We know that many of our customers use text alerts to improve communication within their churches. One challenge many churches face is getting middle school and high school students involved and engaged in the group. Some youth leaders are completely lost—“How do I relate to these kids? I haven’t been their age in 10+ years!”—and with this in mind, I thought some may find it useful to get some ideas of events they can try with their youth group.
Note: These are just “fun” ideas, not inherently spiritual. The notion that youth groups should involve regular Bible studies and other spiritually-minded events is a given, and it is best to include a spiritual element (such as a Bible lesson, personal testimony, or Gospel presentation) to any of these kinds of fun events.
Here are 6 fun youth group games you may want to implement with your youth group.
- Lip Sync Showdown
Separate your youth group members into teams and have each team select a song to “perform” (read: lip sync). They will have so much fun working together to prepare their performance, and the results can be downright hilarious! Have a panel of judges decide different awards to give out for the performances (“Best Choreography,” “Funniest,” etc.).
My middle school youth group did this each year and it was a blast! We all looked forward to the event with anticipation and some of us spent weeks preparing.
- Spoons Tournament
Spoons is a perfect youth group game because it is simple, inclusive, and fast-paced! There are different variations to the game, but one set of rules can be found here. Create an event out of the game by hosting a “Spoons Tournament.” You can have several different games going on at once until winners move up the bracket and go against each other.
A fun twist to the rules involves hiding the spoons throughout the room instead of putting them in the center of the circle of players. Then players have to run around the room in search of the spoons to avoid being eliminated.
- Ultimate Four Square
Help include shyer and more awkward adolescents by including this playground game that is fun but doesn’t require a lot of pressure or coordination. To shake things up, allow each new player that makes it to the “King” square to add a new rule. If you want to shake things up even more, increase the number of squares from four to eight. With eight squares, you could even have two separate balls going at once!
- Battle of the Sexes
Pit the boys against the girls in a friendly competition. Do a Google search to find fun games that boys and girls can compete in and then set them loose! Just be careful not to foster too much of a spirit of competition—boys really don’t like losing to girls!
The difficulty in this is making the games fair across the board. Most games generally favor one sex over the other. One solution is to try to make half of the games lean toward one gender and half lean toward the other so that it all evens out in the end.
- Photo Scavenger Hunt
Separate the group into teams and give each team a list of items, places, or situations throughout the city (or, if you want to do it on a smaller scale, throughout the church or throughout the neighborhood). Make sure that at least one person in the group has a camera of some sort and give everyone an hour or two to take a picture of as many things on the list as possible. Whichever team gets the most pictures on their list wins! You can even include bonus points for more difficult items. Some examples of the kinds of items you can include are:
- Your team with a customer service worker
- Your team in front of a lake
- A member of your team proposing to a random person on the street while the rest of your team looks shocked
- Someone on your team eating a fast food burger
With a middle school group, you will have to designate adult drivers if you decide to do the event throughout the city. For high schoolers, you may still want to designate adult drivers for safety reasons (teen drivers tend to break the speed limit when they’re on this kind of time crunch!).
- Real Life Clue
We’ve all played the famous Hasbro board game Clue. How fun would it be to set up a real life Clue game for your youth group? You don’t have to make it as gruesome as “Who’s the murderer?” (For our youth group the big mystery was “Who’s the cookie thief?”)
Separate players into groups and set up different stations. Have different adults lead the stations as “suspects.” At each station, a group will participate in some kind of activity (trivia questions, Jell-O tasting, puzzles, etc.). Once the group completes the activity successfully, they can receive a clue as to who the “cookie thief” is.
The clues can be as obvious as, “I saw Mr. Jameson in the basement when the cookies were being stolen, so it couldn’t have been him,” or you can make the players do a little bit more detective work by giving more obscure clues: “Their apparel was like the skies above reflecting in the water below [i.e. the culprit is wearing blue].” The game is the most fun when adults can really get into the “suspect” roles that they are playing.
Give a time limit, and after the time is up, each group must reveal whom they think the culprit is based on the clues they collected at each station. The groups that guess correctly can win a prize!
Fun activities likes these can be a great way for youth group members and leaders to grow closer and feel more connected, though youth leaders must be careful not to make “fun” the goal of the youth group. What kinds of games and activities have you found effective in your youth group?
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