Youthwork Links and Ideas
Equipment: Tables and other obstacles, large objects
Description: The youth person have to complete an obstacle course carrying various items, these could range from a large bag/ sack, tent, crate, barrel etc. (fairly large items). The items have to be lifted over and under tables and the other various obstacles without them touching the obstacle. If they do, it's back to the beginning. Every 30 seconds the whistle goes and the youth person have to swap whichever items they are carrying with someone else. A lot of water to be thrown over them as they are trying to complete the course.
Contributed by: Charlotte
Equipment: Bibles, random articles
Description: Divide the kids into groups, giving each group a Bible reading. After they have read the reading, tell them they must now think of a skit showing a modernized example of the reading. To make things more interesting, give each group several random objects to include in their skit, like tap shoes, a basketball, etc.
Equipment: Blindfolds, Obstacles, Rope (optional)
Description: The youth person would all be blindfolded and they have to make their way around an obstacle course without the ablity to see. They are led by voice and/or following the rope which has been set and placed around the course. you can make the course as easy or difficult as you want.
Contributed by: Nathan de Bruyn
Equipment: One balloon per game (several in total), pins, chairs
Description: One person stands on a chair at one end of the room, and another on the other end. The persons on chairs hold a pin in their hand above their head height (stress safety) Teams are divided into two and attempt to hit the balloon towards their goal (person on chair with pin). Good energy game for something different.
The Machine Making Game
Contributed by: Alison
Description: Divide the group into groups of 5 or more. Make up a machine for each group to make with their bodies, e.g. Orange juicer, marshmallow making machine. Then give all the groups 2 minutes to complete their machine. Once the time is up, get each group to show how their machine works. Give prizes to the most inventive or noisiest or most bizarre. Have fun!!
Contributed by: Simone
Equipment: Flip chart and pen or board
Description: Like original hangman children have to guess the mystery word. The catch is they are not allowed to speak while trying to find out the letters. This game is a great way to settle children down. When a child wants to guess a letter they must draw the letter in the air with an invisible pen. The teacher will then write it in if it is correct or write it to the side if not. The teacher should not be able to talk either.
Contributed by: Becky
Description: Get the group to seperate into pairs and each pair must sit opposite each other with their legs out stretched and toes touching. Each pair should do this and get all the pairs in one big straight line with even spacing between each pair. give each pair in the line a number and whenever you call out the number the pair have to get up jump over the legs of everyone else in the line and run around the outside back to their place. the first one out of the pair back to their place wins.
Contributed by: Mel
Equipment: Pillow Case
Description: Pick one person from the group and isolate them. Place the pillow case over the isolated persons head then bring them into the room with the others. Each person will begin to tell them to take off something they don't need. This is pretty funny because they begin to take off there shoes their sock and so on. Till they finally realize it's the pillow case.
Contributed by: Briony (UK)
Description: Here is a fun game for all. The group stands in a circle, facing the middle, with one person soon in the centre of the circle. They then spin around, and point to aperson at random, shouting SPLAT! That person must then duck down, and the two people either side must point at each other and shout SPLAT! If the first person doesn't duck in time, they get 'SPLATTED' and are out. If they do, the last person to say SPLAT on either side is out. Quite confusing at first, but good fun once you get the hang of it!!!
Cereal Box Game
Contributed by: emmy-lou
Equipment: Cereal Box
Description: People stand in a circle and bend over with straight legs to pick up the cereal box with their teeth. For every time someone does it, a piece of the top is ripped off the box so it gets smaller and smaller, thererfore harder.
Candy Necklace that Represents ME
Contributed by: Chelsey
Equipment: Any type of candies with holes in them, string, bowls, SMILES
Description: Have the group make necklaces of how they see themselves. Each candy would represent a characteristic.ex Life savers= funny, Cheerios= care about others feelings, Jelly Life Savers= Outgoing, Licorice= Creative etc. The children then chose what characteristoics they believe themslves to have and put them on the necklace. As a group the can share why they put certain things on.
