Today we start our Fun Month! All the topics this month will feature fun and exciting ideas for you and your youth. As this site continues to grow, there will be more and more content and features so make sure to check back often. If you have some suggestions of items/resources you need please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org For now though lets get excited for……
“What are some fun games your youth play?”
William Deal serves as Associate Pastor of Children, Youth, and Education at First Baptist Church of Boone, NC and has an MDiv from The McAfee School of Theology, but the greatest thing he did at McAfee was to convince a wildly beautiful fellow seminarian to marry him and to journey with him as a partner in ministry and life. Things he loves: his wife, Mary Kate, his dogs, Boomer and Jasper, the Atlanta Braves, the University of Alabama Crimson Tide, cooking, eating, laughing. He can solve a rubix cube in less than 90 seconds (not world-record speed, but still faster than you!) and is featured on a rap album under the pseudonym “Suga Free.”
One of the biggest joys in youth ministry is just plain having fun. For a few years now, the youth and parents get geared up toward the end of the summer for Youth vs. Parent Olympics (YPO). Many of you reading this blog have probably done something similar, or played many of the games, but it has been a hit with the youth groups with which I have worked. Each year I change it up a little and throw in a new game, but here are some ideas for the YPO.
First things first, this is a great way for youth and parents to have fun together, but it is also a healthy competition, so make the games worth winning and find or create a trophy. First Baptist Boone sits right beside the campus of Appalachian State University, whose football team competes each year against Western Carolina in the “Battle for the Old Mountain Jug.” Thus, the winning team of our YPO becomes the worthy and rightful owner of the “Old Milk Jug” – though it would be fun for it to have spoiled, curdled milk still swimming around inside, I did clean it first and then paint it.
And, here are the game ideas:
The Great American Chicken Shoot: water balloon launcher and a rubber chicken, greatest distance wins. It probably goes without saying, but this game is best played outdoors.
The Chef Boyardee Spelling Bee: 3-4 cans of ABC Pasta per team and have then spell out either ridiculously long words without a dictionary, or spell out a Bible verse or phrase. (Disclaimer: I realize that this can be seen as wasteful, so either don’t use this game, or do as I have done in the past and have each participant bring a non-perishable food item to donate to a local food pantry since.
The Academic Decathlon: Ok, this is clearly not my original idea, it is Billy Madison’s ploy to get back his father’s company. 10 categories, each correct answer is worth a point, total points win. Examples I have used in the past: Art – have them match the painting to the artist, Music – name that tune, Math – some easy, some more difficult math problems (See who remembers the FOIL method, or the Pythagorean Theorum, English/Grammer – Give them a grammatically incorrect paragraph and have them find all the mistake (be sure that if you have an English teacher as a parent that you don’t make mistakes preparing the paragraph), Bible Quiz – self-explanatory, but be creative, College Mascot Quiz – have them match the college to its mascot, but remember to use the fun ones like the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs. There are obviously more options, but these are just a few.
The Ultimate Food Relay: Line up food and cover each item, the first team member must eat what is on their plate when the cover is removed before the next team member can continue. Use some gross foods, but also so good ones. My rule of thumb is that if I absolutely would refuse to eat something then I won’t use it in the relay. Popular items: baby food, hot sauce, lemon juice, whole canned mushrooms, spam or other canned meat, Oreos, sardines, marshmallows, and peanut butter. Be mindful of food allergies, of course, but be creative and fun.
YPO has also included “Minute to Win It” games which are easy to facilitate and are so much fun.
The descriptions and instructions can be found here: http://www.studentministry.org/ym-resources/M2WI_Game_Activity_Guide.pdf.
I love YPO because it can be adapted easily and is relatively cheap to plan and facilitate. Be creative, and please share your ideas. Maybe you can throw in extra points for the team with the best uniforms, or use other games and creative ideas.
Andrew Noe is the Student Minister at Rosemont Baptist Church in Lexington, KY, and the moderator of this blog. He enjoys superheroes, and trying to be funny. He is married to the wonderful and amazing Hannah Noe. They have a super intelligent dog named Daphne, and a water-obsessed cat named Ellie.
My church has a junk room we call the “Recreation closet.” Ironically enough come Friday it will be cleaned out, reorganized, and some new supplies bought. For the last few months though I have searched in there for game ideas. When you don’t know what all you have, you make do with what you got. Here are two of the games I came up with using the few items I could find.
Hunger Ball: This game is a combination of Hunger Games and Dodgeball, with less death. There are no teams, every person plays for themselves. We use a standard size gym as the boundaries. The 4 dodgeballs, 2 “boomerang balls” and stick of survival are placed in the middle.
Everyone starts with their hand on the wall. When Dodgeball is called people can rush to grab items. The dodgeballs(soft plus gaterballs) work just like normal dodgeballs. If you get hit you are out, if you catch it they are out. The boomerang balls(the squishy rubbery wal-mart little kid balls) are special. If you get hit by one, you have 5 seconds to hit the person back with it, and knock them out instead. The stick of survival is just an old pool noodle. If you get hit with a ball while holding it, you get to stay in the game. You can only use the stick once per game.
If you get knocked out you go to the jail. Which is located in a corner of the gym. The jail is about 5 feet by 5 feet, using orange cones to mark it off in the corner. If a dodge ball or boomerang ball comes in to the jail, everyone who is in jail gets released. This can make the game continue for a long time, and becomes a strategic way to release a horde of people if you are in a 1 on 1 match you cannot win. Usually after 10 minutes of playing, the phrase “The jail is locked” is yelled and from that point on no one can leave the jail. Sooner or later you have a single winner.
Cone Ball: This is basically ultimate Frisbee meets lacrosse. There are two teams, and each youth gets an orange cone. We play using a standard size gym, but you could play outside as well.
Team one is going one way, team two goes the opposite way. Youth use the orange cones to throw a tiny plastic ball (a tennis ball would work too) to players on their team. The youth must catch it in the cone for it to be a complete pass. If they fall to catch it, the opposing team gets the ball. When the ball is in their cone, a youth cannot take any steps.
A team scores by moving the ball all the way down the gym towards the wall. Once they get to the wall a youth with the ball in their cone must touch the wall to score. The teams then move back to their sides, and the team that scored throws the ball to the opposing team to start the action again.