Tag: Games for a Bunch

Team-Building Game: All Aboard!

How many people can you get on top of a milk crate (or similar sturdy object) at one time? All Aboard is a fun team building game for youth groups that encourages cooperation by challenging players to work together. The game is ideal for 6 to 12 players but don’t worry if your group is bigger than that – just use more milk crates.

The secret to this game is to think outside the box (sorry). Clearly you can’t get 10 or 20 people standing on top of the same milk crate at the same time. So where else can those people be? Perhaps hanging onto the shoulders of one of the box-standers. This is a real “feet” of engineering!

Here are a couple of other cooperative youth ministry games that can be used to build teamwork among people of all ages:

Blind Square

You need a team of more than four people, blindfolds for all team members, a level playing field and about 150 ft. of rope. The rules are simple, each player needs to keep at least one hand on the rope at all times. Working together, the team must try and form a perfect square in a given period of time. (Five to ten minutes works well.)

Ping Pong Rescue

The object of this game is to get a ping pong ball out of the bottom of a long pipe without turning the pipe upside down. The solution seems obvious, fill the pipe with water from a nearby 5 gallon bucket. There’s only one small problem – the pipe is riddled with holes.

This activity takes a 4-6 ft. long piece of PVC pipe, about 4″ diameter, capped at one end and held in an upright position. Prepare the pipe ahead of time by drilling two dozen or so random small holes (1/16″ to 1/8″). Provide a five gallon bucket of water (or other water source) at a distance, cups or pans, and some other random “tools” such as dowels, string, coat hangers. Eventually the most practical solution will be for some people to relay water while others keep the holes plugged.

Think Small

The objective is to see if you can get everyone in a medium to large group to touch a small object at the same time. For a group of 20 see if everyone can touch a soccer ball simultaneously. If they succeed at that task try a softball, ping pong ball, a marble.

Upfront Games for Youth : Will It Cereal?

cereal games for youth

Fruit Loops | Image by Thinkstock via Seedbed

Based on the age-old question Will It Burn?, Seedbed presents a less inflammatory question, Will It Cereal? This is one of those games for youth that hinges a little bit on the pleasure we take in watching another person suffer, seeing that one unlucky soul is going to have to eat a non-breakfast food if the group decides “yes, it cereals.”

Peanut butter, pickle relish, avocados all go in the mix – as long as it can be served with milk it has the potential to “cereal.”

Check out Will It Cereal and other games for youth at Seedbed.

Ice Breakers for Youth Groups: Human Bingo

bingo tokens | human bingo is one of the great ice breakers for youth groups

Human Bingo is one of the quickest, easiest ice breakers for youth groups, especially if you’ve got a large group and not much time to prepare.

Rules for Human Bingo

1) If you’ve got more than two dozen people in the group make sure you get each person’s name on a slip of paper as they enter the room. Give each person a blank bingo card and have them fill in each square with a signature from one person in the group.

Once everyone has their cards filled in, shuffle the slips of paper and call names at random. Players circle the names on their cards as they are called (names should remain legible). First person to get five circled names in a row, (down, across or diagonal) yells Bingo! and wins a valuable cash prize.

2) If the group is somewhat smaller than two dozen you can play by having various criteria on the card (ie “likes sushi” or “knows how to play piano.”) Players get people in the group to put their names next to one of the criteria that they meet. First person to get five names across, down or diagonally gets to yell Bingo! and wins a valuable cash prize.

For extra icebreaker action, have the winner introduce the people whose names contributed to the win.

Template for blank bingo card, click here (PDF).

Template for a bingo card with sample questions, click here (DOC).

Check this board on Pinterest to find more ice breakers for youth groups.

[Photo by Abbey Hendrickson]

Group Puzzle Game: I Can Read Your Mind


Telepathy | Photo via Public Domain Review photostream

In this game you leave the room and while you are gone the group picks an object for you to guess. When you return to the room the game host will ask you a number of questions about items in the room. “Is it the sofa?” “No.” “Is it the clock?” “No.” “Is it Brittany’s hair.” “Yes it is.”

After a couple of rounds – in which you guess the object correctly each time – the group will be pretty well convinced you can read their minds. Or more likely someone will have an idea about how you are making the trick work. If so, send this person out of the room and see if they can reproduce the stunt. Keep it up until everyone figures out how the game works.