All In One
Contributed by: Tt
Description: stand in a circle holding hands with one person in the middle one at a time the people in the middle call someone else in. the goal is to see how many people you can fit in without breaking hands
Contributed by: Lis
Equipment: rolled up newspaper(sellotaped up) or similar and softer if you choose!! bucket or tub of some kind
Description: Get your group to sit on chairs in a circle. Place the bucket in the middle with the rolled up news paper in it. The first person takes the newspaper and taps someone on the leg with it. They must then return the paper to the bucket and get to the chosen persons seat before the chosen person gets the paper and hits them on the leg. If they make it to the seat they are safe and the other person chooses someone else. If they get tagged befor reaching the seat they are back on. Fun and fast moving for any number of people, the mare paper sticks you have going, the more fun it is!!
Ten Pint Bowling
Contributed by: Lin Howarth Aylesbury
Equipment: set of plastic skittles with balls,pens, calculator or paper to add up on a flat surface, some kind of score sheet
Description: Get the skittles and place the names of alcoholic beverages on the front side and on the reverse the alcohol volume and units per drink will be attached.
photocopy score sheets to hand out to the individual players who will be able to record the scores much in the same way as tin pin bowling, the only difference will be that they will have to add up the units and alcohol content of each skittle knocked down.
At the end of the match all the scores will be counted and the person with the highest level of alcohol will be asked how they feel knowing that they could have consumed whilst they were playing.that amount of alcohol without really thinking about it
No Name Activity
Contributed by Leah
Equipment: Small random object - keys, phone, stone etc
Description: Have two parallel, straight, equal lines of people, make them hold each others hand. Have someone at the front of the lines watching, and have someone at the back of the lines watching also. Place a small item in the middle of the two front people, and place just within there reach. Make these two people place there spare hand on the knee.
The back person (who is watching) must signal a number to the last two in the line. Whatever that number, that is the number of times they must squeeze the front persons hand ( person in front of them). So if the back person signalled 2, to the back two people, they must squeeze the people's hands in front of them, twice. This carries on like a chain reaction, till the front person feels there hand being squeezed. Once they feel that, they can reach for the object in front of them. The team to grab the object first wins!
Who Is It?
Contributed by Jessica
Description: A chosen 'guesser' goes out room. A leader is then picked from the group. Whatever the leader does the group must copy. When the 'guesser' enters they must try and see who the leader is by trying to work out who is starting the new actions off (tell the group not to all look at leader as it makes it harder). This is a really fun game and is good to keep a small group occupied for short time.
Golden Ticket Balloon Pop!
Contributed by Karli Krska-Pogson
Equipment: Lots of balloons,a ticket of some sort and lots of puff!
Description: To prepare the game fill all the balloons and in one balloon put the golden ticket (or any article you decide to signify the winner), the players have to pop the balloons and the one to find the ticket is the winner! Great for birthday parties!
Catch The Criminal
Contributed by Debbie
Description: Get the young people sitting back to back in 2 lines with their eyes shut facing a wall. Name 1 line the criminals and the other line the police. Then get 1 individual young person to walk behind them and tap 1 young person on their shoulder, get them to open their eyes and turn to face each other. Then the police have to work together to find out who is the suspect when all the criminals are acting guilty.
Contributed by Claire (UK)
Description: There will be two separate lines, each line contains eight people, you may name your team anything you want to. A person from one team has to run to the other side, chargeing through the line to break it, if this is successfully completed you may rejoin your team, but if the chain remains sealed you have to join the opposite team. Lots of fun
Visitors From Mars
Contributed by Rosie
Description: Prepare a five minute presentation on yesterdays sports action to a group of visitors from mars who do not understand english.
Contributed by Silky
Equipment: Eggs, paper and tape
Description: The egg should drop from 15 feet without breaking. You only can use one sheet of paper and tape but sticky part of tape should not touch the egg.
Contributed by Anonymous
Equipment: Candy bars or other small prizes
Description: Place the prizes at one end of the room and have the participants line up in a straight line in the middle of the room.
Use a series of questions/statements (see sample questions below) representing resilience factors. For each yes, the person takes one step forward and for each no he/she takes one step backward.
Sample Questions - use questions that fit your group:
I have never received some form of government assistance
I have graduated from high school
When I was a child, there was someone who cared about me
I know/knew my grandparents
I have attended college
I consider myself Caucasian
My parents are married to each other
While growing up, my parents owned a car
I have never been hospitalized
After asking the quesions, set up a race for the prizes.
