string, wood, glue, paper, lollipop sticks etc. and then have groups use the materials to make something relevant to your theme eg. Noah's Ark, the Temple, a human being (no dodgy body parts). Or to represent something - life, holiness, happiness etc. Make sure they also get stuff like safe scissors, sellotape etc. Be creative.

Scrap Heap Challenge 2

The young people have to go out and find items and then dress in the items, eg wrap toilet roll around themselves, make 'clothing' out of other items, a hat out of paper etc. The purpose of this is that we are all like scrap - in fact God lifted us off the scrap heap - no matter what or who we are or what we think of ourselves, God can and does use us!

The Smell Game

Good stuff. Get a load of food (or carefully chosen! household) items of varying levels of stink. These are hidden from view and you call up contestants to the front who are then blindfolded and encouraged to sniff these food items and make a guess as to what they are. The contestants cannot touch the items!

Food Ideas: Sardines or other fish, Cat food, Tomato sauce, Pepper, Crisps/chips, Mayo, Mushy peas, Burgers, Sherbert, Soup, Worcester sauce, Smelly cheese, A freshly cut Red Pepper etc.

Body Parts Game

Quite a cool game this, courtesy of Colin and Gillian A. The game involves getting a room of young people sitting in the dark. Before this, you prepare alleged 'body parts' using vegetables and fruit to mimic body parts. For example, what could you use to mimic someone's eyes? What about olives! Or what about someone's toes? How about putting together some chili's! For the brain you could use a cauliflower! Be creative, I'm sure you can do better than my suggestions! Be careful too!

Karaoke

Massively popular. Get a CD player, some speakers and a couple of mics and get them singing (or screeching, whatever the case may be). This is HUGE especially with girls who often throw off their shyness and bang out a stunning rendition of whatever is in the charts. Some machines even allow you to turn down the vocals - a digital recording unit that does this is the Boss BR8 - if you're in the market for that. (It also does guitar effects. Nifty little thing. There are better options - such as computer based recording)

Mini Olympics

Great idea from CPAS I think. Get loads of mini things and make a mini Olympics. Examples include throwing a straw (javelin). Flicking tiddlywinks (long jump). Flicking counters over an object (high jump). Throw a balloon (shot put) and so on. Go on, it's a laugh!

Mafia

This is a brilliant but difficult game to explain if you don't know it so read carefully. Wait for what happens: the first couple times your group complain they don't get it - gradually they want to play it over and over!!

Everyone sits in a circle. If there are 10 people, you have 2 murderers and 1 detective. Everyone else is normal. Nobody knows who anyone else is. The purpose is for the murderers to kill everyone and get away with it. The rest of the group have to ID the murderers before they are killed

Give everyone a slip of paper and get them to look at it secretly and tell no-one. On the paper is the character they will play for that game (jumbled up each time). You must lead the game through. At the end of each round 2 people are voted to be killed off. The group nominate someone who they think is the murderer each round. Then the murdered secretly kill off someone else. Make it clear that if a person is killed off they must remain silent

Round 1 - Get everyone to shut their eyes. Ask the murderers only to open their eyes so they know who each other are and so you know. Get them to shut their eyes and ask the detective to open their eyes so you know their ID. Get everyone to open their eyes and discuss who they think is a murderer. After a while get some nominations

Once a person has been voted for they are killed off. They then reveal is they were an innocent, a murderer or a detective. Then everyone shuts their eyes. If the detective is still around, ask them to open their eyes and motion towards someone they think may be a murderer. You nod or shake your head to say yes or no. Then the detective shuts their eyes. You ask the murderer(s) to open their eyes and motion towards someone they want to kill. That person is informed and also killed off

If a detective is in danger of dying it's advisable to say they are the detective and who they think is a murderer (especially if they know). Otherwise it can be good to steer the conversation towards a person without giving away their ID. Otherwise the murderers will kill the detective off. The murderers work together to kill off people and defend each other. If they make it too obvious people will know it's them!

The game continues until someone wins with each round seeing a discussion, a nomination, the murderers killing someone, the detective nominating someone - until the group or the murderers win

Pairs

Does what it says on the tin! Just like the game on mobile phones etc. make a load of 'cards' using A4 sheets for example and draw different objects - fruit, car, house, man, woman etc. Make sure you do 2 of each then organise a grid, put the pieces of paper around the grid randomly and the young people have to get the pairs

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