How It Works:

Before youth group work out the signal ahead of time. For instance, if the game host points to something red then the next object will be what the room agreed on.

Bonus Extra-Tricky Version

If your group is super-smart or if you want to prolong the agony for some inconceivable reason, change the signal each round. Agree with your game host that the signals will follow a pattern – for instance red-white-and-blue – red on the first round, white on the second round, blue on the third round. Just be sure it’s a pattern you can remember.

Off-the-Wall Dodgeball

U.S. Marines and Sailors participate in a dodge ball tournament while sailing aboard USS ESSEX  | Photo public domain

U.S. Marines and Sailors participate in a dodge ball tournament while sailing aboard USS ESSEX | Photo public domain

Here’s a dodgeball game where it’s every man – and woman – for himself. No teams involved.

What’s required is a large wall and a soft springy dodgeball with a good bounce.

The object of the game is to be the last man (or woman) standing. The first person in possession of the ball slams the ball against the wall, trying to hit another player with the rebound.

If a player is hit, she must sit down where she is. She can still play by tagging other players with her hand. If a player is tagged by a sitter, the two must switch places.

Sitters can also redeem themselves if they catch a ball on the rebound. Then they can stand up, throw the ball and continue play.

Last person standing wins.

Capture the Flag with Grenades

From The Game Gal comes this fun variation of Capture the Flag – using “flour bombs”.

You can play this a number of ways – one flag, two flags, let defenders have bombs or both sides have bombs. The great thing about flour bombs is that they are soft, don’t hurt, are far less messy than you’d think and yet have a dramatic impact when they hit.

Full instructions at The Game Gal.



What do you get when you combine the raw energy of football with the calm restraint of ultimate frisbee and the precision of basketball? The answer is…a ton of fun that can have even your usual sideliners pulling off some amazing athletic feats.

All you need is large grassy playing area, two basketball hoops (or a reasonable equivalent) and a football.

Time: 30 minutes to an hour
Number of Players: ten or more


Get the football into the basket. Score a point.


Game play takes place on a large rectangular field and starts with a coin toss. Winners of the toss can elect to “kick” or receive. The kickers can either kick or throw the ball down field.

1. The ball is moved down the field by means of forward or lateral pass.

2. When a player catches a pass she must stop in place. She can move the ball by passing to another player on her team.

3. As long as the offense remains in possession of the ball, they can continue making plays.

4. If a pass is incomplete or intercepted, possesion reverts to the other team.

5. Defense cannot double-team the person who is in possession of the ball. Defenders must stand back at least one arm’s length from the person with the ball.

6. A point is scored when the ball goes into the “basket.” Offense may assist the ball if the first throw does not score.

7. The team scoring then “kicks off” for the next round.

Set Up

Mark off the sideline and endzone boundaries with chalk, cones or similar. The field can be any large rectangular field, up to the size of a football field.

Endzones are basketball hoops if you can manage. Portable hoops are ideal. Set them at a height that provides a challenge but isn’t too tough for nonathletes.

If you don’t have basketball hoops you can use five gallon buckets or hula hoops for goals. You can also mark a section of a pole or tree with duct tape – if the ball makes contact between the tape marks, a point is scored.

If you want to incorporate the game with your lesson you might try the following:

Life Application

In Foosketball your team has the opportunity to score points as long as you remain in possession of the ball.

What do you need to possess in life in order to get ahead? What happens in life when there’s a “turnover” or you lose possession? How likely is that to happen?

Bible Application Matthew 19:16-30; Mark 10:17-31; Luke 18:18-30

The rich young ruler approached Jesus wanting to know what he needed to “get ahead” in a spiritual sense.

What was Jesus’ answer?

According to Jesus, what does it mean to “take possession of the ball?”

[Photo by Phil Houtz]

Relay Races: Better Bucket Brigades

bucket brigade

A bucket brigade, or human chain, is an effective way to move items over long distances quickly with each person spending only a small amount of effort. If you haven’t played Bucket Brigade Relay, it’s a lot of fun…and with a few adjustments the game can get really wild.

Time: 15 to 30 minutes
Number of Players: ten or more


Be the first team to transport water from a large bucket at one end of the field to a large bucket at the other end of the field.


Divide the group into equal teams with at least five players in each team. The more players in a team the better – that way your “brigades” can span a long distance.