Debrief with questions about the mportance of resiliency factors in achieving goals.
Here Pussy Pussy
Contributed by Lindsay
Description: Get the group to sit in a round circle. Put random numbers in a bowl or sumthing of that sort. Get each individual to pick a number the one with the number 1 goes in the middle of the circle, and gets down on his/her all fours and acts like a cat, they go up to a person of their choice and rub their head on the person's leg and meow like a cat. The person then has 2 tap the person on the head and say here pussy pussy without smiling or laughing. It's up to the group to decide whether the person should go into the middle. Played this game a few times with various groups always a good laugh especially with a group just starting up.
Contributed by Jeff
Equipment: Postcards or greeting cards supplied by participants
Description: This is a great closure activity for a group that has been working together for a while.
Each person is asked to bring a postcard or greeting card that somehow expresses their experience in the group and to write a few lines about something memorable from the group. This should be something about the group as a whole, not just one person. The cards are put into a box and each person selects one. The cards and messages are read aloud and the group guesses who wrote the message. They get to keep the card they selected.
Equipment: Multi-colored ball of yarn
Have youth sit in large circle. You can start the tapestry by selecting a person to roll the yarn to. The person who receives it holds on to a corner of it before passing it on to who they choose. When you choose a person, you must say something nice about that person before you pass it on. At the end, it looks like a large web of diversity spun into a beautiful tapestry.
Stamp On the Post-it
Equipment: Post-its and stamping boots and feet
Write down your problems, and worries, anything that you feel unclean about, on a post-it. Then whilest singing, he's under my feet(Went to my enemies camp) and you stamp the sins down to where they belong. It gives a sense of relief and fullness of joy. HAPPY STAMPING!
Young Women's Group
Group for young women from 11 to 16 who have come from homes where there have been issues of domestic violence and possible abuse. The group meets to build their confidence, mix with others who have been through the same issues and learn to cope with the changes in the family situation
A Night at the Musicals
Equipment: Musical songs,a cd/ tape player, voices and people
U put the cd on, and you have to do your best impression of the singer that is singing the song, and then it is a talent contest, seeing who can do the best impression, of say Cliff Richard, or Elaine Page, Michael Ball etc. It is really funny!
Contributed by Christine
Equipment: Hardboiled eggs, crayons, large plastic eggs, assorted febric scraps and craft hair
To make our youth group more familiar with the less familiar people of the Bible,we did the following activity. I presented them each with a large plastic egg. Enclosed they found a hard boiled egg cushioned in cotton balls, and a note which read "congratulations! It's a..." boy/girl and the name of the character. I then gave them each a sheet with Bible verses relating to their character. The youth drew faces with crayons and used craft hair and fabric scraps to decorate their egg according to its gender. They took care of their "babies" for a week. Some of them even made houses and furniture for their baby. The following week at youth group those whose babies survived presented their now adult characters and told us three things that their "child" did in his/her life. Those who had an intact egg and were able to give a presentation on it had their names put in a hat. The winner who was drawn won a big Easter basket filled with goodies and Christian themed small prizes. They were so proud to tell about all that their "child" had accomplished in his/her life and the youth learned quite a bit, while also practicing responsibility and having a lot of fun.
Eating the Bun/Cake Race
Equipment: String, 4 hard buns or cakes, four chairs
The string is tied around the bun/cake, So you have four buns hanging on a string. you then tie the other end of the string to a rope or some other object that goes across the ceiling. The bun or cake is then hanging from the sealing. Four volunteers would then eat the bun on the string. The first to do so gets a bag of buns or some other prize. This is done standing on chairs.
Equipment: Two pairs of large gumboots, two buckets, hose
Divide your group into two. Each group gets a large pair of gumboots and water. The object is to fill up the boots with water and go as quickly as you can to the bucket spilling as least water as you can from the boots. When they get to the bucket placed a distance away, they empty the gumboot into the bucket and race back for the next group member to fill up the gumboots and have their turn. The team with the most water in the bucket at the end wins. The great lesson in this is that speed doesn't make the winner. The group has a great laugh and then are ready to work.
Equipment: Tennis ball or soft hand-held ball, 4 base markers (jumpers also work!), flat panel bat/rounders bat
Two teams- one team bats, the other team 'fields'.
The fielders mark each of the 4 bases, and around the area.the rules are similar then to rounders ( 3 chances to hit ball then you have to run to 1st base. However the fielders have to pass the ball from 1st base to 2nd, to 3rd and then 4th to get someone out. You can't throw straight to 3rd for example. It must go from 1st through to 4th. It's a great teambuilding game adapted for indoor use ( especially with our British weather!!!)You can then swap teams over when everyones out or set a time limit if the team batting are from the Atherton school of rounders! Use your judgement, you know your members best.(so we like to think..)
Pass The Polo
Contributed by Geffory Jones
Equipment: Polo's or Life Savers and cocktail sticks
Each person has a cocktail stick, then divided into two teams. The first team to pass their polos to the end of the line wins!
Equipment: Pool Table, list of maths sums or hard to spell words or a quick thinking worker.
Balls are set up as in usual pool, players decide the order they will answer questions in. Before each player gets to try to pot a ball, they must either solve a maths question or spell a word correctly. If they do not answer correctly, they wait for their next turn. When they do answer correctly, they score 1 point and have the chance to pot a ball. If they pot they score a further 2 points, then it's the next players turn. This has prooved to be very helpful when working with disaffected and excluded young people. The rules often vary depending on the group being worked with.
How Do You Like Your Neighbor?
Contributed by Deb
Equipment: A circle of chairs for all involved but one person
One person stands in the middle of the circle of chairs and announces "I like my neighbor who"..... example is wearing sneakers or has brown hair, etc. Everyone who fits the statement must move(run) to another chair. The object is for the person in the middle to find an empty chair. This a lot of fun and can be played for a long time. Remember to use your imagination.
Get a group of young people to sit on chairs in a circle, then get 1 young person to stand up and remove their chair so this leaves 1 person standing in the centre of the circle of chairs. everyone is labeled with three differant types of fruit i.e. orange, apple, banana then when the person in the middle calls out one of the fruits the people have to move seats with the people with the same fruit. Or if the person in the middle of the circle calls out fruit salad then everyone must move. The person in the middle has to try and get a seat once he has called out a fruit.
This game can be adapted to any subject i.e. drugs education anything.
I know lots more games so if anyone is interested please feel free to email me anytime.
Equipment: Soft frisbees or fleeceballs...several per person
Two evenly but randomly divided teams stand on opposite sides of a line or rope. When the group leader says go, they throw their items at each other. If a player is hit, s/he goes immediately to the other side. If a players catches another player's frisbee, that player goes to the other side. Play continues until everybody's tired or nobody's left on one side. Be sure to use soft throwables!
Closer Than A Brother
Equipment: Thick yarn or strips of cloth
This activity is great for groups that tend to form groups within the group. At the beginning of a service, (speaking or worship service), pair people off. Tie the pairs together by the wrists so that they have to communicate with each other for a set amount of time. Manipulate the situation so that quiet persons are paired with outgoing persons, etc.
Seeds of Encouragement
Equipment: Sunflower seeds or any other seeds in a large quanity
Have one person start off with a handfull of seeds (usually the leader) and he/she goes to one peson in the group, gives them a few of his seeds, and says some encouraging things to that person. And have it spread like a chain reaction. We did it at camp and it was really emotional.
Contributed by Kellie
Have your group get in pairs. The pairs will sit on the floor, back pressed to back. They must stand up without using their hands. After a pair stands up, have them find another pair and all 4 of them must sit down and stand up. Go on as such untill the entire group is together and have everyone try to stand up. This is a good game to promote friendliness and it is a huge blast when you have an exceptionally large group.
Find The Whistle
Equipment: String, loud whistle
Get two or three volunteers to leave the room. Then get the big group into a big circle, standing close to each other, with their hands behind their backs. Tie the whistle to activity leaders back with the string. Then get the first volunteer back, explaining to him that the group has a whistle among them, behind their backs, and he must try and catch one person with the whistle in their hands. Then while the volunteer starts looking at hands moving behind their backs, you stand close enough to a person to blow the whistle on your back, getting the voluteer running in al directions. Its a great icebreaker, and helps to give people an idea of how it feels to be alienated by others.