1. Have players line up in a straight line between the full bucket at one end of the field and the empty bucket at the other end. In the standard variation players are spaced equal distance between the buckets, a little less than an arm’s reach apart.

2. Give each player a paper cup. The player closest to the full bucket is the “scooper” and the player at the end of the line is the “dumper.”

2. At the signal the “scooper” scoops a cup full of water from the bucket and pours it into the cup of the player in front of her. That player turns and pours the water into the next player’s cup before turning and getting a fresh cup of water from the scooper.

3. Players continue scooping and passing water until the full bucket is empty.

4. Victory is determined by which team has the most water in their bucket at the end of the relay. In case of a tie, the win goes to the team that finished ahead of the other.

Set Up

You need a large open space and at least four large buckets, with enough paper cups so that each player has his own cup.


Before the event make sure kids know water play is on the agenda, dress appropriately and bring towels.

Before kids arrive, arrange the buckets on the field, fill up the starting buckets with equal amounts of water.


Try playing one relay “straight” and then change it up for more fun. Some variations are:

One Cup Fits All. Instead of giving each player a cup, use only a few cups per team.

Over-and-Under. Again, each team has just a few cups to work with. But they have to pass the cups over-and-under: players line up with their backs to the goal bucket, the first player passes the cup up over her head, the next player takes the cup and passes the cup low between his legs.

Spread the Wealth. Instead of having players groups close together, have them spread out so that they cannot pass the water directly. Teams will have to decide wether they should run to each other or try tossing the water. Let the kids come up with creative solutions, but have one rule – each player must handle each cup of water at least once as it travels down the line (players can handle a cup of water more than once if they like.)

The Hole Truth. Here each contestant has her own cup – but the cup has a small hole in the bottom. This will keep the pace lively as players try to lose the least amount of water for the win.

Life Application

It’s said that “many hands make light work.” (John Heywood) Which is easier, passing the water from person to person, or having each person run back and forth? Which way can you transport the most water?

What are some instances where you have seen this principle in action? What are some times when it is a good idea to “band together” to get a job done.

Bible Application Proverbs 17:17, Luke 10:25-37

Before there were fire trucks, a bucket brigade was the only way to put out a house fire. You really hoped that if your house caught fire, that you had a lot of friends to help you put it out. The Bible says that a good friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity. What is the difference between having someone you consider a good friend and having someone you consider to be a brother? What kinds of adversity – or hard times – can a “brother” help you get past?

Game of the Day: Human Scavenger Hunt

This is a great all-church game that you can play at potlucks or in the pews, or with any large group. First divide the group into teams – four teams works about right. Next have each group choose a runner. This person will bring objects up to the front.

Game play is simple. You start with a list of odd but plausible items that your group might have. Give each group a time limit to find the item and get it up front. Keep the action snappy – 30 seconds is a good amount of time in a large setting.

When you’ve reached the end of the list total up each group’s “spoils” and the team with the largest take gets a valuable cash prize.

Two thoughts about returning items: either return the item immediately after it has been tallied up front (probably the best approach) or have the owners claim their goods at the end of the event.

Here’s a sample list, have fun making your own (just don’t choose anything that would be embarrassing or incriminating.)

Rubber Band
Paper Clip
Safety Pin
Playing Cards
Picture of a Sweetheart
Paperback Novel
Walking Stick
Licorice Gum
Squirt Gun
1957 Penny
Hacky Sack
Beach Ball
Paper Airplane
Lego Brick

Bonus: make this a regular feature of your group meetings and see what people bring!

[Photo by visualpanic]

Game of the Day: You Go Find It


They say that your attention span is like a muscle – the more you exercise it, the better it gets. Here’s a game that will help your youth group get in shape…or just have a lot of fun.

For this game have everyone sit in a circle close enough to reach your neighbor. Choose one person to be “it,” standing at the center of the circle.

The game starts when “It” closes his eyes and counts to ten. The group begins to pass a small object such as a marble around the circle from hand to hand. “It” tries to catch people in the act of passing the object…but there’s a twist. Other people in the group are pretending to pass the object as well.

If “It” catches someone red-handed with the object then that person becomes “It.” However, if “It” guesses wrong he can delegate his “Itness” to his hapless victim by saying “you go find it.” Here’s where it pays to pay attention. If the person chosen to “go find it” has been alert it should be no problem for her to find the marble. If she finds it, then she doesn’t have to be “It.” If not, she takes her place at the center of the circle.