Poison and Peasoup
Equipment: A step to stand on (could be a line of mats, benches or anything raised)
Can be played with as many young people as you like. All stand on the raised surface, with the game leader standing facing them. The leader will then shout either "Poison" or "Peasoup". If the call is "Poison", everyone has to jump off the step, if it is "Peasoup" everyone stays on. The last one to jump off on "Poison" or anyone who fall off on "Peasoup" are out and then become judges. Is best when you drag out your call: i.e. "PPPPPPPPPPPPPEASOUP!!"
Equipment: Approximately 6 to 15 people
Form a tight circle. Have one person stand in the middle of the circle..
That peron in the middle must have their eyes closed, hands to their
sides and both feet "cemented" to ground close to each other.
That person then falls in a random direction. It is up to the person
in the middle to trust the people on the outside of the circle
as they must catch him or her and push him back towards the middle. Note: As with all activities of this type, make sure you know your group and that they have received proper instruction in falling and catching
Contributed by from Sheffield (UK)
Equipment: 1 chair, At least 20 coins, Very very quiet participants
Description: You place one person on a chair positioned at the end of a room which faces forward towards the rest of the room. You then scatter coins on the floor in front of the person in the chair. The person in the chair is then blind folded.The rest of the players in the game sit a few metres away from the coins scatted around the feet of the person in the chair. Each of the young people take their turn to try and creep up and take as many coins as they can before the blind folded person in the chair can point to them. When they have been directly pointed to they must then return to their chair. The person at the end who managed to gather the most coins wins the game
Prisoners and Guards
Contributed by Paul from Sheffield (UK)
Description: Divide a group into 2 and one group will be guards and the others will be prisoners. The prisoners sit on the chairs and the guards stand behind the chairs. The guards are not allowed to touch the prisoners whilst they are stood behind them. One of the chairs remains empty at all times but there is still a guard behind it.The aim of the game is for the guard with no one in their seat to wink at a prisoner ideally without that prisoners guard seeing so that the prisoner can then jump up and run accross to the empty chair without the guard tagging them whilst leaving the chair. The guard who no longer has a prisoner in that chair then does the winking to free a prisoner. If when trying to escape from your chair you are tagged you will then return back to your original seat. This is a great game as an icebreaker and allows the young people to use up some energy before a session
Equipment: Pre-prepared cards or bits of paper
Description: This activity can reinforce group cohesion, understanding of personnal differences and self esteem. You need a selection of cards or bits of paper which have incomplete statements on the such as "I feel happy when..." "I feel proud when" "My friends like me because..." "PERSON ON LEFT Name one positive quality they have" etc etc. The statement can be engineered towards a particular topic or be random. Everyone sits in a circle and picks a card and answers it. If they feel uncomfortable they can pick another card. This activity offers good oppourtunities for self esteem disccussions, challenging negative statements and behaviour and getting to know young people. Have fun!
Equipment: A camera, (ideally digital, it speeds up results.) paper & pens, access to photocopying
Description: Choose a subject that is relevant to your group (A group of young women might want to look at the attitudes of young men towards them for example).
Write and draw up a basic story outline (Like a cartoon strip).
Go out and take relevant photographs. Print them with captions to fill out the story. Give copies to young men!
Contributed by Jamie
Equipment: Whatever you have
Description: Promote anti racism in Canada (and I would add everywhere else, ed.)
My name is Dawn and I am a Youth Ministry Coordinator at the St. Bernard's
Church in North Kingstown, Rhode Island and I have a cool project that
involves Bumper stickers. I have asked my Middle school group to come to our
scheduled Lock-in with a bumper sticker that means something to you or
describes something that they do or like. Anything goes as long as it is
appropriate. We are going to make a poster or collage that displays all the
stickers and decorations around it with the youth's name and anything else
that suits their creativity. This activity is to show the youths what each other
has in common and the church will get to see the culture and diversity within
their youth ministry. I am very excited about this project and I hope that
this is something someone else will try
Thanks For The Compliment!
Equipment: Paper, markers, tape
Description:Everyone gets a piece of paper taped to their back. (Make sure their name is at the top of the paper.) Each person is given a marker. Each person in the group must walk around the room and write a compliment or positive remark about that person on their back. There will be lots of giggling...but NO PEEKING! When everyone has written something positive on each others back, everyone returns to their seat. Everyone exchanges papers without looking at their own. Each participant gets a turn at reading off the person's list to that person out loud. What a great self-esteem booster. By the way, it doesn't matter if the group knows each other well because you can say things like.."She seems friendly" etc. But this is a great activity to do with kids who have been in a group for a while.
Description: The main objective of the game is to become the elephant, who in this game is the king of the jungle. Form a circle and decide who will be king then give each other person an animal. Each person will make up a hand signal for their animal.
Tip:Begin by giving the first person a animal which is considered weak and work up to an animal which you think is second to the elephant.
How to Play: The elephant starts by showing his signal with his hands, then claps on his knees twice then shows another animal's signal. The animal that was signaled must reply by showing his signal and then another animal's signal and so it goes on.
The king is out when he makes a mistake when showing the signals and then is moved to the bottom of the circle, the same with every other player if they make a mistake they to are moved to the last animal next to the elephant and the others move one animal up and must remember that animals signal, when there is a mistake by the king and the king is moved to the lowest animal the second strongest animal who was behind the elephant becomes the king so the game goes on.
This is a good closure activity for a group which has been together for a while. Each person is given a piece of paper and writes his/her name at the bottom. Papers are passed to the person on the right who writes something positive about the person whose name is at the bottom. The paper is folded so the writing is covered and passed to the right again. When the papers return to the "owners" discuss reactions to the list of positive qualities.
Submitted by ANJY
One player (or a team or two) leaves the room. The other players choose a verb e.g. brushing the teeth. On returning to the room the volunteer will ask the players questions, the answers to which will help them guess the nature of the verb. Throughout the game the unknown action will be referred to as "coffee potting".
Submitted by Gloria
Here's a simple, yet fun activity: Each person uses different colored pen, creates a squiggly line or scribble (the only rule is no intersecting lines) and passes it to the person on the right who makes a drawing out of it. When a squiggle is received it can be rotated in any direction to get an idea what to make out of it.The drawings can be wild and imaginative, they are not judged, they're just for fun. The results usually bring lots of laughter.
Chase Your Tail
A children's game that is fun for all ages. A great warm up activity.
Have the group stand in a line and wrap their arms around the waist of the person in front. You can name the creature just formed any animal you want. Animal sounds add to the fun. The last person in line dons the "tail", a bandana tucked into the belt or waistband. The object of the game is for the head to capture the tail (grab the bandana). When this happens the head becomes the new tail and the second in line becomes the head. People in the middle of the line can decide to help either the head or the tail and can switch allegiance at will. Larger groups can form more than one animal and each animal can chase its own tail or the tail of another animal.
Scissors is a neat trick to have in your bag for those down times when everyone is getting bored. Unfortunately, you can not do it more than once with the same group. If you do not have a pair of scissors, two sticks, two pencils or anything which can simulate open or closed scissors will do.
Have the group sit in a circle. While passing the scissors to the person on his/her right, the leader says "I receive the scissors (either open or closed) and I pass them (either open or closed)". The person receiving repeats the statement while passing to the next person. The leader (and anyone else who has caught on to the trick) announces if each part of the statement is right or wrong. Continue until everyone can pass the scissors correctly.
The trick has nothing to do with the scissors. Open and closed refer to whether the person's legs or feet are crossed (closed) or uncrossed (open) when receiving and passing.
This activity usually generates some discussion about the importance of looking past the obvious and thinking creatively.
Contributed by Bonnie Knapp, University of Iowa
I have a game that you might be interested in to help people
understand their prejudices. You make up index cards that have
descriptions of different types of people. It could cover race, religion,
disabilities, whatever you come up with. Each person has an index card
placed on their back and they don't know what they have been labeled with.
Each person has to guess what their label is by the way others act towrds
them. I think that you could make a more serious activity by having quite
a bit of processing afterwards to talk about why others acted towards you
in a stereotypical way, and how they need to recognize these stereotypes
and prejudices that they knew they had or just recognized with this
activity. Good Luck!